The United Arab Emirates has one of the largest economies in the Middle East and is one of the top 10 richest countries in the world. It is a very beautiful Muslim state with huge oil reserves, the revenues from the sale of which form about one third of GDP. In addition, the country is developing tourism, financial and banking sector, as well as the real estate market and construction. At the same time, about 75% of the labor force is made up of foreigners, who occupy vacancies in the UAE in a variety of sectors – from retail trade to medicine.

Citizenship of UAE

The UAE is located in the southwestern part of Asia and the eastern part of the Arabian Peninsula in the neighborhood of Saudi Arabia and Oman. In 2024, the population is just over 10 million. According to the UN, up to 85% of locals come from abroad (mostly from South Asia). Today, a large number of foreigners are interested not only in temporary work in Dubai or Abu Dhabi, but also in the possibility of becoming an Emirati citizen to stay in this country forever. Further, we will tell you how to get UAE citizenship for Russians and other foreigners in 2024.

Pros and cons of citizenship and living in the UAE

The Emirates has a quite stable political situation, a thriving economy and a flexible labor market. Taxes from citizens are not actually charged and optimal conditions for doing business have been created. Nevertheless, permanent residence in this country has negative sides. Let's highlight the pros and cons of citizenship and life in the UAE.

Important. To the surprise of many experts, in 2018 the passport of the United Arab Emirates became the most valuable in the world. The document gives the right to visa-free visits to 167 countries, ahead of the passports of Singapore and Germany.


  1. The UAE has a high standard of living and decent salaries.

  2. There is no income tax.

  3. Unlike most other Middle Eastern countries, some areas of the UAE allow the sale of real estate and land to foreigners.

  4. The Emirates is a safe and resource-rich country.

  5. Compared to permanent residents, UAE citizens are endowed with a number of additional rights, including access to free medical care and various social benefits.



  1. Living in the Emirates is very expensive. Especially high real estate prices.

  2. The UAE is a Muslim state with special traditions, culture and some specific laws that are not suitable for all foreigners. Although, unlike many neighbors in the region, the country is very liberal.

  3. The climate is very hot. In the summertime the temperature can exceed 50 degrees Celsius.

  4. High competition in the labor market.

  5. Bureaucracy and censorship.

Ways to obtain UAE citizenship

UAE citizenship by birth and descent

  1. Children automatically receive citizenship:

    • Born within the UAE if nothing is known about the parents.

    • Born in the UAE or abroad if the father or both parents are Emirati nationals.

    • Children born in the UAE or abroad if the mother is an Emirati citizen and the father is unknown (paternity is not legally confirmed) or is a stateless person.

  2. Persons of Arab descent (including their children) who resided permanently in the UAE between 1925 and 1972, when the local nationality law came into force, may obtain UAE citizenship.

Note. If the mother is a UAE citizen and the father is a foreigner, the individual is eligible to apply to the General Directorate of Residence and Foreign Affairs (GDRFA) and obtain Emirati citizenship only after reaching the age of 18.

Naturalization in the UAE

  • The naturalization process in the UAE is very time-consuming and laborious. This is especially true for individuals who are not of Arab origin. The main requirements are:

    Legal residence in the Emirates for at least 30 years. The period is reduced to 7 years for all foreigners of Arab origin, and up to 3 years for citizens of Oman, Qatar and Bahrain.

  • No criminal record, no violations of local laws and demonstration of good behavior in general, including, attitude towards local culture and traditions.

  • Legitimate employment that generates sufficient income to live in the UAE.

  • Knowledge of Arabic language at a good level (reading/writing/communication).

  • Renunciation of citizenship of other countries.

For special services to the UAE, in rare cases, the Emirati authorities may grant citizenship to a foreigner beyond the above residency requirements.

Naturalized UAE citizens do not have the right to run for office in local elections. Exceptions are citizens of Omani, Qatari and Bahraini origin, who are granted this right 7 years after receiving a passport.

UAE citizenship through marriage

When entering into a marriage relationship with a UAE citizen (including naturalized persons), a woman of foreign origin has the right to apply for Emirati citizenship only 3 years after the registration of the marriage. At the same time, the period for granting a passport can stretch up to 10 years. In case of divorce and marriage to a foreigner from outside the UAE, citizenship is revoked.

Important. Full rights of the UAE citizen for children and wives come from the moment when the head of the family (man) enters information about them in a special document – the family book (Family Book/Khulasat Al Qaid).

Note. A male foreigner will not be able to obtain an Emirati passport solely on the basis of marriage to a UAE citizen.

In each of the seven emirates, the procedure for obtaining citizenship may differ slightly, but in any case the final decision is made by the local authorities. It should be noted that in the UAE it is prohibited to have dual citizenship. In addition, the legislation provides for a number of grounds for passport revocation, for example, if a person arbitrarily enters military service in a foreign country, grossly violates local laws or lives outside the UAE for more than 4 years without explanation.

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