Kuwait or Saudi Arabia? Which would you pick?
Roughly 430,000 people are dual citizens of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. (AFP/File)
More than 430,000 people carrying the dual nationalities of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia will be summoned and asked to choose only one citizenship, a Kuwaiti daily said.
“Security cooperation between Riyadh and Kuwait City has enabled security authorities in both capitals to draw up a list of 432,000 people carrying the nationalities of both countries at the same time,” a report in Kuwaiti daily Al Shahed said, quoting sources that were not identified. “Since the Kuwaiti law bans the dual citizenship, they will be summoned and asked to give up one nationality and keep only one,” the sources said in the report carried on Sunday.
Those carrying the double nationality would be called either by the Kuwaiti or Saudi authorities and asked to regularise their status, the sources added.
“It is basically a security issue for these countries and they want to address it.”
Reports in Kuwait last week said that 90,000 people were discovered to have the Saudi-Kuwaiti dual nationalities and that the authorities were working on addressing the issue as the law does not allow dual citizenship.
The dual citizenship in Kuwait has recently gained in intensity with the persistence of the issue of bidoon (stateless) residents of Kuwait who have been unable to become citizens due to the strict 1959 nationality law.
The term “bidoon” is also used to refer to foreigners who migrated to Kuwait mainly during the oil boom of the 1960s and 1970s, without passports or whose passports had expired. It can also refer to those who concealed their nationality in order to remain in Kuwait.
Most statistics place their number at 110,000 and their status has often been at the centre of disagreements in the Kuwaiti establishment and among Kuwaitis, with many calling for granting them more rights, including citizenship, while others see them as “illegal residents” who must not be given official documents.
State officials say the Bidoons cannot be given the Kuwaiti citizenship on the grounds that they were citizens of other countries or that the ancestors of many of them came from neighbouring countries and were not entitled to the nationality.
In April 2012, a scheme that enables bidoons to be granted five-year residence permits was announced by authorities.
Under the scheme, those who wish to benefit from the new options will have to regularise their status by producing the passport of their country of origin.
The new status allows those above 21 years of age to sponsor themselves for the next five years.
Those who are below 21 can be granted a five-year residence visa as family members.
Beneficiaries of the scheme do not pay fees for the duration of their permits and are handed special cards that guarantee them free health and education services.
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