The UAE government has made a historic decision to allow citizenship to selected foreign nationals. Although the country has been home to many expats over the years, now they can become Emirati citizens and enjoy all the perks of owning a UAE passport. It is a one-of-its-kind decision taken in the Gulf region.

The announcement came after the new amendments were made to the UAE Citizenship Law passed by the UAE Cabinet in the direction of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of the country. This session of the cabinet was led by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Ruler of Dubai and Prime Minister of the UAE.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum took to the micro-blogging site Twitter to announce this new law. He tweeted that:

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.”

The UAE cabinet, local Emiri courts & executive councils will nominate those eligible for the citizenship under clear criteria set for each category. The law allows receivers of the UAE passport to keep their existing citizenship.”

These changes to the UAE Citizenship Law were keenly anticipated by expats. Thus, it has garnered a positive response from them. They have appreciated the step taken by the government, which, as per experts, was in the pipeline for more than two years.

How to Become a UAE National Under the New Citizenship Law Amendment?

Investors, doctors and specialists, scientists, inventors, intellectuals and creative talents, along with their families, can benefit from this amendment in the law.

It is to be noted that they cannot directly apply for citizenship in the UAE. Only the Cabinet, Rulers’ and Crown Princes’ Courts and Executive Councils can elect expats to allow them to become a UAE citizen. The exact process hasn’t been outlined up till now, but it is expected to be announced in the coming time. However, the eligibility criteria have been defined below.

Eligibility Criteria

In this section, we have discussed the eligibility criteria foreign nationals have to meet to be able to get nominated for the citizenship:


  • For an investor to qualify for citizenship, it is mandatory to own property in the country.

Doctors and Specialists

  • It is compulsory for doctors to have a specialised degree in a medical science or unique discipline.
  • They should be a member or employee in a well-reputed organisation. This employment/membership must be related to their field of specialisation.
  • They should have a practical experience of 10 years.
  • They need to have a noted contribution to scientific research and studies.


  • Just like doctors and specialists, scientists must also have minimum practical experience of 10 years to meet the eligibility criteria.
  • They must be employed as an active researcher at a university or research centre.
  • They should have notable achievement i.e. a prestigious scientific award on their name or received a search grant during the preceding 10 years.
  • A recommendation letter from a reputable and recognised scientific institution is also compulsory for their nomination.


  • Inventors require a recommendation letter. It should be written by the Ministry of Economy.
  • They must have at least one patent approved by a reputable international body or the Ministry of Economy.

Creative Talents

  • A creative talent, in order to be nominated for citizenship, must have received international awards in arts and culture.
  • They should have a recommendation letter written by the relevant government entity.

Other Requirements

Once an individual has qualified for citizenship, they have to fulfil some other requirements. These include:

  • Swearing oath of allegiance.
  • If they intend to give up citizenship or acquire a new one, they should inform the relevant authorities.
  • Their commitment to completely abide by the law of the country.

Benefits of Getting a UAE Citizenship

There are abundant benefits of becoming a UAE citizen. These include:

  • You become the holder of a UAE passport, which is considered to be one of the best in the world.
  • You reserve the right to own companies and properties in the UAE. And you wouldn’t have to worry about where expats can buy a property in Dubai or other cities, as you will be a citizen of the country.
  • You get to enjoy visa-free travel to over 100 countries.

Final Thoughts

In a nutshell, it is a great initiative taken by the government as it can help to boost the economy. And it is hoped that this new law will pave the way for more expat-friendly regulations in the years to come

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