Abu Dhabi: Naturalised Emirati mothers married to non-UAE citizens will not be able to get citizenship for their children if they were born before they became citizens, according to a clarification by a senior official at the Ministry of Interior.
The decree issued by President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, granting citizenship to children of Emirati women married to foreigners, will apply only to children born after the mother's naturalisation, Major General Nasser Al Awadi Al Menhali, acting Assistant Undersecretary of the Ministry of Interior for Naturalisation and Residency, told Gulf News yesterday.
"Emirati mothers can, for now, pass on their citizenship to their children born after they were granted citizenship," he said.
The rule allows children of naturalised Emirati women to become UAE citizens once they are of legal age.
Many Emirati families confirmed that applications for naturalisation were accepted only from children born to Emirati women, while applications from children born before their mothers were granted citizenship were turned down.
Major General Al Menhali said these cases are not covered by Shaikh Khalifa's decree issued last month to mark the UAE's 40th National Day.
"However, the matter will be submitted to authorities for consideration, and we hope a decision will be taken to unite these families," Major General Al Menhali said.
The number of Emirati women marrying foreigners rose 15 per cent to 737 in 2010 from 643 cases in 2009, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
The means several thousand young men and women born to Emirati women will gain citizenship.
A man who wished not to be named said applications for citizenship were accepted from five of his brothers and sisters, while his application and that of another brother were turned down.
"The reason given by the Naturalisation Department was that we were not covered by Shaikh Khalifa's decree because we were born before our mother gained citizenship," he said.
This decision, the first of its kind in the UAE and the Gulf, has been put into motion after Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, formed a committee to oversee the granting of citizenship to children of Emirati women married to foreigners.