How to Become a UAE Citizen

Step-by-step guide on how to acquire a UAE citizenship.

The common point of entry in the UAE is through the residency visa which can be used to work or to study in the country. Applying for citizenship, however, allows a person to be able to vote and enjoy the benefits of being a citizen. Pursuing citizenship may be the next step for those that have found steady footing within the Emirates.

With this article, we would elaborate on the qualifications and process on how to apply and acquire a UAE citizenship.

Also Read: How to Choose the Right Visa in UAE

Step-by-step Guide on How to Acquire a UAE Citizenship

application-uae-citizenship
An extensive guide on how to apply & acquire a UAE citizenship.

A. Where to Apply?

The first to apply for a citizenship/nationality is through the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA). The directorate is responsible for all affairs concerning residency visas, passports, and the likes. Their website contains the application forms for individuals and establishments.

Under Federal law No. 17 of 1972 on Nationality and Passports as amended by Federal Law No. 10 of 1975 and Decree Law No. 16 of 2017, there is a total of three ways to become a UAE citizen. This includes naturalization, citizenship, and law.

1. By naturalization

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The conditions included in this process involves
• An Arab from a neighbouring country residing in the UAE for three years before the application
• An Arab living in the UAE for seven years before application (must have a source of income, no criminal records, and of good reputation)
• A person is residing in the UAE until the implementation of Federal Law no. 18 of 1972 and since or before 1940 (must have a source of income, no criminal records, and proficient in the Arabic language)
• A person who has provided/is providing service to the country (up for deliberation)

2. By citizenship

The conditions included in this process involves
• A woman is marrying a UAE citizen with or without children. The marriage should last for at least seven years if one or more children. It should last for at least ten years for those without. Both cases should have marriage before application.
• A widow/divorcee with children marrying another UAE citizen

3. By law

• A person born in the country/overseas with a father who is a citizen
• A person born in the country/abroad with a mother who is a citizen or with a father without citizenship/unknown citizenship
• A person in the country with unknown parents

4. Presidential Decree

• A person may be declared a citizen through a presidential decree.

Requirements for Application

The following requirements shall be required for those who want to become a citizen as stated by the government’s website:

  • He/she shall renounce his/her nationality of the origin or any other citizenship he/she holds.
  • He/she shall be proficient in Arabic.
  • He/she shall have a lawful source of income.
  • He/she shall hold an educational qualification.
  • He/she shall be of good reputation and ethical conduct.
  • He/she shall not have been convicted for a felony or misdemeanour involving moral turpitude or dishonesty unless rehabilitated.
  • He/shall obtain security approval.
  • He/she shall swear allegiance to the UAE.

All applications are subject to examinations by an Advisory Committee comprised of representatives from the seven emirates of the UAE. 

Becoming a UAE citizen comes with a lot of benefits; however, the process of acquiring citizenship is hard without prior knowledge. We hope that this article taught you a thing or two about acquiring of UAE citizenship, to make your application easier & faster.

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