UAE to give citizenship to select foreigners to boost economy

The offer will apply to artists, authors, doctors, engineers and scientists, as well as their families

Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower. The WHO said the highly transmissible strain, first detected in India, has been recorded in 15 out of the 22 countries and territories of the Eastern Mediterranean region | Photo for Representative Purposes Only

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Saturday announced plans to grant citizenship to select foreigners, as part of efforts to stimulate its economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Gulf nation has given citizenship to Palestinians who helped in the formation of the government after the country was formed in 1971 and a few other category of persons, too.

Saturday’s announcement by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice-president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, said the offer could apply to artists, authors, doctors, engineers and scientists, and their families.

Also read: UAE eases Islamic laws, to allow unmarried couples to stay together


Sheikh Mohammed wrote on Twitter that hereditary rulers in the country’s seven emirates and at the federal level would nominate those for citizenship. Those granted citizenship also would be able to keep their initial citizenship.

“We adopted law amendments that allow granting the UAE citizenship to investors, specialized talents & professionals including scientists, doctors, engineers, artists, authors and their families. The new directives aim to attract talents that contribute to our development journey,” he wrote.

According to a statement on UAE state news agency WAM, the conditions that must be met to secure the citizenship are:

  • Investors are required to own a property in the UAE.
  • Doctors and specialists must be specialised in a unique scientific discipline or any other scientific principles that are highly required in the UAE.
  • Scientists are required to be active researchers in a university or research centre or in the private sector, with a practical experience of not less than 10 years in the same field. They also should have contributions in the scientific field such as winning a prestigious scientific award, or securing substantial funding for their research during the past ten years, it is also mandatory to obtain a recommendation letter from recognised scientific institutions in the UAE.
  • Inventors who are willing to acquire Emirati citizenship are required to obtain one or more patents that are approved by the UAE Ministry of Economy or any other reputable international body, in addition to a recommendation letter from the Economy Ministry.
  • Individuals with creative talents such as intellectuals and artists should be pioneers in the culture and art fields and winners of one or more international award. A recommendation letter from related government entities is mandatory as well.

Foreign residents make up more than 80 per cent of the population of the UAE, a federation of seven emirates, including oil-rich Abu Dhabi and tourist magnet Dubai.

In November, the country announced plans to overhaul its Islamic personal laws, allowing unmarried couples to cohabitate, loosening alcohol restrictions and criminalising so-called honour killings.