The United Arab Emirates (UAE) made significant changes to its rules and regulations in order to keep up with the economic trend change globally. In order to constantly evolve, UAE has kept with the changes in demand and moulded its ways accordingly; this has benefited the country hugely as UAE is not only one of the best business hubs across the globe but also is regarded as a great tourist spot.
Keeping up with the changing trend, UAE recently announced that Emirati nationality will be officially attainable for foreigners, which is a major first for the Gulf’s state. This move was taken because UAE’s economy has now shifted from just being an oil-rich state alone and relies on expatriates, for whom residency is typically contingent on their employment visas.
These changes were announced by the UAE government news agency WAM, which read:
“The United Arab Emirates has approved amendments … allowing investors, professionals, special talents and their families to acquire the Emirati nationality and passport under certain conditions.”
It further stated: “The step aims at appreciating the talents and competencies present in the UAE and attracting more bright minds to the Emirati community in a way that contributes to the development and prosperity of the country.”
It was reassured that foreigners cannot apply for citizenship, however; they must be nominated by UAE royals or officials, and the country’s Cabinet would get the final say.
Vice-President and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum stated that the law has been amended to “aim to attract talents that contribute to their development journey”.
The UAE passport, which is ranked as one of the best in the world for mobility, will be offered to select foreigners and professionals including “investors, doctors, specialists, inventors, scientists, talents, intellectuals, artists, and their families,” according to the announcement.
While many specific details of the new policy are yet to be seen, this is a big deal for the UAE’s future, says Taufiq Rahim, a Dubai-based senior fellow in the international security program at the New America think tank.
“The pathway to citizenship for expatriates while limited in scope and unclear in details today is a transformative development for the future,” Rahim said. “The announcement broke the barrier on an issue that was previously taboo and in the long-term will spur greater investment in the UAE.”
He added, “In the short-term, however, it is more a feel-good story than a driver of economic returns.”
Requirements for UAE Citizenship by Investment or Talent
You don’t need to submit an application if you are hoping to qualify for UAE citizenship by investment program. The Executive Councils, Rulers, and Crown Princes Courts, and the Cabinet will choose the nominees.
You qualify as a nominee for special talent if you belong to any one of the following professions listed below:
According to the amended law, it qualifies categories of expats in the UAE which makes them eligible for citizenship and passport. These include:
- Investors, who own certain property in the UAE
- Doctors, scientists, and engineers with 10+ years of experience
- Artists and intellectuals with an internationally recognized award
- Investors with at least one certified patent within the UAE
It is worth adding that you are also allowed to include your spouse and dependent children in the program as well, which makes it an even more appealing deal.
Benefits of UAE Citizenship by Investment
Many people are probably unaware but there are many benefits of United Arab Emirates citizenship. Here are some of the major benefits that you can enjoy if you become eligible for it:
Work, Live, and Study
Through UAE citizenship, you can enjoy your life in the UAE, and apply for different fields for work, or start your own company, or even study in the emirates. The UAE citizenship provides all these facilities to those who are willing to put in the effort.
All applicants, when their application is accepted, are allowed to add their wife and children to the program. This means that your family will be united wherever you decide to move within the UAE. This is one of the best decisions taken by the UAE government to appeal to the moral values and ensure that the UAE is doing everything it can to make the life of its new citizens easier.
Registering Assets without Restrictions
Typically, whenever a foreigner moves to a new country, they face a number of challenges when it comes to registering assets but not in UAE. They have the absolute freedom to live their lives as they please and register whatever assets they want to their names without having anyone pestering them about it.
Bank Account Opening & Companies Registration in UAE
Similar to the above problem, countries are also often cautious of foreigners opening a bank account in their home country. This is primarily due to the money laundering issues the world has seen a lot in the recent past; however, UAE does not impose too much. After running an adequate background check, you will be allowed to open a bank account in the UAE because you are now a UAE citizen.
Visa-Free Access to 167 Countries
One of the best perks of holding a UAE passport is that you get access to 167 countries without having the need for a visa. These countries include:
Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Canada, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Eswatini, Fiji, Finland, France, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, São Tomé and Príncipe, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Spain, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Tonga, Tunisia, Ukraine, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Vatican City, Kosovo, Northern Cyprus, Palestine, South Ossetia, and Transnistria.
Tax Consequence for UAE Citizenship
The United Arab Emirates has provided all its citizens a very attractive tax scheme, something which is globally renowned. No income tax is collected from individuals and furthermore, filing a tax return is not a necessity either. It’s a plain open field and for those who enjoy that kind of environment, it is perfect for them.
UAE Dual Citizenship
Previously, the dual citizenship concept was frowned upon in the UAE but as time has progressed, so have the UAE rules and regulations. According to the new laws, people who are now granted UAE citizenship are allowed to keep their existing citizenship. However, you need authorization from your origin country before applying for citizenship in UAE.
Alternative to UAE Citizenship by Investment
Many European countries have their respective citizenship or residency programs. Anyone can apply as long as they fulfill the requirements of the programs.
Here are some of the most renowned Residency or Citizenship by Investment programs:
Portugal Golden Visa
This program allows the people to make a qualifying investment in Portugal and in return, they are awarded the opportunity for a resident permit. This program allows you and your family to live, work, and study in Portugal and travel across all of the Schengen countries without having the need for a visa. Towards the end of the five years, you can then become eligible for citizenship in Portugal.
Spain Golden Visa
Launched in 2013, the Spain Golden Visa also offers the opportunity to live in Spain and get citizenship in exchange for investment within the country. You and your family can enjoy the perks of traveling across the Schengen countries without the need for any visa. In addition to that, you can work and live wherever you feel like in Spain.
Greece Golden Visa
The Greece golden visa is one of the most affordable and popular programs; all EU and non-EU residents can apply for this program which is called the permanent residency program in Greece. You can benefit from living and traveling across Greece through this.
Malta Citizenship by Investment
The Malta citizen program was revamped in 2021and it has become extremely easy to obtain Malta citizenship. However, it is always advised to hire personal legal assistance while processing these applications because there are a number of things to be taken into consideration.
Turkey Citizenship by Investment
Lastly on the list is Turkey citizenship program which is also easily awarded to those who make substantial real estate investment worth above $250,000. This is perhaps the easiest and quickest way to obtain citizenship and enjoy the rights of the said country.
While applying for any type of citizenship, you should always consider hiring a legal assistance person who specializes in citizenship. This will allow you to have your application accepted more often than not. In addition to that, they are also up-to-date on all the policy changes and can guide you through the process better.
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