Companies specializing in fast-tracking the process of obtaining a second nationality have been popping up across the UAE These firms exist around the globe, but Dubai has become a hub for the growing industry.
While the UAE doesn’t recognize dual nationality among its citizens. However, these companies have found a market because of the massive expat population in the emirates.
A second nationality offers plenty of benefits. For one, many passports from the Middle East are notoriously hard to travel on outside of the region, requiring holders to obtain visas far in advance. Getting a passport from the likes of Cyprus allows one to enter the EU or the UK without a visa.
Another plus is that a second nationality allows an individual to shield their wealth abroad in a country with friendlier tax rates.
The trend was largely spurred by the creation of citizenship-by-investment programs, first popularized by Caribbean nations in the 1980s.
These programs offer foreigners an expedited path to citizenship if they make a significant economic contribution, usually in real estate.
There are also residency-by-investment programs too, such as the EB-5 visa in the US.
In Dubai, many local and international firms billing themselves as “citizenship-by-investment consultancies” have set up shop to help clients—usually wealthier Arabs—navigate the process of applying.
Here’s a quick industry breakdown:
THE PLAYERS: 20+ companies in the UAE offer assistance with citizenship or residency by investment programs. Examples include Elevay, Arton Capital, Citizenship Invest and Henley & Partners.
THE NATIONS: Most of the companies facilitate passports to the same handful of countries—Grenada, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica and Cyprus.
THE CHEAPEST INVESTMENT PROGRAMS: Dominica and St. Lucia both offer citizenship for a $100,000 contribution.
THE NOT-SO CHEAP INVESTMENT PROGRAMS: Cyprus offers citizenship for $2.3 million.
THE FASTEST PATH TO CITIZENSHIP: Grenada will grant you citizenship within 60 business days.
THE FASTEST PATH TO PERMANENT RESIDENCY: Cyprus and Greece will grant you residency in two months.
CITIZENSHIP DEALS: For $410,960 the UAE developer Sweet Home Group will facilitate citizenship to Antigua and Barbuda for you and your family, while throwing in a two-bedroom townhouse in Ajman Uptown.