Nov 11, 2008

Foreign passport 'no bar to citizenship'

Abu Dhabi: Producing a passport of another country or seeking to obtain one does not affect the right of people without proper documents to seek naturalisation in the UAE, a senior official said on Monday. Lieutenant Colonel Sultan Al Khadar, the director of the legal department at the Interior Ministry, said the doors of the ministry are open before the people, who show good intention in applying for citizenship. Al Khadar was referring to an applicant, who produced a passport and asked that the information he submitted be corrected claiming his passport was torn.

To obtain UAE citizenship, those without citizenship of any other country must have been staying in the UAE before December 2, 1971 and should not have left the country for good any time. They must produce true information and original documents to prove their identities and other credentials required as per the naturalisation regulations and possess the police verification certificate.

Lieutenant General Shaikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Interior, has ordered the setting up a committee to resolve the issue of people without documents to prove their identity once and for all.

Shaikh Saif has ordered that this issue be treated with accuracy, diligence and efficiency to uphold the rights of those entitled to citizenship.

A higher committee, made up of representatives of the Interior Ministry and the Ministry of Presidential Affairs, concluded a two-month mission on Thursday to resolve the issue. All people who carry no proper documents including those who obtained decrees of UAE passports but without family books, known as Khulasat Qaid, were allowed to register with the committee, which will resolve the issue.

Those who failed to register would be considered to be residing in the country in violation of the residency laws. Interior ministry officials warned that the ministry would launch an "intense campaign" to find out those who failed to register within the stipulated period.

The ministry did not specify what penalties they would face, nor did it release details of how it planned to deal with people without documents to prove their identity. The formation of the committee came two years after President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan ordered the status of people without documents to prove their identity to be resolved.

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