The UAE announced on Saturday an amendment to their Emirati Nationality law which will grant citizenship to foreigners (expatriates) with special skills and talents. An expatriate is a person that resides in a country other than their native one. It often refers to professionals, artists, and skilled workers taking positions outside their own country.  

Given how the oil-rich United Arab Emirates has over the decades been cautiously guarding the privileges of the citizens of its country, the new amendment is a rare and welcome move. 

The UAE Prime Minister and Ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum took to Twitter on Saturday and announced the new amendment. According to the UAE Prime Minister, “The new directives aim to attract talents that contribute to our development journey.” 

The Sheikh also added that the nominations for the new citizenship will come from the official UAE cabinet, the local Emeriti courts, and the executive council. It should be noted that in UAE and other Gulf countries, foreign residents add 75% of the population and have been contributing to the region’s economy for decades.  

But who is eligible for UAE citizenship under the amendment? What are the benefits of being a UAE citizen? Let’s take a deep dive and find out.  

UAE Citizenship Eligibility under the new amendment: 

The following category of individuals and their families will be able to apply for UAE citizenship: 

. Investors 

. Inventors 

. Doctors 

. Scientists 

. Creative Talents (artist, authors, intellectuals) 

UAE Citizenship requirements for categories that are eligible:  

-Investors 

Investors who want UAE citizenship need to own a property in the UAE. 

-Inventor 

Inventors are required to obtain one or more than one patent(s) for their invention by the UAE’s ministry of the economy or a reputable international body. Additionally, they are also required to provide a recommendation letter from the ministry. 

-Doctor 

Doctors are required to have a specialization in a unique scientific discipline or in a medical discipline that is highly required in the UAE. The applicant will also be required to have already contributed to studies of scientific value, have a practical experience of more than 10 years, and also have a membership from a reputable organization in their field. 

-Scientist 

Applicants who are scientists are required to be active researchers at a university, research center, or private sector. They also should have experience of more than 10 years in their relevant field. Additionally, they are required to have made contributions in their field such as winning a prestigious scientific award, securing grants for their project. Lastly, they are required to obtain a letter of recommendation from a recognized scientific institution in the UAE.  

-Creative talents like artists, authors, intellectuals 

Much like the other categories, applicants with creative talents are to provide a recommendation letter from a relevant government entity. Additionally, these applicants should be pioneers in their own field of arts and culture and should have won one or more International award. 

UAE citizenship benefits 

The new amendment in the citizenship law will offer several benefits to the applicant including the right to establish personal properties. The citizen will also be able to own commercial entities and operate it in UAE.   

The amendment to the Nationality law will allow expatriates to become dual citizens, which would be the first for UAE. Earlier, dual citizenship was completely banned in the UAE. 

Last year, the UAE had abolished the need for companies to have only Emirati shareholders. This move was taken to attract investments from more people who would like to have their stake in companies. The government also extended the “golden” visa system which granted a 10-year residency in any Gulf state only to certain professionals, specialized occupation holders, etc.  

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