For $250,000 you, too, can be an Egyptian

A Palestinian woman holds her Egyptian passport. (AFP)
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Updated 16 December 2019

For $250,000 you, too, can be an Egyptian

  • The decision to offer citizenship ignited a spate of rumors, with claims that it applied to Israelis, Iranians and Turks, three countries that have tense relations with Egypt

CAIRO: Egypt is offering citizenship to foreigners willing to buy real estate worth at least $500,000 or pay $250,000 to the state treasury under amendments to the country’s nationality laws.

The move is part of Egypt’s bid to boost its finances and draw back foreign investment that fled the country in the wake of its 2011 uprising. 

In its latest initiative, the Council of Ministers stipulated four conditions under which foreigners will be granted Egyptian citizenship.

First, an individual can buy Egyptian real estate, government-owned or otherwise and worth at least $500,000, with the money wired from abroad according to Central Bank rules.

Second, if the person establishes or takes part in an investment project worth at least $400,000, with the money also wired from abroad. The foreigner’s share in the project cannot be less than 40 percent and must comply with Egyptian investment law.

Third, if a foreigner deposits $750,000 from abroad. The deposit may be returned after five years in Egyptian pounds according to the exchange rate at the time. The deposit may be exchanged after three years if the individual deposits $1 million or more. In both cases, no interest will be applied.

The fourth condition is if the foreigner transfers a nonrefundable $250,000 to the state treasury from abroad. Parliament must confirm any citizenships that are conferred.

The council’s decision ignited a spate of rumors, with claims that it applied to Israelis, Iranians and Turks, three countries that have tense relations with Egypt.

However, a member of the Defense and National Security Committee, Maj. Gen. Yehya Al-Kedwani, said that national security requirements will be taken into consideration before nationality is granted to anyone.

“The law gives the prime minister authority to establish a committee that will focus on all aspects of the process, including that of the national security authorities, to decide on applications for citizenship within three months if several conditions are met, the first of which is the deposit of $10,000 (the application fee),” Al-Kedwani said.

Foreigners can apply for a six-month residency permit until all the requirements are met.

“Egyptian citizens, rest assured,” Al-Kedwani said. “This is a common occurrence in many countries and it will be a chance to have investments in the country.”

However, Amgad Riad, an economic expert, told Arab News the citizenship offer is unlikely to attract any kind of investment.

“It appears to be a catalyst for investment, but the current law has many incentives for investors, including the right to residency and recruitment,” he said.

Riad said the goal behind the newly issued decision is unclear.


Haftar agrees to lift Libya oil blockade with conditions

Updated 19 min 30 sec ago

Haftar agrees to lift Libya oil blockade with conditions

  • Pro-Haftar groups supported by the Petroleum Facilities Guard blockaded key oilfields and export terminals on January 17

BENGHAZI: Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar announced Friday a conditional lifting of a months-long blockade on oilfields and ports by his forces.
“We have decided to resume oil production and export on condition of a fair distribution of revenues” and guarantee they “will not be used to support terrorism,” he said on television.
Pro-Haftar groups supported by the Petroleum Facilities Guard blockaded key oilfields and export terminals on January 17 to demand what they called a fair share of hydrocarbon revenues.
The blockade, which has resulted in more than $9.8 billion in lost revenue, according to National Petroleum Company (NOC), has exacerbated electricity and fuel shortages in the country.
Dressed in his military uniform, Haftar said the command of his forces had “put aside all military and political considerations” to respond to the “deterioration of living conditions” in Libya, which has Africa’s largest oil reserves.
The announcement comes after hundreds of Libyans protested last week in the eastern city of Benghazi, one of Haftar’s strongholds, and other cities over corruption, power cuts and shortages in petrol and cash.
Protesting peacefully at first, protesters on Sunday set fire to the headquarters of the parallel eastern government in Benghazi and attacked the police station in Al-Marj.
Police officers fired live ammunition to disperse them in Al-Marj, leaving at least one dead and several wounded, according to witnesses and the UN mission in Libya.
Libya has been in chaos since a NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi in 2011.
The country’s oil revenues are managed by the NOC and the central bank, both based in Tripoli, which is also the seat of Libya’s internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA).
Haftar runs a rival administration based in the country’s east.
Haftar— who has the backing of Egypt, the UAE and Russia — launched an offensive against Tripoli in April last year.
After 14 months of fierce fighting, pro-GNA forces backed by Turkey expelled his troops from much of western Libya and pushed them to Sirte, the gateway to Libya’s rich oil fields and export terminals.