Thousands of children to be given Emirati citizenship

Children born to Emirati mothers with foreign fathers are not automatically entitled to a UAE passport


Balloons with the colors of the UAE flag fly up Fujairah skies.

Al Fujairah began it's UAE National Day celebrations with a national parade.

(Photo by Reem Mohammed/The National)

Reporter:  Ruba Haza
Section: NA
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Latest: 'This will change our lives': Emirati mothers rejoice as children granted citizenship

Thousands of children are to be granted Emirati citizenship by the UAE government.

The 3,354 are the sons and daughters of Emirati women married to foreign fathers.

The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship announced the move on Monday night. It said it completed thousands of applications and is processing the paperwork.

State news agency Wam said the process, directed by President Sheikh Khalifa, is to "ensure that all necessary procedures to grant citizenship to eligible persons are completed, ensuring their inclusion in UAE social fabric".

Children born to Emirati mothers and foreign fathers are not automatically entitled to UAE citizenship.

They take the nationality of their father at birth and since 2011 have been entitled to apply for an Emirati passport when they turn 18.

Recent changes to the law say their mothers can now apply to have citizenship bestowed on their children when they turn six.

Parents have long called for the chance to ensure their children become UAE nationals to ensure they can benefit from education and job opportunities set out for Emiratis.

A series of changes have been made in recent years, of which Monday's is the most significant.

In November 2017, the children of Emirati mothers were given the right to compete in national sporting competitions.

At the time, Reem Al Falasi, secretary-general of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood said: "We consider them to be Emirati and we do not discriminate or differentiate between them and children whose both parents are Emirati.

"We also want to encourage children of all nationalities to participate in sports activities."

The identity authority said the 3,354 applications met requirements, and there was no suggestion that citizenship has become automatic.

It said it was following the directives of Sheikh Khalifa, which have been followed up by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, who has overseen improvements to the legal system in recent years.