UAE Citizenship: Everything you need to know (2022)

UAE Citizenship: Everything you need to know (2022)


Anna Antonio


Did you know that there are over 200 different nationalities living in the United Arab Emirates today? Home to one of the fastest-growing megacities, living in the UAE comes with tons of benefits. This makes UAE citizenship perfect for students, entrepreneurs, and families.

With a population of almost 10 million people, the UAE has opened its door even wider to the world. Despite being a desert, the United Arab Emirates is one of the most prosperous and innovative countries in the world.

Thinking of moving to the UAE? You’ve found the right blog. Here’s everything you need to know about obtaining UAE Citizenship.

Does the UAE Grant Citizenship?

The UAE grants citizenship in several different ways. While it was virtually impossible to become a citizen before, new laws came into effect to expand the immigration program. The UAE has intensified its efforts to recruit the world’s best.

This is evident by regulations that prioritise highly skilled engineers, doctors, inventors, entrepreneurs, and investors. The UAE has also introduced special zones within the country to help drive foreign investment in those areas.

While the new regulations expand the country’s intake of skilled labour and business owners, the traditional method of gaining citizenship has remained. These are citizenship through ancestry, marriage, and investment.

Permanent Citizenship Vs Permanent Residence

As with any country, citizens are generally prioritised. Being a citizen also comes with distinct privileges within the country such as free health care and education. These benefits are not given to tourists or individuals on temporary visas.

UAE Citizenship Benefits

As the perfect combination of work and play, there are tons of reasons why you should move to the UAE. Here are some of the benefits of living in the United Arab Emirates.


If you value safety, the UAE should be on top of your list. When compared with similarly sized countries, the UAE is virtually free of crime. The government also has measures and regulations in place to protect the intellectual property and digital assets of its citizens. This means that you won’t have to worry about cyberattacks or digital crimes.


The UAE economy is one of the most stable and reliable markets in the world. Despite what many may think, the economy is radically diversifying away from oil. This has created tons of new opportunities for the UAE and Dubai to become the new financial capital of the world.

The local currency is also fixed against the US Dollar. This means that much of the economy won’t feel the effects of fluctuating markets around the world.


While the UAE is a massive country, it’s still growing. This means that there are opportunities all over the country. The government has identified special economic zones around the UAE to encourage investment.

Work and Play

The UAE is a unique country with cities bordering both the desert and the beach. Dubai is a perfect example of this as it’s filled with tourist attractions, resorts, malls, and hotels. At the same time, downtown Dubai is home to some of the largest financial companies in the world.


Unlike in some other countries, the UAE believes in family reunification. This means that if you get approved for a long-term visa or citizenship, you will be able to bring your spouse and children with you. Better yet, your family will also get citizenship. This will allow them to enjoy the benefits of living in the UAE such as free health care and education.

Free Education

If you are used to paying for your children’s school fees, you will love the UAE. Throughout the entire country, all primary and secondary education is completely free. These levels of education are compulsory by law and are completely free for all citizens.

Free Health Care

Public healthcare facilities are completely free in the United Arab Emirates. This means that you can expect state-of-the-art care without having to worry about massive medical bills. This benefit is not given to those on temporary visas. Even if you have a long-term visa, you will need private medical cover to compensate the state for your treatment.

Lower Taxes

The UAE does not impose any income tax on individuals. This means that you will not need to declare or pay any income tax based on your personal income. There is a company tax that will kick in after AED 375,000 but it’s much lower than other countries at just 9% of your net profits.

Powerful Passport

Becoming a citizen of the UAE will let you travel visa-free to hundreds of countries around the world. This passport is so valuable that some high-net-worth individuals will invest in the country specifically for it. The list of countries includes the Schengen area, meaning you can travel visa-free throughout most of Europe.

Perfect Transport Hub

The UAE is home to two major international airlines. This is Emirates Airlines in Dubai and Etihad Airways in Abu Dhabi. These two international airlines connect to thousands of destinations around the world. This makes the UAE the perfect hub for people who love travel.

Basic UAE Citizenship Requirements

Despite the UAE expanding its immigration program, it does still have very strict requirements. Each path to citizenship will come with its own set of requirements, but all will require the following.

  • Entry visa
  • Medical examination
  • Health insurance
  • Proof of funds
  • Must pledge allegiance to the UAE
  • Commit to respecting the local laws

How To Get a UAE Citizenship

The UAE is making a massive push toward growth and economic development. This is evident in the expanded immigration policies that have been published in the last few years. These policies also highlighted the areas of the country that the government is focused on developing.

While the country still has some of the strictest policies in the world, they have been expanded to encourage business owners, scientists, inventors, and other highly skilled individuals to call the UAE their new home.

Citizenship through marriage and naturalisation is still intact, but they have been joined by several new paths toward citizenship. Here’s a quick overview of the different routes.

Physicians and Specialists

The UAE has listed both physicians and specialists to receive preferential treatment during the application process. However, these medical professionals must specialise in a unique scientific discipline and contribute regularly to ongoing research.

These professionals should also have at least 10 years of experience and apply with a letter of recommendation from a reputable scientific organisation. This emphasises the desire for the UAE to recruit the best of the best.


Scientists can apply for citizenship in the UAE through both academic and professional experience. Applicants will need to have at least 10 years of experience and lead an active research career in higher education.

They should have also won at least one international award and research grant in the last year. Scientist applications should also come with a letter of reference from a recognised academic institution.


The UAE offers long-term visas and a distinct path to citizenship for creatives with special talents. These individuals must be an innovator in the field and have at least one patented invention registered to their names. They should also have at least one international award and apply with a letter of recommendation from a government agency in their field.


Investors can qualify for a few different long-term visas. These can range from three to five years and will require you to invest over AED 1 million. This investment can be in the form of local share purchases, real estate, or capital to start a new business in the UAE.

When it comes to investments, the UAE will reduce the requirements in specific locations. As mentioned above, this is to target and encourage economic development in these areas.

The Golden Visa is the latest option that has become available in the last few years. This visa lasts for 10 years and is granted to investors that invest over AED 10 million in the local economy. This investment is not limited to special economic zones but can be in real estate, shares, or working capital for a new business.

Does the UAE Allow Dual-Citizenship?

If you qualify for citizenship in the UAE, you will be allowed to keep your existing citizenship. This was not always the case, but new reforms have added this to encourage more people to move to the UAE.

How To Apply for Citizenship

Applying for residency and citizenship is easier than ever before. Each application is looked at individually and is under the responsibility of the Federal Office of Identity and Citizenship. Here’s a quick guide on what the process will look like.

Step 1: Initial Application

The first step in the process is to make your initial application. The application itself will be different depending on the route to citizenship that you want to take. If you are applying for citizenship through any investment, make sure that all supporting documents are attached.

This is an important part of the application process as missing documents can often lead to applications being delayed or rejected. This is another reason why partnering with an agency can help make things go smoothly.

Step 2: Sub-Committees Will Evaluate Your Application

After the screening of your application, it will be transferred to a sub-committee for evaluation. This committee will then look through all the data you have provided them to confirm the details. If you are applying as a skilled professional, your credentials will be verified by this committee.

Step 3: Advisory Committee

Once the sub-committee approves your application, it will move on to an advisory committee. This committee consists of seven individuals, one per Emirate. It’s here that the final decision will be made on granting you UAE citizenship.

Costs To Become a UAE Citizen

There are different fees allocated to different kinds of visas. While some require you to also make a sizable investment in the country, most application fees will range from AED 1,000 to AED 5,000. The Golden Visa will also require you to make a deposit of AED 10,000 when applying. This deposit increases to AED 20,000 if you can’t meet certain requirements.

Other Ways To Stay In the UAE

If you don’t have the funds to make a sizable investment but want to enjoy life in the UAE, there are other options available. Here are a few other visas you can look into.

Retirement Visa

If you are over the age of 55 and want to enjoy your retirement in the beautiful UAE, you may be able to qualify for a Retirement Visa. This visa is one of the longest visas you can get as it lasts five years. To qualify, you will need a monthly income of at least AED 20,000 or at least AED 1 million in savings or real estate in the UAE.

Freelance Visa

Another recent program is the freelance visa. This visa lasts a year and is designed for individuals who want to live in the UAE while freelancing. This allows freelancers to enjoy the perks of no income tax while enjoying life in the UAE.

Move to the UAE Today

The UAE is one of the best countries to live in. As a growing international hub, the possibilities are endless. Whether you want to complete your studies or start a business, UAE citizenship is filled with opportunities for you and your family.

While permanent residency is more difficult, there is still a clear path you can take to become a citizen of the United Arab Emirates. If you have any questions or need help planning your next steps, feel free to contact us today.

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