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

A Palestinian woman holds her Egyptian passport. (AFP)
Short Url
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.


Libya’s Tripoli government seizes last LNA stronghold near capital

Updated 05 June 2020

Libya’s Tripoli government seizes last LNA stronghold near capital

  • Military sources in Haftar’s Libyan National Army said their forces had withdrawn from the town of Tarhouna
  • The advance extends the control of the Government of National Accord

TRIPOLI: Forces loyal to Libya’s internationally recognized government captured the last major stronghold of eastern commander Khalifa Haftar near Tripoli on Friday, capping the sudden collapse of his 14-month offensive on the capital.
Military sources in Haftar’s Libyan National Army, LNA, said their forces had withdrawn from the town of Tarhouna. They headed toward Sirte, far along the coast, and the air base of Al-Jufra in central Libya. The LNA made no immediate official comment.
The advance extends the control of the Government of National Accord, GNA, and allied forces across most of northwest Libya, reversing many of Haftar’s gains from last year when he raced toward Tripoli.
The United Nations has started holding talks with both sides for a cease-fire deal in recent days, though previous truces have not stuck. The GNA gains could entrench the de facto partition of Libya into zones controlled by rival eastern and western governments whose foreign backers compete for regional sway.
Turkish military support for the GNA, with drone strikes, air defenses and a supply of allied Syrian fighters, was key to its recent successes. Ankara regards Libya as crucial to defending its interests in the eastern Mediterranean.
However, the LNA still retains its foreign support. Washington said last week Moscow had sent warplanes to LNA-held Jufra, though Russia and the LNA denied this.
The United Nations says weapons and fighters have flooded into the country in defiance of an arms embargo, risking a deadlier escalation. Meanwhile, a blockade of oil ports by eastern-based forces has almost entirely cut off energy revenue and both administrations face a looming financial crisis.
Stronghold

Located in the hills southeast of Tripoli, Tarhouna had functioned as a forward base for Haftar’s assault on the capital. Its swift fall suggests Haftar’s foreign supporters were less willing to sustain his bid to take over the entire country once Turkey intervened decisively to stop him.
The GNA operations room said in a statement that its forces had captured Tarhouna after entering from four sides. Abdelsalam Ahmed, a resident, said GNA forces had entered the town.
Videos and photographs posted online appeared to show GNA forces inside Tarhouna cheering and hugging each other and firing into the air.
“The Libyan government forces are rapidly moving in an organized manner and with armed drones. There could be a solution at the table, but Haftar’s forces are losing ground in every sense,” said a Turkish official.