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Temporary passport not sufficient proof of UAE citizenship


A temporary Emarati passport is not enough for a foreigner to acquire UAE nationality, according to the Dubai Court of Cassation.

The court also confirmed that a person acquires UAE citizenship only after a decree by the Minister of the Interior and approval of the Council of Ministers.

The court also said “UAE courts are not competent to hear cases filed against a foreigner who has no home or permanent place of residence in the country.”

These legal principles were issued when the Court of Cassation considered a case filed by a bank operating in UAE against a Pakistani.

The bank had asked the court to compel the defendant to pay  6.2 million Hong Kong dollars  (Dh2.7 million). The defendant was guarantor of a loan given by the bank to a company.

Both the company and the defendant (the Pakistani guarantor) declined to meet their financial obligations. The bank then filed a lawsuit demanding this amount.

The Court of First Instance ruled that it has no jurisdiction over the lawsuit which forced the bank to appeal the judgment.

The Court of Appeal upheld this verdict following which the bank approached the Court of Cassation.

The Court of Cassation supported the verdicts of both the Court of First Instance and the Court of Appeal and established these legal principles.

The bank based its appeal on the fact that the respondent holds a temporary UAE passport which gave him the right to engage in commerce in the UAE.  He had announced in a newspaper that he is selling a shop licensed in his name.

The Dubai Court of Cassation rejected this argument and upheld the ruling of the Court of First Instance that UAE courts are not competent to hear such cases.

The Court of Cassation based its judgment on Article 20 of the Code of Civil Procedure, which allows UAE courts to consider only cases filed against citizens and foreigners who have a home and place of residence in the country.

The Court of Cassation also based its judgment on Federal Law No. 10 of 1975 which empowers the Minister of the Interior to grant temporary passports to some people.

But the Court of Appeal also noted that the temporary passport is not sufficient proof of UAE citizenship.

Citizenship of the UAE can be granted only on the basis of Article 27 of the act. A decree by the Minister of the Interior and approval of the Council of Ministers are needed, the court ruled.

The court said the Ministry of the Interior had said the passport of the defendant was a temporary one which had expired long ago. Also, the defendant had left the UAE and had not returned. So it was clear that he was a Pakistani national and had no permanent place of residence in the UAE, the court noted.