20 Aug 2019
EGYPT: Law Change Enables Citizenship for Investors
Foreigners who invest at least seven million Egyptian pounds (US$422,000) in the country now have a route to Egyptian citizenship.
The change follows approval of the amendments to Article 2 of Law No. 26 of 1975 Concerning Egyptian Nationality (the Nationality Law) by Egypt's House of Representatives on 11 July.
The amendments, first proposed in August 2018 by President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, give the Egyptian Prime Minister the right to grant citizenship to foreigners who buy state-owned or private property; establish an investment project; or deposit cash into an Egyptian bank. Candidates will also have to pay a US$10,000 application fee.
Previously, foreigners were required to have been resident in Egypt for at least five years under the provisions of Article 9 of the Nationality Law, but that condition will now be lifted. To process applications, the Cabinet will form a special unit tasked with considering applications, comprising representatives drawn from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of the Interior, and Ministry of Investments and International Cooperation. Applications can be submitted online, with approval granted within three months.
According to Kamal Amer, Head of the Parliamentary Committee of National Defence and Security, the amendments are intended to encourage investment in Egypt, with the move receiving support from The Egyptian Business Association. However, some members of the Egyptian parliament have opposed the changes, mainly on the ethical grounds of selling citizenship, and there is some scepticism that the incentive for Egyptian citizenship will really encourage significant foreign investment in the country.