CAIRO (Reuters) – Egypt is offering citizenship to foreigners who deposit at least 7 million Egyptian pounds ($ 392,000) and hand them over to the Treasury Department after five years, according to an amendment passed by parliament on Monday.
Egypt has sought to boost its finances and withdraw foreign investment that fled the country after the 2011 uprising, particularly through a series of tough reforms that included a $ 12 billion IMF loan program launched in late 2016.
Under the new law, foreigners who make a deposit of 7 million Egyptian pounds or the equivalent in foreign currency will have the option of acquiring citizenship if they make the deposit after five years.
It was not immediately clear what economic benefit a foreigner would get by acquiring citizenship, as Egypt has little restrictions on foreign investment projects, despite prohibiting foreign ownership of agricultural land in the Sinai Peninsula, where it is exposed to an Islamist uprising is.
“The Minister of the Interior can grant Egyptian citizenship to all foreigners who have resided in Egypt for at least five years in a row before applying for naturalization,” the amendment said.
“After acceptance of the naturalization application, the value of the deposit will be transferred to the state treasury,” it said.
The chairman of Parliament’s Defense and National Security Committee, General Kamal Amer, said the new law complements recent amendments to an investment law that incentivizes foreigners to invest in the country.
He said foreigners who acquire citizenship would only enjoy political rights after five years of citizenship and would take 10 years to be eligible for election or appointment to a representation.
Spouses and children can only get citizenship if they reside in Egypt, he added.
Writing by Eric Knecht; Arrangement by Sami Aboudi and Alison Williams