The United Arab Emirates Introduces New Citizenship Law

In an unprecedented move, the United Arab Emirates announced yesterday that it would be granting citizenship to foreign investors, professionals, and special talents for the first time in the nation’s history

Prime Minister Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum announced the following on Twitter on Saturday: “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 new amendment will also enable citizens naturalised under the revised law to hold dual citizenship, indicating a significant shift in the nation’s future outlook. However, it appears that there will be no formal application process and prospective citizens must first be selected by Emirati royals or officials.

What do these changes mean?

For the UAE, the citizenship amendment means that the government is committed to its continued development. With low oil prices and the economic impact of COVID-19, the nation is ensuring its continued prosperity.

The nation also recently issued a decree amending the UAE’s restrictions on foreign ownership of companies. The amendment allows full foreign ownership of onshore companies undertaking certain commercial activities. The changes will also contribute to a shift in the wider region, allowing it to make up for the mass emigration of foreigners since the outbreak of the virus.

Citizenship by Investment

In the last year, another popular route to citizenship has seen demand skyrocket. Introduced in the Caribbean, Citizenship by investment allows foreign investors and their families to become citizens, often after making either an economic contribution to the host nation or buying into pre-approved real estate. St Kitts and Nevis was the first nation to establish such a programme and has enjoyed the unrivalled experience for close to four decades.

Citizenship by investment provides investors with a wealth of benefits including increased travel freedom, the right to live and work in the nation and most valuably, the ability to pass citizenship down for generations to come. On the other hand, revenue generated under the programme is channelled towards national development projects in education, healthcare, tourism, infrastructure development and more.

“This is a hugely progressive step for the UAE. This new law will bring in a wealth of investment and skills, thereby allowing the UAE to diversify its income options. It now acknowledges individuals and families who positively contribute to the overall Emirati community,” says Micha Emmett, the CEO of CS Global Partners.

“Citizenship by investment a win-win situation for the UAE and investors alike, making for a stronger economy and an attractive country to invest in. We look forward to seeing to what extent the UAE will develop this law and streamline the process for investors to obtain citizenship,” she adds.