New amendments have been issued to the law that allows foreigners to obtain Egyptian citizenship in Egypt. These amendments relate to providing dollar deposits or engaging in real estate or commercial investments. Experts interpret these amendments as aiming to attract hard currency, in light of the economic crisis faced by the country, which has caused a shortage of dollar liquidity.
Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly issued a decision on Wednesday that includes amending some of the conditions and procedures related to granting Egyptian citizenship to foreign investors, in exchange for buying facilities, investing in companies, or depositing financial amounts in dollars.
“The ministerial decree specified several cases in which foreign investors can be granted Egyptian citizenship, including owning a government property or a public company property worth no less than 300,000 dollars establishing or participating in a project worth no less than 350,000 dollars and depositing 100,000 dollars in the state treasury as direct non-refundable revenue.”
“The third condition is to deposit an amount of500,000 dollars as a guarantee that can be refunded after 3 years in Egyptian pounds at the exchange rate determined at the time of refund, without any interest. Finally, the fourth condition requires the deposit of 250,000 dollars as direct revenues in foreign currency, which will be transferred to the state treasury without the possibility of refund.”
As part of the new amendments, the Egyptian cabinet has decided to “facilitate payment of the amount in installments for a maximum period of one year, with the condition that citizenship will not be granted until all scheduled installments are fully paid.”
The economic expert and Egyptian stock market analyst Ahmed Moeit described the new amendments that facilitate the conditions for granting Egyptian citizenship as “successful.” He told the newspaper “Al-Sharq Al-Awsat” that they are “amendments aimed at thinking outside the box and finding ways to attract hard currency, especially in the disruptions to the Egyptian economy and the increase in the exchange rate of the US dollar against the Egyptian pound,” where the price of the US dollar is 30.7 pounds.
He also explained that these amendments could achieve an increase in dollar revenues or movement in the real estate market, but he believes it is difficult to rely on them to solve the hard currency crisis. The focus should be on supporting the production, industry, and investment sectors as a basis for a solution. He also pointed out that the number of applicants for obtaining Egyptian citizenship could be an obstacle to achieving any positive economic impact of these amendments.
In 2019, Egypt issued a law allowing foreigners to obtain Egyptian citizenship in exchange for purchasing property, investing, depositing a refundable amount, or an irretrievable deposit. The irretrievable deposit of250,000 dollars was the minimum amount that could be paid in exchange for obtaining Egyptian citizenship and it remains the same in the new amendments, with the option to pay it in installments for a year. Additionally, the amount for purchasing property has been reduced to 300,000 dollars instead of 500,000 dollars.
As for investment, the requirement for the applicant to have a 40% stake in the project has been removed, and instead, a payment of 350,000 dollars is required, down from 400,000 dollars in the old law. The direct deposit requirement is now 500,000 dollars instead of 1 million dollars.