Situated in Western Asia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) shares borders with multiple countries and is famous for its high-towering skyscrapers, architecture, thriving economy, and terrific career opportunities. In this article, we will explore how to obtain UAE citizenship, the benefits of obtaining UAE citizenship, the application process, and more.
Owing to the 2021 regulations passed by the UAE government, the country has emerged as one of the top places in the world for obtaining citizenship. Previously, UAE had restricted its citizenship policy to the following individuals:
- Citizens of other countries who had resided in the United Arab Emirates for a minimum period of thirty years and can speak fluent Arabic. In this case, the individual had to give up any other existing citizenship they may have held.
- UAE citizenship by marriage – Women (non-UAE citizens) who had been married to a UAE citizen for a minimum of seven years.
- Foreigners honored with the UAE passport from one of the heads/leaders of the United Arab Emirates.
The UAE government approved amendments extending citizenship to qualified foreign nationals, which has helped the nation accelerate economic growth.
Who qualifies for UAE citizenship?
In 2021, the UAE introduced a new addition to the Executive Regulation of the Federal Law concerning Nationality and Passports. This was done to help advance the country’s economy. This section will take you through the various categories and eligibility criteria that have been added to allow more individuals to apply for citizenship in the UAE.
Applicants who fall under the following criteria can be nominated for UAE citizenship by UAE royals or officials. Your candidacy must be approved by the Cabinet.
- You must have a minimum of ten years of experience
- You must hold membership of a reputable organization in your field
- You must have made a recognized scientific contribution to your field
- You must have at least one patent approved by the UAE Ministry of Economy or another reputable international organization
- You must have a minimum of ten years of experience in their field
- You must have at least one prestigious international award or a research grant in your field
Creative talents deemed innovators in their field
- You must have at least one patented invention
- You must have an international award
- You must have a recommendation from a government agency in your field
Investors, such as those who have bought real estate in the UAE
The individuals described above are eligible for the UAE’s Golden Visa. This long-term residence visa allows foreign talents to live, work, and study in the UAE while enjoying exclusive benefits. It is renewable and valid for five or ten years without needing a sponsor.
We will now look more in-depth at the categories and criteria outlined above.
Scientists and researchers
- Individuals in the fields of life or natural sciences, engineering, or technology
- Individuals should have a Ph.D. or Master’s degree in their field from one of the world’s leading universities.
- Your research achievements must have impacted your field.
- You are a professional with a minimum of ten years of academic experience.
- You must have a reference letter from a reputed academic institution.
- You must have been conferred with a minimum of one international award for your contribution to a vital scholarship/research grant in the last ten years.
- The Emirates Scientists Council recommendation provides your Golden Visa candidacy.
Exceptional talents in sports, digital tech, art, or culture fields
- An Individual who has received at least one prestigious international award for their achievements
- Your income and employment status do not matter
- The individual must have a recommendation letter from a local or federal government agency in their related field.
- The individual must be innovative and inventive in their career
- The individual must have one or more patents
- You must register a startup company in the UAE as a small and medium enterprise
- Your startup should have a minimum of AED1,000,000 in annual revenue
- You can also generate a startup idea and have it approved by an official business incubator in the UAE or local authorities such as the Ministry of Economy
- You can also be the founder of a project sold for a minimum of AED7,000,000
- Workers from all disciplines can apply for the Golden Visa
- Fields like administration, business, culture, engineering, IT, law, and medicine are singled out
- You must have high educational qualifications and good experience in your field
- You must have a valid employment contract in the Emirates
- You must be classified in the first or second occupational level in line with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation
- Your monthly salary should be a minimum of AED30,000
Outstanding students and graduates
- Includes students in secondary schools in the Emirates, graduates from Emirati universities, and graduates from the world’s top 100 higher educational institutions
- Candidates should have high academic achievements (e.g. minimum GPA of 3.5 for bachelor students outside the UAE)
- Graduation should not have occurred more than two years ago
- Candidates should possess recognition awards in humanitarian fields
- You can be a prominent volunteer and sponsor of humanitarian efforts
- You can hold outstanding membership in public benefits associations and regional or global organizations
- Referring to workers with outstanding achievements in crisis situations (e.g. the COVID-19 pandemic)
- The primary applicant can include their spouse and children in the application.
- You can also include non-family members (e.g. colleagues or house workers)
Investors can get a UAE Golden Visa by investing in real estate or business:
- Real estate investors can apply for a ten-year Golden Visa if they invest a minimum of AED2,000,000 in real estate
- The property may be off-plan or fully constructed
- Obtaining a loan from an accredited UAE bank is allowed
- Business investors can apply for a ten-year Golden Visa by investing a minimum of AED2,000,000 in a business
- The business can be an existing company in the UAE or a new company that you, the investor, establish
Individuals who qualify after meeting all the guidelines and processes are eligible to apply for Emirati citizenship. However, you can only gain the UAE’s citizenship through the Rulers’ and Crown Princes’ Courts, Offices of the Executive Councils and the Cabinet determined by the recommendations of federal entities. Once approved, the primary applicant can also include their spouse and children in the United Arab Emirates citizenship application.
What are the benefits of UAE citizenship?
- The country has a stable economy
- Popular cities in the UAE like Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Ras Al-Khaimah, and Al Ain have various job opportunities and attract people from all over the world.
- The country has a growing expat community
- The UAE has world-class education and healthcare infrastructure
- The country offers high salaries and has an excellent standard of living
- You can own a commercial business or get a job in a public institution in the country. In addition, if you attain 20 years of work experience, you can opt to retire at the age of 49.
- According to the Global Passport Index, the UAE ranks 24th based on various parameters like enhanced mobility, investment index, and quality of living.
- The UAE ranks 6th in the Investment Index, which ranks a country based on ease of doing business and how investor-friendly it is.
- The UAE passport is among the strongest passports in the world for investment opportunities
- You can include your family members in your application for citizenship in the UAE
With a United Arab Emirates passport, you are allowed visa-free travel to various countries across the world. Travel visa-free to the following countries:
Antigua and Barbuda
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Saint Kitts & Nevis
Saint Vincent & the Grenadines
São Tomé and Príncipe
Check out our article: UAE Passport: Everything you Need to Know.
What is the application procedure for UAE citizenship?
There are no set rules regarding the application process to obtain citizenship in the UAE. However, there are specific eligibility criteria that an individual must meet to apply for UAE nationality.
First step – Reviewing your application
The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship appoints a central advisory committee and sub-committees to review each candidate independently.
Second step – Pre-approval
The sub-committees are responsible for reviewing all data submitted and filtering applicants who meet the eligibility conditions to qualify for citizenship.
Third step – Approval of your application
Once your citizenship application is verified and approved, it is passed on to the advisory committee consisting of one representative from each Emirate for the final statement.
Even if you meet all the eligibility criteria, you might be denied UAE citizenship on certain conditions. The final decision in these cases lies with the Executive Council, the Rulers, the Crown Princes’ Courts, and the Cabinet.
If you are denied citizenship in the UAE, you can plan to acquire the UAE Golden Visa. With the UAE Golden Visa, you can obtain a residence permit by investment in the country and work in the UAE. Under the Golden Visa program, you can also include your family members in your application.
How to get UAE citizenship by investment?
Under the Golden Visa, the UAE offers a long-term residence visa through an investment that allows foreign investors to live, work, and study in the UAE. You must own the invested capital completely (it cannot be a loan) and provide proof of medical insurance for yourself and your family (if applicable).
If you choose the real estate investment route and own a property or group of properties, you will be granted a Golden Visa that is valid for five years without the need for a sponsor. To qualify, you must:
- Provide a letter from the Department of Land and Real Estate Regulation of the prospective emirate stating that you own one or more properties, the value of which is not less than AED2,000,000
- Provide proof of housing in the country
- Purchase a property with a loan from specific local banks approved by the competent local authority
If you are looking for a visa with a lower investment minimum, you can opt for the two-year Property Investor Residence Visa. This requires you to make a minimum investment of AED750,000 in a residential or serviced apartment. If you and your legally married spouse invest in joint ownership property, the minimum requirement is AED1,000,000 invested in property such as hotel rooms, villas, townhouses, offices, or warehouses.
If you prefer a more long-term visa, you can choose to make a property investment of AED2,000,000 to qualify for a ten-year Property Investor Residence Visa in the UAE.
How to obtain UAE citizenship? Well, now you know. There are a number of different options to obtain citizenship in the UAE, whether your application is rooted in an investment, your skills, your education, or your career. Choosing the right option for you is the first step towards a fantastic new life in the United Arab Emirates.
How Global Citizen Solutions Can Help
Expats and foreign investors can encounter many difficulties when applying for second citizenship and a second passport, which is why it is worthwhile to have an expert on hand to provide personalized UAE citizenship assistance throughout the application process.
Our specialists can help you with the following:
- Minimize the visits you have to make to the designated country
- Have someone who works solely on your behalf
- Reduce the hassle associated with putting your application together
- Acquire insider knowledge from someone with years of experience in the market
Let’s get you moving forward in your quest to obtain UAE citizenship and passport. Get in touch with us to book a free consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions about UAE Citizenship
How to get a UAE passport?
To acquire UAE or Dubai citizenship and a UAE passport, individuals have several pathways:
- Exceptional merit
Notably, exceptional merit is open to investors who meet specific criteria. Before applying for citizenship, investors must secure a two or ten-year residence permit (Golden Visa) by making a substantial investment of at least AED 2 million (about $545,000) in UAE property or an alternative qualifying investment.
How to get Dubai citizenship?
Since Dubai is one of the most popular places in the UAE, people may often use the term “Dubai citizenship” to refer to UAE citizenship. Foreigners can obtain Emirati citizenship if they are investors or talented individuals in their respective fields. However, It is important to emphasize that obtaining UAE citizenship is not a straightforward process and requires special approval from the UAE authorities.
Can Pakistani citizens get a UAE Golden Visa?
Yes, Pakistani citizens can obtain a UAE Golden Visa through investment in real estate. For more details, please read our article: UAE Golden Visa for Pakistani Citizens.
How to get UAE citizenship for foreigners?
The latest amendment stipulates the following individuals who can qualify to apply for citizenship in the UAE:
- Foreign investors
- Experts in numerous industries
- Doctors and scientists
- Inventors and thinkers
- Persons with creative abilities
- Frontline heroes
- Students and graduates
Can you buy citizenship in the UAE?
No, directly buying citizenship in the UAE is not possible. However, you can choose to invest in the UAE by purchasing property, which is a route to citizenship under the UAE’s citizenship-by-investment program.
Can you get Dubai citizenship by investment?
Yes, you can get Dubai citizenship by investment through the UAE citizenship-by-investment program. Dubai is one of the most popular investment destinations. As Dubai is part of the UAE, making an investment here is a route to citizenship in the UAE.
How much does it cost to get citizenship in the UAE?
The cost of obtaining citizenship in the UAE will depend on the type of real estate investment you choose to make. A two-year Property Investor Residence Visa will require a minimum investment of AED750,000 (about $204,000) in residential or serviced apartments, or an investment of AED1,000,000 (about $272,000) in hotel rooms, villas, townhouses, offices, or warehouses. A ten-year UAE Golden Visa requires a minimum investment of AED2,000,000 (about $545,000).
How much do I need to invest for UAE PR?
Permanent residence in the UAE can be obtained in different ways. The cost of an investment required for permanent residence in the UAE will vary depending on whether you invest in a business or real estate.
How to get UAE citizenship by investment?
There are two options for investment that lead to citizenship in the UAE. The first is a two-year Property Investor Residence Visa, which requires an investment of between AED750,000 and AED1,000,000 (about $204,000-$272,000). The second option is the ten-year UAE Golden Visa, which requires an investment of AED2,000,000 ($545,000).