Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Interior has denied reports that the kingdom is once again receiving requests for citizenship from the foreign wives and widows of Saudis after a four-year suspension.
Several local news outlets cited local sources as confirming that the civil affairs department was receiving applications.
They suggested that applicants would need to score at least 17 points for their citizenship to be processed under Article 16 of the nationality system, based on criteria including their birth country, education and length of stay in the kingdom.
However, the interior ministry denied the reports in a statement to the official Saudi Press Agency.
“The Ministry of the Interior for Civil Status denied what has been circulated about the resumption of receiving requests for naturalisation of wives and widows of citizens after a four-year hiatus, and the allocation of Article 16 of the special citizenship system conditions of granting citizenship to a foreign woman married to a Saudi,” it said.
“Citizenship is a regular procedure and is not related to any other article. The granting of nationality is a sovereign matter and receiving applications does not mean obtaining citizenship even if all conditions are met.”
وأكدت وكالة وزارة الداخلية للأحوال المدنية أن استقبال طلبات الحصول على الجنسية العربية السعودية هو إجراء نظامي قائم وليس مرتبطاً بمادة دون أخرى، كما أن منح الجنسية أمر سيادي واستقبال الطلبات لا يعني الحصول على الجنسية حتى لو انطبقت الشروط كافة.#واس
— واس (@spagov) March 13, 2018
To date, the kingdom has denied citizenship to all but the wives and children of Saudi men. The husbands and children of Saudi women cannot become citizens but do enjoy additional labour rights.
Separately the civil affairs department introduced new procedures allowing Saudis staying abroad to renew identification documents if they meet the required conditions.