UAE: First Non-Nationality-Based Citizenship Route Announced for Foreign Nationals

February 3, 2021 Lucy Halse

Key Points

  • The UAE has announced its first non-nationality-based pathway to citizenship
  • Eligible categories include doctors and specialists, investors, inventors, creative talents, and scientists
  • Qualified foreign nationals must be nominated by the government for citizenship
  • Foreign nationals must take an oath and abide by all Emirati laws to become citizens
  • Dependents will likely be eligible for the new citizenship pathway
  • The government has not yet provided details on when foreign nationals can apply for citizenship

Overview

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is introducing the first pathway to citizenship for select foreign nationals that is not based on nationality.

Who is Affected?

The new pathway to citizenship is available to select groups of foreign nationals, including doctors and specialists, investors, inventors, creative talents, and scientists. Eligible foreign nationals can keep their existing citizenship rights even if they pursue Emirati citizenship.

What Should Employers and Applicants Know?

Foreign nationals who are eligible for the citizenship pathway will be nominated by the government through recommendations by the Cabinet, Executive Councils, and Rulers and Crown Princes’ Courts. Nominated foreign nationals must take an oath and commit to abiding by all Emirati laws to gain citizenship.

Dependents are likely to be eligible for the new citizenship route, but the government has not yet provided clarification.

Looking Ahead

Information has not yet been issued on when the law will take effect. Updates will be provided as available.

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Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an Envoy-affiliated attorney or another qualified professional.

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