The media was abuzz with news that King Salman bin Abdulaziz had granted Saudi citizenship to a number of distinguished talents and experiences, which sparked the curiosity of many about Saudi citizenship and the conditions for obtaining it.
Amendments have been made to the Saudi citizenship system since it was issued by Cabinet Resolution No. 4 dated 25/1/1374 AH.
Article No. 7 states, “A Saudi person is born inside or outside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to a Saudi father, or to a Saudi mother, and a father of unknown or stateless nationality.”
Article No. 8 states, “A person born in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to foreign parents or from a foreign father and a Saudi mother is considered a foreigner, and a person born abroad to a foreign father of known nationality and a Saudi mother is considered a foreigner. It fulfilled the following conditions:
- To have the status of permanent residence in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia upon reaching the age of majority.
- He must be of good conduct and has never been convicted of a criminal offense or imprisonment for a moral offense for a period exceeding six months.
- To be familiar with the Arabic language.
- To submit, within a year after reaching the age of majority, a request to grant him Saudi Arabian citizenship. As for the insane and the imbecile, each of them follows his father in his care if the father is alive, and in the event of his death, the legal resident has to choose for him Saudi Arabian nationality after completing the previous conditions.
And Article No. 9 states, “It is permissible to grant Saudi Arabian citizenship to a foreigner who meets the following conditions:
- When the application is submitted, he must have reached the age of majority.
- To be non-moronous or crazy.
- At the time of submitting the application, he must have acquired the status of ordinary permanent residence in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in accordance with the provisions of its own system for a period of no less than five consecutive years. And to be of good conduct. He must not have been sentenced to imprisonment for a moral offense for a period exceeding six months. And to prove his livelihood in legitimate ways.
The naturalization applicant shall be accompanied by his application for a permanent residence permit and his legal passport or any document considered by the competent authorities as a list in place of the legal passport, and every document related to the nationality from which he is stripped, and every paper supporting what is required to be proven under the provisions of this system.
Article No. 12 states, “A Saudi’s naturalization of a foreign nationality, when he is authorized to do so, entails that his wife loses the Saudi nationality if she enters into the nationality of her husband in accordance with the law relating to this new nationality, unless she decides within a year from the date of her husband’s entry into this nationality that she desires retaining her Saudi Arabian nationality.
As for minor children, they lose Saudi Arabian nationality if, by virtue of changing their father’s nationality, they enter his nationality in accordance with the law relating to this new nationality, provided that they have the right to recover Saudi Arabian nationality during the year following their reaching the age of majority.
As for Article No. 14, it says that “a foreigner’s acquisition of Saudi nationality entails that his wife becomes a Saudi Arabian unless she decides, within one year of her husband’s entry into Saudi nationality, that she wishes to retain her original nationality.”
As for children who have not reached the age of majority, if they reside in Saudi Arabia, they are considered Saudis, provided that they have the right to choose their father’s original nationality within a year from the date of their reaching the age of majority.
If their residence is outside the Kingdom, they are considered foreigners and have the right to choose their father’s Saudi nationality within a year from the date of their reaching the age of majority.
According to Article 16, a foreign woman by marriage acquires the nationality of her Saudi husband.
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