The prospect of acquiring citizenship in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is an intriguing topic, particularly for Indian nationals. While the UAE presents numerous opportunities for employment, business, and residency, the pathway to citizenship is often shrouded in complexity. In this blog, we delve into the question: Can Indians obtain UAE citizenship? Let's explore the intricacies and possibilities.


The UAE, a thriving nation with a high standard of living, attracts expats seeking career growth. With 84% of its population being foreign-born, the UAE welcomes international talent. However, obtaining Emirati citizenship is a different story.


For most foreigners, the path typically involves long-term residency or marriage to a citizen. While citizenship offers benefits like government support and tax breaks, it's a less common route compared to residency permits.


This guide serves as a starting point, whether you're just starting your UAE journey with a work visa or exploring long-term options like permanent residency or even citizenship.


Living Long-Term in the UAE: Residence vs. Citizenship

While both permanent residents and UAE citizens can call the Emirates home, citizenship unlocks a higher level of benefits and integration.


Citizenship Perks:

  • Government Support: Emirati citizens enjoy perks like free healthcare, education, and even financial aid for housing, child-rearing, and marriage costs.
  • Job Market Advantage: Citizens may receive preferential treatment when seeking jobs and potentially earn higher salaries.


Important Note: Not all naturalized citizens, particularly those without deep family roots in the UAE, might enjoy the full spectrum of benefits, especially regarding preferential job placement and certain social programs.


Permanent Residence:

  • Limited Benefits: Residents likely have to pay for healthcare and education or receive them at a subsidized but higher cost compared to citizens.
  • Job Market Competition: Permanent residents might face stiffer competition in the job market and potentially lower salaries compared to citizens.


In a Nutshell:

  • Permanent residence offers long-term residency with some limitations on benefits.
  • UAE citizenship provides a significantly higher standard of living and social integration, but obtaining it is a more challenging process.

UAE Citizenship: A High Bar, But Not Impossible

Obtaining UAE citizenship is a complex process with varying possibilities depending on your situation. It's advisable to consult an immigration lawyer for personalized guidance.


Here's a general overview of the eligibility factors:

Automatic Citizenship: You are automatically considered a citizen if:

  • Born in the UAE to unknown parents.
  • Born in the UAE to an Emirati father.
  • Born in the UAE to an Emirati mother and an unknown father.
  • Naturalization (Long-Term Residency): This route involves a lengthy residency period, potentially up to 30 years.
  • Marriage: You can apply for citizenship through marriage to an Emirati citizen.


Basic Requirements (Apply to all routes):
  • Proficiency in Arabic language.
  • Legal employment in the UAE.
  • Good moral character.


Additional Considerations:
  • Specific processes might differ slightly across emirates.
  • Employment status and employer may also influence your options.


Applications for UAE citizenship are overseen by each individual Emirate, with final determinations made by local authorities. It is crucial to ensure accuracy regarding the specific procedures and requirements of the Emirate where one resides before proceeding with the application process.


Understanding the Possibilities of Dual Citizenship for Indians in the UAE

It is sometimes feasible for individuals to possess citizenship in more than one nation, termed dual or multiple citizenship. However, dual citizenship is generally not allowed in the UAE. Opting for Emirati citizenship typically necessitates forfeiting one's original nationality.


Ways to Obtain UAE Citizenship

Claiming UAE citizenship hinges on individual circumstances, often tied to birthplace. Authorities may grant citizenship for exceptional contributions, yet birth remains the primary qualifier. Naturalization through residency is another avenue, requiring up to 30 years of continuous UAE residence and work. Consultation with an immigration lawyer is advisable to explore personalized citizenship pathways.


Can I obtain citizenship through investment?

Investor visas in some Emirates offer temporary residency but not citizenship. Regardless of investment amount, fulfilling residency requirements or other routes is necessary for citizenship.


Can I obtain citizenship through descent or ancestry?

UAE citizenship is attainable through parental descent if one or both were citizens at the time of birth. If the mother is Emirati and the father is not, citizenship can be sought at 18, subject to father's consent.


Can I obtain citizenship through marriage?

Marriage to an Emirati grants eligibility for citizenship after three years, with naturalization typically after 10 years of residency. Divorcing and remarrying voids citizenship.


How to apply for UAE citizenship

Applications are made to the authorities in the respective Emirate of residence, often requiring in-person meetings. Due to complexity, seeking legal assistance is advisable.


Application Fees and Cost

Fees vary by Emirate, with additional charges for agent assistance and document translation or certification.


Unlocking UAE Citizenship for Indian Nationals: Exploring Paths and Possibilities

In summary, the journey to UAE citizenship for Indian nationals is multifaceted, with various eligibility routes and considerations. While the process may seem daunting, seeking guidance from immigration experts like BMS Auditing can streamline the path towards achieving Emirati citizenship. BMS Auditing specializes in immigration law and offers tailored guidance for individuals navigating the complexities of UAE citizenship. From assessing eligibility criteria to assisting with application procedures, BMS provides comprehensive support to Indian nationals seeking Emirati citizenship.


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