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Indians rush to get Saudi citizenship

Monday 2 May 2005

Press Trust of India

Woman Dubai, May 2: Saudi government’s plan to give citizenship to foreign residents has received huge response among the people of Indian and Pakistani origin, a civil affairs department official in Riyadh said.

More than 10,000 applicants of different nationalities rushed to get the form. "The crowd was enormous. But, 80 percent of the applicants were ineligible for citizenship," the official was quoted as saying by the Arab News. "However, the forms were given to all to avoid overcrowding."

The civil affairs departments in Jeddah and Mecca also reported a similar rush on Saturday, the first day application forms were made available.

In Jeddah, the department had run out of forms by 9 am, creating a black market in the application forms.

The Saudi Interior Ministry has prepared an application form that includes information about residency, educational and professional status and details of Saudi relatives.

A three-member committee will verify whether the applicant has legally entered the kingdom and owns a valid passport and Iqama.

For qualifying, a candidate must accumulate at least 23 points out of a possible 33. Ten points are given for living in the Kingdom for at least 10 years continuously. Thirteen points for graduate or postgraduate degrees in specialised fields that the kingdom is in need of. However, only one degree is counted, the report said.

Saudi Arabia does not allow dual citizenship and only those who are ready to renounce their original nationality will qualify, it added.

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