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How is Egyptian citizenship determined?

Citizenship or nationality is the political relationship between the individual and the state. There are a number of reasons why a person is or is not considered an Egyptian citizen, and these will be the scope of this article. The terms ‘citizenship’ and ‘nationality’’ will be used interchangeably for search purposes, because Egypt is a nation-state so no distinction is needed.

Even though Egyptian citizenship is given for a number of reasons, they fall quite neatly into two categories:

  • Citizenship by birth.
  • Citizenship after birth.

We’ll discuss some four scenarios of how Egyptian nationality is acquired in detail. All of them fall into one of the two categories described above:

  1. Becoming a citizen of Egypt because of the mother’s nationality;
  2. Becoming a citizen of Egypt due to residing in Egypt for 10 years;
  3. Becoming a citizen of Egypt because of the husband’s nationality;
  4. Becoming a citizen of Egypt because of the father’s nationality.

All of the scenarios above are based on the Act No. 26 promulgated in 1975.

The first scenario — becoming a citizen due to the mother being Egyptian:

According to the article 1.3 of the aforementioned act number 26, everybody has the right to acquire the Egyptian nationality from “Those who have acquired the UAR nationality pursuant to the provisions of Law no. 82 for 1958 concerning UAR nationality:

By birth, from a father or a mother who is considered Egyptian as per item 2 of the present article or by birth in the Egyptian region of the United Arab Republic, or if the UAR nationality has been granted to him on the basis of birth, or residence in the Egyptian region, or on the basis of Egyptian origin, or nor having rendered honorable services to the government of the Egyptian region, or because he is head of an Egyptian religious sect working in the Egyptian regions.” And the item number two in this article said that ” Are considered Egyptians: SECOND: Those who on the 22nd of February 1958 were enjoying the Egyptian nationality according to the provisions of law no. 391 for 1956 concerning Egyptian nationality

Furthermore, according to the act number 26 in 1975 article number two point two and three: “Shall be considered Egyptians:

2. Those who were born in Egypt of an Egyptian mother, and a father whose nationality is unknown or who is stateless.

3. Those who were born in Egypt, of an Egyptian mother but their kinship to the father has not been proved legally.”

Likewise, according to the act number 26 in 1975 article number three: “Shall be considered as Egyptian whoever is born abroad, of an Egyptian mother, and of an unknown father, or a stateless father, or a rather whose nationality is unknown, if he chooses the Egyptian nationality, within one year from the date he comes of age, provided he shall advise the Minister of Interior of his choses, after making his ordinary residence in Egypt, and the minister of Interior does not object thereto within one year from the date of the advice is received by the Minister. ”

The entire article suggests that the Egyptian legislator stipulates that Egyptian nationality can be awarded due to the mother being Egyptian in two cases:

When someone is born in Egypt to an Egyptian mother, but the father is:

  • Not known at all;
  • Of unsure nationality;
  • Without a nationality.

It can be seen that the legislator created a legal obstacle by giving citizenship only to people who are born in Egypt, so the legislator dealt with it simply be adding another clause. So in the article three he stated: ” Shall be considered as Egyptian whoever is born abroad, of an Egyptian mother… ”

The second scenario — becoming a citizen due to residing in Egypt for 10 years:

There’s a scenario that allows becoming a citizen of Egypt after staying in the country for 10 years. Some conditions have to be met. Providing or refusing the nationality is at the discretion of the state.

The nationality can be granted by decree of the Interior Minister to foreigners who have made Egypt their primary residence for ten years prior to submitting the application for becoming an Egyptian citizen. He must be of age and has to comply with the following:

1. He should be mentally sane and suffering from no disability rendering him a burden on society.

2. He should have a good record of conduct and reputation. No criminal penalty or penalty restricting his freedom should have been passed against him in a crime against honor, unless he has been rehabilitated.

3. He should be acquainted with the Arabic language.

4. He should have a legal means of earning his living.

There’s a little caveat in this case: “Acquiring the Egyptian nationality by a foreigner does not result in his wife acquiring it, unless she notifies her wish to obtain it, to the Minister of Interior, and provided the marriage is not terminated before the lapse of two years from the date she announces her wish, except in case of the husband’s death, The Minister of Interior, may issue a justified decree depriving the wife from acquiring the Egyptian nationality, before the lapse of the two years stipulated herein.

His minor sons, however, shall acquire the Egyptian nationality, unless their normal residence is abroad and the original nationality of their father is maintained for them according to the law governing it. If they acquire the Egyptian nationality, they may, during the year following the date they attain full age, decide to choose their original nationality, in which case they forfeit the Egyptian nationality once they have regained the nationality of their father according the law governing it.”

The third scenario: 1. Becoming a citizen of Egypt because of the husband’s nationality

The Egyptian law sees the relationship between the husband and the wife as having so much power that it can make the wife want to accept her husband’s nationality. The government, however, wants to see proof that the relationship is strong enough to serve a limit for bestowing an Egyptian nationality on the wife.

The act number 26 in the 1975 article number 7،8 stipulates: “A foreign woman who gets married to an Egyptian does not acquire his nationality through marriage unless she notifies her wish to acquire his nationality to the minister of Interior, and the marriage has not been terminated before the lapse of two years from the date she announces her wish, by another reason than his decease. The minister of Interior may issue a justified decree depriving the wife from acquiring the Egyptian nationality, before the lapse of the two years. ” As well as: “If a foreign woman acquires the Egyptian nationality, she will not forfeit it with the termination of marriage, unless she has restored her foreign nationality, or get married to a foreigner and acquired his nationality by virtue of the law governing that nationality.”

So the wife has to:

  • Be married to an Egyptian husband.
  • Have spent two years with her husband before applying
  • Apply for the nationality at the government, which is represented by the Ministry of the Interior.
  • The marriage has to continue all the time until the Egyptian nationality is acquired.

The fourth scenario: 4. Becoming a citizen of Egypt because of the father’s nationality.

According to the act number 26 in the 1975 article number one point third, the Egyptian nationality can be passed from: “Those who have acquired the UAR nationality pursuant to the provisions of Law no. 82 for 1958 concerning UAR nationality:

By birth, from a father or a mother who is considered Egyptian as per item 2 of the present article or by birth in the Egyptian region of the United Arab Republic, or if the UAR nationality has been granted to him on the basis of birth, or residence in the Egyptian region, or on the basis of Egyptian origin, or nor having rendered honorable services to the government of the Egyptian region, or because he is head of an Egyptian religious sect working in the Egyptian regions.” And the item number two in this article said that ” Are considered Egyptians: SECOND: Those who on the 22nd of February 1958 were enjoying the Egyptian nationality according to the provisions of law no. 391 for 1956 concerning Egyptian nationality”.

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Moreover, you can be sure that all of your calls and emails will be promptly answered by our specialists.

  1. We are legal licensed company (includes to the document’s kit)
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Mr. Ayman Sultan Muhammad Khalifa
Criminal & Commercial Lawyer. PhD Candidate (Arabic, English)
Full-specialized professional lawyer in International Law. Excellent expirience in criminal and commercial cases, financial frauds. Attorneys with a win-win expirience in Family and Personal Law.
Mr. Emad Abd Elaziz Elborginy
Labor & Business Lawyer (Arabic, English)
Good oriented in any labor cases and business starting companies. Contract legal support for new organizations and middle business.
Ms. Nabila Beneddine (Algeria Office, Algeria)
International Lawyer of Family Law, Real Estate Law & Tourism Law (Arabic, French)
Full-specialized partner in MIddle East cases. Most expirience and high degree of wins in family law and real estate case development. Good experience in Tourism Intrenational Law. Providing of any cases in Algeria and Middle East for french Customers and Partners.
Mr. Hamed Ashref Moustafa (Syria Office, Aleppo)
Family Lawyer, Consultant in international marriage (Arabic, English)
High-specialized lawyer in family and civil law according to international marriages in Islam. Arabic marriage and international marriage in Egypt.
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