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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 13 November 2018

Egypt set to offer new path to citizenship

Parliament considers bill granting foreigners citizenship for long-term investment

Egyptian MPs, ministers and religious leaders attend the swearing in of President Abdel Fattah El Sisi in parliament on June 2, 2018. The Egyptian Presidency via Reuters
Egyptian MPs, ministers and religious leaders attend the swearing in of President Abdel Fattah El Sisi in parliament on June 2, 2018. The Egyptian Presidency via Reuters

Egypt's parliament is considering a bill to grant citizenship to foreigners who deposit at least EGP 7 million (Dh1.4 million) in the country for five years, according to local media reports.

Members discussed the amendment to the naturalisation law during an open session in the House of representatives on Sunday, but speaker Ali Abdel Aal said a final vote was postponed because of a lack of quorum.

The existing law stipulates at least 10 continuous years of residency for obtaining citizenship, among other requirements.

Not all the MPs were in favour of the amendment, with some saying the move would allow foreigners to “buy” citizenship. However, others compared the proposal to existing practices in other countries.

“The Egyptian nationality is not bought or sold, but all countries in the world provide long-term residence, as long as they do not disrupt the general peace,” said Mr Abdel Aal.

The cabinet approved amendments to the citizenship law for a vote in parliament in 2016, but it was amended further in 2017 before being brought before the house this year.

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Foreigners seeking citizenship must also be able to speak Arabic and have no criminal record.

Naturalised Egyptians are allowed to stand for parliament 10 years after gaining citizenship provided they give up their original nationality.

Recent amendments to Egypt's citizenship law include a decision last year to grant government the authority to withdraw the citizenship of convicted terrorists.