How to Get UAE Citizenship

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UAE Citizenship Guidelines

According to Emirati laws, there are four different ways to obtain citizenship in the UAE. they are:

Citizenship by Descent

The UAE does not grant automatic citizenship by birth. The individual must descend from either of the following groups to become a citizen.

From a family of ethnic Arabs that settled in the UAE before 1925 and stayed at least until 1972.

From an Emirati father in the country or abroad.

From an Emirati mother in the country or abroad, without a legally established fatherhood or with a stateless father.

From unknown parents in the country, i.e. the individual seeking citizenship is a foundling born in the UAE.

Citizenship by Marriage

Any citizen of the UAE must obtain the court's permission to marry a foreigner. The foreigner must have a UAE residence visa with a clean medical & criminal record.
Non-Muslims are permitted to marry in the UAE as long as both parties give their consent to the marriage. But one partner should not be twice as old as the other one. A foreign woman who marries a male UAE citizen can obtain citizenship:

In 7 years, if they have a child together.

In 10 years, if they do not have a child.

Citizenship by Naturalization

Previously, the UAE granted citizenship only to those foreign nationals who lived in the UAE for at least 30 years and spoke fluent Arabic. However, after the recent changes in regulations, qualified foreign nationals can obtain UAE citizenship by naturalization.

Citizenship by Exceptional Merit

In January 2021, the UAE government made amendments to the Citizenship law to allow specific categories of foreigners to acquire citizenship. Note that before January 2021, UAE citizenship was primarily granted by the right of blood.

Who is Eligible to Get a UAE Citizenship?

The list of categories of foreigners who are eligible to get UAE citizenship and the related requirements are as follows:

Qualified specialists and physicians with a minimum of 10 years of experience, holding membership in a reputed organization and making an acknowledged contribution to ongoing scientific research.

Scientists have at least ten years of experience and at least one prestigious international award or research grant.

Inventors with at least one patent approved by the UAE Ministry of Economy or a reputed international body.

Investors who make a significant investment in real estate or the UAE economy in general.

Intellectuals and innovative and creative individuals have at least one patented invention, one international award, and obtain a recommendation from a government agency in a related field.

Eligible candidates must –

Take the oath of allegiance & loyalty to the UAE.

Agree to abide by the laws of the UAE.

Inform the UAE government, in case of acquiring or losing any other citizenship.

Application Process to Obtain Citizenship in the UAE Citizenship

Though there are no set rules for the application process, there are some eligibility criteria to select the candidates.

Step 1 - Reviewing Your Application

Every application is reviewed independently by a central advisory committee and sub-committees appointed by the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship.

Step 2 - Pre-Approval

The sub-committees are responsible for checking the data submitted by applicants and nominating them under the categories if they are found eligible for citizenship.

Step 3 - Approval of Application

After the application is verified, it is passed on to the advisory committee, which consists of a representative from each Emirate, for a final decision.

However, UAE citizenship may be denied to applicants even if they meet all the eligibility criteria. The final decision rests with the Executive Council, the Rulers, the Crown Princes' Courts, and the Cabinet. In such a scenario, you can apply for the UAE Golden Visa and obtain a residency permit. You can also include your family members in this program.

How to Get UAE Citizenship as an Investor

The UAE Golden Visa program allows investors to reside in the country by making investments in real estate or business. The golden visa rules, amended in April 2022, provide for a lower investment amount, more options, and fewer restrictions. The details are as follows:

Investment in Real Estate

Real estate investors can obtain a golden visa if they fulfil either of the following conditions:

Purchase a property worth at least AED 2 million.

Purchase a property with a loan from specified local banks.

Purchase one or more complete or off-plan properties worth at least AED 2 million from a list of approved real estate companies.

The registration documents issued by the UAE real estate authorities are required to apply for a golden visa.

If you own a property or a group of properties, you may be granted a 5-year golden visa, renewable on the same conditions and without a sponsor, subject to the following:

Provision of a letter from the land department of the respective Emirate stating that you own one or more properties whose value is not less than AED 2 million.

Purchase of a property with a loan from specific local banks approved by the competent local entity.

Public Investment

If you invest in an investment fund, you may be granted a 10-year golden visa for a period of 10 years without a sponsor, subject to the following:

Submission of a letter from an accredited investment fund stating that the investor has a deposit of AED 2 million or.

Submission of a valid commercial license or industrial license and a memorandum of the association stating that the investor’s capital is not less than AED 2 million.

Submission of a letter from the Federal Tax Authority stating that the investor pays the government no less than AED 250,000 annually.

Additionally, you must:

Own the invested capital completely, i.e. it must not be a loan &

Provide proof of medical insurance for self and family, if any

Benefits of the UAE Citizenship

UAE citizenship for expats offers several benefits, as listed below:

The UAE passport is among the strongest passports in the world. You can enjoy visa-free travel to several countries.

The country has a robust economy with political stability.

The country is modern and futuristic, with world-class physical & social infrastructure.

Major cities like Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, and Al Ain provide great opportunities for working professionals, entrepreneurs, and investors.

You can work in a public institution or set up a commercial enterprise. After working for at least 20 years, you can choose to retire at the age of 49.

UAE has a vibrant community of successful expatriates who enjoy a high standard of living at a relatively lower cost

As per the Global Passport Index, the country is ranked 24th on parameters like quality of life, investment index, and enhanced mobility.

You can also include your family members in your application for citizenship.

Importance of Health Insurance in Dubai

The Dubai health insurance law makes it mandatory for expatriates and their dependent family members to have health insurance coverage. Companies are required by law to offer a minimum level of medical insurance to employees without deducting the premiums from their salaries.

Some employers also extend this coverage to the dependent family members of their employees. If employers do not cover the family members, it is the responsibility of the individual to sponsor health insurance for family. The authorities can impose stringent penalties on companies, sponsors, or healthcare providers for any violation.

The UAE offers the most advanced medical facilities for its residents. Many people would face severe financial hardships to avail of good healthcare services in the absence of proper health insurance.

Frequently Asked Questions on How to Get the UAE Citizenship

UAE citizenship can be obtained through descent, naturalization, marriage, investment, and exceptional merit. 

Specific categories of foreigners, such as doctors, specialists, investors, inventors, scientists, and creative individuals, can acquire a UAE citizenship. However, it is not always a piece of cake to obtain UAE citizenship and may require special approval from the authorities.

Yes. The launch of the UAE Golden Visa program has enabled foreign nationals to live, study, or work in the country without the requirement of an external sponsor. It is a long-term residence visa valid for 5 to 10 years and renewable upon expiry.

Disclaimer: The nations, visa costs, and other information presented here are derived from a variety of sources. This is not a recommendation or promotion from Prominent Insurance Brokers. Before purchasing your tickets or requesting a visa, please confirm the same.