Politics & News

Saudi Arabia Grants Citizenship to Scientists, Innovators

The Saudi News Agency “SPA” reported the approval of Saudi citizenship for scientists, doctors, researchers, innovators, entrepreneurs, and distinguished individuals with rare skills and specializations.

Moreover, this follows a royal order to grant citizenship to legal, medical, scientific, cultural, sports, and technical experts to benefit the country.

The announcement aligns with the Kingdom's initiative to attract experts and exceptional global talents in religious, medical, scientific, cultural, sports, and technological fields.

The Saudi Agency added that this measure came “in line with Vision 2030. Additionally, it aims to enhance the attractive environment in which human competencies can be invested and the distinguished and creative people can be attracted.”

This strategic initiative is expected to bolster economic diversification and foster innovation across various sectors. Saudi Arabia also seeks to position itself as a global leader in talent development and technological advancement.

SPA also indicated that this step comes “as an extension of the Kingdom’s interest in attracting top talents and specialists. Their expertise will add value to the Kingdom’s efforts in economic, health, cultural, sports, and innovation development. Previously, the Royal Highness approved granting Saudi citizenship to distinguished individuals in these fields.”

Citizenship to Distinguished Talents

A similar Royal decree in 2021 granted Saudi citizenship to the first group of select distinguished talents in many fields.

Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper reported that several notable individuals have been granted Saudi citizenship by a recent royal decree. Among them is Mehmood Khan, an American and the CEO of the Hevolution Foundation, recognized for his contributions to health sciences.

An exclusive interview with Dr Mehmood Khan, founding CEO of Saudi Arabia's HEVOLUTION Foundation


Jackie Yi-Ru Ying, an American scientist of Singaporean origin, has also been granted Saudi citizenship. Ying was the founding Executive Director of the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology in Singapore.

Jackie Yi-Ru Ying: First Scientist to be Elected as a Member of the US National Academy of Engineering – The Muslim Women TImes

Lebanese scientist Niveen Khashab has been granted Saudi citizenship for her expertise and contributions to bioengineering and nanomaterials. She is a founding member of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and has been an Associate Professor of Chemical Sciences and Engineering there since 2009.

Niveen Khashab named inaugural Great Arab Mind in natural sciences


Noreddine Ghaffour, a French scientist, is renowned for his expertise in environmental science and engineering, especially in desalination technologies. He holds a PhD in membrane separation techniques from the University of Montpellier and is a professor at KAUST.

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