This is my poor attempt to translate what is called "UAE Citizenship And Passport Law (1972/17)" with the help of Google translator. I couldn't find any English translation of the law online. I translated the meanings of the articles (or what I understood as the meaning) so it might not be accurate 100%. I didn't post all the articles and some of them are not complete. The complete Arabic version of the law is here. There are no emendation or modification of the law that am aware of.
There are three ways or types of citizenship, they are either a) by law in cases mentioned in Article 1, b) extension by marriage, c) naturalization in cases mentioned in the remaining articles. It is interesting how in most of the cases that are eligible to acquire the citizenship the article say "may be granted" so there is no such thing as right and its solely up to the related authorities and the fact that they are not entitled to be part of elections, nominations or ministerial positions, which is good in a way from my point of view. Am not sure if they apply that or they simply forgot it now. From what I see, the cases in Articles 1, 2, 3 and 4 are applied indiscriminately. Cases in Articles 5,6,7,8 are applied randomly and rarely. It is pathetic the fact that Article 9 is currently used to naturalize worthless singers and soccer players who added nothing to the country.
I think the law needs to be modernized urgently to tackle the current situation at least. I don't see the point of having an outdated law that isn't even applied in most of the cases. It has a good substance though and should be used as a benchmark for any new citizenship law. Things I'd rather see staying is banning naturalized citizens from nominations and elections for a certain period, like 20 years for example. I don't mind the favorable status for the citizens of Oman, Qatar and Bahrain even though I don't see that coming and I encourage prioritizing Arabs in general. The law should give women the ability to inherit their citizenship to their children with the exception of Emirati women who got the citizenship by extension. Finally, Article 9 is vague so it should state clearly what yeoman services are.
Acquiring citizenship by law, extension or by naturalization in accordance with the provisions of the following articles:
Article 2Is a citizen by virtue of the law:
A- An Arab who maintained his residence in one of the Emirates since 1925 or before.
B- The born in the country or abroad of an Emirati by virtue father.
C- The born in the country or abroad of an Emirati by virtue mother who is not attributed legally to a father.
D- The born in the country of unknown parents
The marriage of a foreign woman to an Emirati doesn't entitle her to the citizenship unless announced otherwise by the ministry of interior and was married for three years from declaring the wish to get the citizenship and required to give up her original citizenship.
The wife who acquired the citizenship by extension may keep the UAE citizenship if her husband died except the following cases:
A- Married a foreign national.
B- Returning back to her original citizenship or acquiring a new citizenship.
May be granted the citizenship of the following categories:
A- Arab of Oman, Qatar or Bahrain if stayed continuously and legally for no less than three years and have a legitimate way of living, have a good character and not convicted of a crime involving honesty and morality.
B- Members of Arab tribes who migrated from neighboring countries to the country and lived in the county legally and continuously for at least three years.
May be granted the citizenship any Arab if they resided continuously and legally in the United Arab Emirates for no less than seven years and have a legitimate way of living, have a good character and not convicted of a crime involving honesty and morality.
May be granted the citizenship any person if they resided continuously and legally in the United Arab Emirates since 1940 or earlier and maintained his residency there and have a legitimate way of living, have a good character, not convicted of a crime involving honesty and morality and good in Arabic.
May be granted the citizenship any person other than those mentioned in Articles 5 and 6 if they resided continuously and legally in the United Arab Emirates for no less than thirty years, twenty of them after issuing this law and have a legitimate way of living, have a good character, not convicted of a crime involving honesty and morality and good in Arabic.
May be granted the citizenship anyone who has done yeoman services for the country without adhering to the number of years stated in the previous articles.
Not be those who gain the citizenship by naturalization in accordance with Articles 5,6,7,8,9 and 10 the right of nomination, election or appointment in any representative bodies or ministerial positions and excluded from the provisions of this article citizens of Oman, Qatar or Bahrain after seven years of acquiring the citizenship.