JEDDAH: ARAB NEWS
Published — Sunday 8 September 2013
Authorities are weighing the prospects of canceling a key condition stipulating that the grandfather of a Saudi mother should be Saudi for granting citizenship to her children, a high-level source has said.
Mohammed Al-Jasser, a spokesman from the Civil Affairs Department, would neither deny nor confirm the report. “We have also heard the same report. At the same, we have not heard about any changes in citizenship conditions,” he said.
The reversal of this condition will come as a relief to a number of Saudi families. It will give applicants additional points to qualify for citizenship. Saudi women have opposed the condition, saying it is unfair and prevents their children from acquiring citizenship.
According to new conditions passed two years ago, applicants must obtain a minimum of seven points to be considered for citizenship. The child of a Saudi woman who is married to a foreigner will get one point upon reaching puberty. Educational qualifications of not less than secondary level will add another point.
If both the mother’s father and grandfather are Saudi, the applicant will gain six points. If only the father is Saudi, the child gets only two points. If the mother has Saudi brothers and sisters, two more points will be given.
When the applicant obtains a minimum of seven points, the citizenship committee will recommend considering the application for citizenship. If not, the application will be withheld.
Saudis and expatriates have welcomed the move. Nevertheless, “this is a difficult condition and it is unreasonable,” says Abdullah Al-Qurashi. “We hope that Interior Minister Prince Muhammad bin Naif will cancel this condition to provide citizenship to children of Saudi women, as they are the children of this country.”
A 45-year-old man born to a Saudi woman said: “I hope our beloved king, Abu Muteb, will look into our case sympathetically.”