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24th February 2021

As you might already know, the UAE recently announced that for the first time ever, foreign-born nationals can now have the opportunity to become citizens of the country. In this groundbreaking move, the UAE has become the first Gulf Arab nation to allow foreign-born nationals to be officially recognized as citizens of the country. This new amendment to the country’s citizenship law is set to encourage top talent to come and remain in the UAE, allowing for the country to strive to even greater lengths. 

What are the benefits of Emirati citizenship?

Expats who receive Emirati citizenship will be allowed to permanently and indefinitely reside within the UAE unrestricted and without having to obtain residency visas. 

Further to this, the highly coveted Emirati passport has been ranked as one of the most powerful in the world, allowing its holders to travel visa-free to other countries. 

Who is eligible to gain Emirati citizenship?

The criteria to gain Emirati citizenship is highly exclusive and will be reserved for only a select few individuals. Those that can become eligible for Emirati citizenship, include investors who own property in the UAE, inventors who have obtained at least one patent that has been approved by the Ministry of Economy, doctors and specialists who are specialised in a unique scientific discipline, scientists who are actively engaged in research. With that being said, it should be noted that individuals, regardless of their talents, need to be specifically nominated by the UAE Cabinet, the Rulers, and Crown Princes’ Courts and the Executive Councils, before they can proceed with obtaining Emirates citizenship. 

How does this differ from the UAE’s Golden Visa’ programme? Are there any other ways I can permanently live in the UAE? 

The UAE had previously implemented a system to grant long-term residence visas, which is commonly known as a ‘Golden Visa’. This visa enables foreigners to live, work and study in the UAE without the need of a national sponsor and with 100 per cent ownership of their business on the UAE’s mainland. The visa is granted on either a 5 or 10-year basis, and providing the resident can maintain their eligibility, it can be continuously renewed. There are, however, certain requirements in order to be able to apply for this visa. 

In order to be eligible for the 10-year visa, the applicant must either make an investment of AED 10 million into the country, which should be retained for a minimum of 10 years or, the applicant must be classified as a person with specialised talents. This includes scientists, doctors, business executives of a global company, inventors, or creative individuals. 

In order to be eligible for the 5-year visa, applicants must own a property in the UAE worth at least AED 5 million, which would need to be retained for a minimum of 3 years. Entrepreneurs and outstanding students are also eligible to receive a 5-year visa. 

Another alternative for expats who are at the end of their career and wish to remain in the UAE permanently is the UAE’s Retirement Visa. 

Expats who are over the age of 55 can get a long-term residence visa for a period of 5 years, which can then be renewed providing they have maintained their eligibility. To be able to apply for the visa, the applicant must either invest in a property worth AED 2 million, have financial savings of at least AED 1 million or, have an active income of no less than AED 20,000 per month.

As you can see, there are multiple options available for individuals wishing to live in this beautiful country on a long term basis. If you are thinking of making the UAE your permanent place of residence, then contact one of our expert agents, who will be able to help you find the perfect home for you to settle down in, and if need be, fulfill the requirements for a residency visa.

 Check out the countries that offer Citizenship and Residency By Investment Programs.

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