On Monday, the UAE's Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship announced that 3,354 children born to Emirati mothers and non-Emirati fathers will receive the country's citizenship, The National reported.
The step forward for Emirati women follows a directive issued by the UAE's President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. It comes a while after laws were changed, allowing Emirati mothers to apply for citizenship on behalf of their children if they've lived in the UAE for at least six years.
Since 2011, children born to mixed-nationality couples have also been allowed to apply for an Emirati passport when they turn 18. Over the years, hundreds have been granted citizenship after applying for it.
However, children born to Emirati mothers are still not automatically entitled to the country's citizenship and only take the nationality of their fathers at birth.
The latest decision is a positive sign for Emirati mothers who've waited decades to pass on their citizenship to their children. Those who benefited from the recent move said their lives are forever changed as a result of it.
Speaking to The National, Abeer Salem Al Matrooshi, a 46-year-old Emirati dentist and mother who met her husband while studying medicine in Egypt, said she'd applied for it four years ago. Before being granted the UAE citizenship, her three children, aged between 12 and 22, only held their father's Egyptian nationality despite the fact that they were born and raised in the emirates.
"You have no idea what this means to the thousands of mothers like me. This will change our lives. It means security and stability for us," she said.
We are finally not worried about the future of our children or living in the fear that they might one day have to go back to a country they have never known or visited."
Women across the Arab world still cannot pass on their nationalities to their children
Under outdated nationality laws implemented in countries across the region, Arab women still can't pass their nationalities on to their children.
These countries include Lebanon as the country's 1925 nationality law denies citizenship to children and spouses of Lebanese women married to foreign men. The same is the case for Jordanian, Syrian, Kuwaiti and Saudi women, to name a few.