Saturday, 28 March 2015

Residents can apply for Saudi Citizenship in 2 to 3 Months

According to reports published in Arab News, the interior ministry is expected to announce the executive laws for citizenship in 3 months. According to officials, around one million people out of the six million expats working in Saudi Arabia will benefit from this new law which had been passed in 2004. The law is not targeted towards expats from a certain country and expats of all nationalities will be able to benefit from this. One of the conditions of receiving citizenship is that you must remain in the Kingdom for 10 years continuously, while going abroad only on re-entry visa is permitted. However prior to the law being passed, a possible candidate for citizenship had to stay only for 5 years continuously. This amendment has taken place so that people can get thoroughly familiarized with the country. 

Job requirements mentioned in the law state that, degrees in medicine, science and technology and computer sciences will be given priority over others. Although the law claims that all nationalities can apply, Palestinians working in the Kingdom may not apply as they have been barred by the Arab league. This has been done so that their personal recognition of their homeland is not lost, and so that they may one day return to their own country.

The citizenship is however not permanent and a number of clauses have been given, in which case the Saudi government can revoke your citizenship. This involves working In the interest of another country, plotting treachery against the country or enlisting in any foreign army. Citizenship will also be revoked if the citizenship of any other country has been acquired, without the knowledge and consent of Saudi authorities

Women, in the case of marriage, have been given a choice. This includes accepting the citizenship of her husband’s country or keeping her own. Now as a hopeful candidate for the citizenship one might expect me to still be ecstatic. The truth is that although the Saudi Arabian authorities have placed a great deal of thought and effort into this and this had been a very generous change in their stance on strict citizenship standards, this amendment in the law has made it somewhat difficult for the average candidate to apply for the citizenship.

As an expatriate who has worked hard in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, I have always longed to be recognized as a citizen of the country. I was intrigued when I discovered that the Saudi government was making changes that would allow us expatriates to apply for citizenship. The news I am talking about came out in February of 2005 that expats could get citizenship in two to three months. I was ecstatic; finally I could call this place home, where I had laid the groundwork for me and my children to live successful, happy lives. I would not have to worry about my work visa anymore. I had even taken my documents out, when I thought about reading the fine print. Even though it sounds so simple; it is not so simple indeed. However, ten years have gone and no action has been taken by the Ministry of Interior after that.

Source: Arab News

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