Dubai-Firm Duped Investors With $10,000 “Processing Fee” for Non-Existent UAE Citizenship Program

As reported previously in IMI, while the country’s new citizenship law allows the government to naturalize individuals on a discretionary basis, the United Arab Emirates does not have a citizenship by investment program:

[…] the stipulations (at least as is so far publicly known) are not sufficiently detailed or formulaic; note that the only explicit requirement for the naturalization of investors is that they own property of an unspecified value. Inevitably, what constitutes “a unique scientific field”, an “acknowledged scientific contribution”, or “substantial funding” will have to be determined subjectively. The official statements, furthermore, make it clear that naturalization will take place on a discretionary basis:

“Acquiring the Emirati citizenship will be done through nominations from Rulers and Crown Princes Courts, Executive Councils, and the Cabinet based on federal entities nominations.”

The absence of a formal CIP, however, has apparently not stopped one enterprising Dubai firm from offering application assistance services to credulous investors, replete with document gathering, application-filling, and evaluations of private financial and personal details for “compliance with the citizenship requirements,” according to Khaleej Times.

Indeed, such evaluations of adherence to the requirements are not even theoretically possible because, as outlined previously, precise requirements remain elusive.

The firm in question, which so far remains unnamed, reportedly charged prospective citizenship investors a US$10,000 “processing fee”, listing a net worth of AED 100 million (about US$27m) as a prerequisite.

Dubai authorities have now forced the closure of the transgressing office. The Commercial Compliance and Consumer Protection (CCCP) section of Dubai Economy said it uncovered the fraud following an investigation. Authorities warned it would take “stern action” against any commercial establishment engaged in such unauthorized practices.

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All together now: “The UAE does not have a citizenship by investment program.”

The UAE says it will naturalize investors. Industry leaders are cautiously optimistic about the new law, and ready to assist in making it a program.

The UAE will begin granting citizenship to investors and specialists. As constituted so far, however, the policy does not amount to a CIP.


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