Saudi Women Married to Foreigners Can Sponsor Their Children for Residency, Not Citizenship

On Saturday, Al Arabiya published what has become a widely circulated story under the headline: “Breakthrough: Saudi women can pass on citizenship to their children.” In the story, Al Arabiya cites a report published by al-Riyadh newspaper saying the government will grant citizenship to children of Saudi women married to foreign men based on a new decree.

This is inaccurate.

The decree, as reported in most local media outlets, says Saudi women married to foreign men can sponsor their children to get residency (iqama). There is nothing in the decree suggesting that Saudi women will be allowed to pass on citizenship to their children.

I have searched for the al-Riyadh story that Al Arabiya cited but could not find it. The closest to it is this reaction story published last Monday. In the story, citizens and experts praised the decree and expressed hope that it would be a step in the direction of granting citizenship to the children of Saudi women married to foreigners. Okaz columnist Khaled al-Sulaiman said the same thing in an article published earlier this week. The government, however, did say that they have plans to do that yet.

UPDATE: Al Arabiya has appended their story with a correction, attributing the mistake to “a flow [sic] in translation.” Scroll to the bottom of the story to read it.

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