How To Get UAE Citizenship as a Foreigner? 5 Options to Become Emirati

Dubai is just something else. The humid weather, days that run through the nights, massive buildings with beautiful lights, and everything coming together set a perfect atmosphere to work in, rest in, and live in paradise with a twist.

Most of us might wonder how to get citizenship in UAE (United Arab Emirates).

You can obtain UAE citizenship through a few measures:

1. Marrying a UAE citizen (only for women)

2. If your profession is valuable to the state

3. If you have lived in the UAE for 30 years

4. If you’re a direct descendant of a UAE citizen

5. Sponsored by a UAE citizen

There are a few ways to get UAE citizenship, but most have a long list of rules and steps to follow before getting that identity.

However, there are so many benefits to having a UAE passport, and I won’t mind putting in the effort to get this citizenship.

1. Marrying An Emirati Citizen

To have UAE citizenship, you are called an Emirati. The first way to get Emirati citizenship would be for a woman to marry an Emirati citizen.

Unfortunately, this rule only applies to women, and men won’t be able to marry into UAE citizenship. They still have a view of men as higher than women. Thus, women do not qualify to add men to the rankings.

Specific rules apply when you want to marry an Emirati:

  • Firstly, you must identify as someone wanting to become a UAE citizen. You will have to do this as soon as possible after you marry an Emirati man. You do this at the GDRFA’s office, and you will get forms to complete.
  • You will then have to stay married for at least three years to get citizenship. In the meantime, you may reside in the UAE but won’t be a citizen yet.
  • You would have to revoke your current citizenship. It was because the UAE did not recognize dual citizenship. However, the new law implemented in 2021 allows you to have dual citizenship.
  • Your husband will have to fill out forms and pay a fee at the GDRFA offices and state that you, as a foreigner, will become his wife.

You won’t ever get citizenship by marrying an Emirati woman as a man. Your children won’t be Emiratis and will only be able to apply for this citizenship when they turn 18.

Before they turn 18, you will have to pay for their education and healthcare, while Emirati citizens get these services for free.

2. A Valuable Profession Can Earn You UAE Citizenship

This rule only came about in 2021 with the new law and will change the UAE drastically. Professionals who have valuable jobs and will help the UAE move forward can stand a chance to obtain an Emirati passport.

The new law aims to attract great minds that will benefit the country and make it more extraordinary. However, as the professional they seek, you cannot apply for citizenship and must be nominated by the royals and officials.

The UAE implemented the new law after COVID forced thousands of ex-pats to leave the country.

These professions include investors, doctors, inventors, specialists, talents, scientists, intellectuals, and artists. Each job description must comply with rules and regulations for the officials to consider this citizenship.

ProfessionRules And Regulations
ScientistsMore than 10-year experience in the field
Be part of a scientific study or research center
You will need a letter of recommendation
InvestorsNeed to own property in the UAE
Specialists and DoctorsWork in a required field in the UAE Ten years of experience in this field
A scientific contribution that added value
InventorsHave to have a patent or more on a specific product recognized by the UAE Economy Ministry
Artists and IntellectualsCreative arts
Won international awards
Recommendation letter

Although there are new ways to get citizenship, it is still extensive, and you genuinely have to be part of the cream of the crop to stand a chance.

Your family will also gain citizenship if the royals and officials nominate you as one of these professionals the UAE needs.

3. You Lived And Worked In The UAE For 30 Years

You must live and work continuously in the UAE for 30 years. Not breaking any laws and not leaving and coming back will help you get the citizenship you always wanted.

You might be able to get it earlier if you go to the GDRFA office and apply to become an Emirati citizen one day.

Having male Emirati citizens who can vouch for your character and what a great person you are will also help you apply to become a citizen. Secondly, if you learn to speak and write Arabic, this could also count in your favor.

4. Direct Descendant Of An Emirati

Suppose you have proof that your father or grandfather was an Emirati in the early years between 1925 to 1972; you will automatically qualify as an Emirati citizen.

Suppose your father is an Emirati and you were born abroad; it does not matter – you are also an Emirati.

If your mother is an Emirati citizen and your father is not, you will only be able to apply for citizenship when you are 18.

5. Sponsored By A UAE Citizen Or Company

For you to be able to live in the UAE, a citizen like family or an employer needs to sponsor you. You will have to fill out an entry permit, and your sponsor will be responsible for you during your stay.

The entry permit will be valid for two months, so you must apply for a residency visa when you arrive in the UAE.

With this visa, you can rent an apartment, open a bank account, rent a car, and live in the UAE peacefully.

However, if you break the law at any stage or your sponsor withdraws their sponsorship, you must leave the country. In addition, you must renew the residency visa every two years.

The Benefits Of UAE Citizenship

What are the perks of being a UAE citizen? Of course, I would love to be a citizen just for the vibe, the views, and the way the economy functions fluently.

But, apart from these perks, there are a lot of benefits that will make you feel that you are missing out.

  • The UAE passport has very high merit, and you can travel to more than 100 countries without a visa.
  • You can use a retirement fund from the age of 49 years
  • You get a high income and don’t have to pay taxes
  • Citizens get free education, health care, and subsidized fuel
  • You are allowed to own commercial property, and
  • Get particular preference when you want to buy property.


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