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A New Resolution on Granting Iranian Citizenship to Foreigners

Date: 30 May 2023


On its meeting of 03 April 2022, the Board of Ministers adopted a resolution indicating that the Ministry of Interior shall grant residence permits to foreign investors for a period of 5 years upon approval of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Finance provided they make a long-term deposit or investment equivalent to at least USD 100,000. The said decision revokes a former resolution of 06 July 2019 based on which foreign investors were obliged to invest at least USD 250,000 in Iran in order to obtain residency. Board of Ministers also have extended the duration of the residence permission for nationals subject to visa exemptions as per resolution No. H27032T/32556 from 3 years to 5 years respectively. As can be seen, the policies of Iranian government regarding the encouragement and support of foreign investment have been expanded and new promotions are applied to foreign investors.

Under the said resolution, the Board of Ministers has further obliged institutions and organizations to cooperate for enacting a directive in order to diversify the methods of capital entry into the country for long-term foreign currency deposits and investments of offshore banks. It is important to note that this approach would positively contribute to the economic growth of the country, despite the fact that harmonizing the bureaucratic system of all of the said bodies may slow down the implementation of this new policy. Furthermore, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Finance has introduced a novel method to support and encourage investors by granting citizenship privileges to elite nationals. To further explain, a person granted with privilege of citizenship shall have the same rights as Iranian citizens, subject to certain limitations, e.g. they will not be granted Iranian nationality and are prohibited to hold positions expressed in Article 982 of Iran Civil Code.

As per the resolution, foreign nationals would be recognized as elites based on the following criteria:  

1- The Vice Presidency for Science and Technology is obliged to announce the elite criteria to the Board of Ministers for its approval within three months from the date of notification of this resolution.

2- A committee in the Ministry of Interior shall decide on granting such privilege to non-Iranians.

3- Governors may recommend eligible non-Iranians to the Ministry of Interior based on the said elite criteria.

It is important to note that such privilege would be pivotal for investment purposes due to the fact that the approach of the Iranian government in attracting, promoting and supporting foreign investors should not be limited to financial aspects, but should also consider elites as valuable human capital. Ultimately, it should be mentioned that attracting foreign investment requires coordination between a country's administrative and legislative forces, which is emphasized in this new resolution. The importance of human resources, especially elites is also undeniable. Such approvals for foreign investors indicates that the policies of the government of Iran have been modified and have become broader in order for the said process to hopefully continue to facilitate the investors entering into the country.