DUBAI // Residents on a last-minute dash to beat the deadline to register for Emirates ID cards were yesterday turned away from a centre for not having the correct paperwork.
A number of people arriving at the Emirates ID Centre in Al Barsha yesterday did not have the completed e-form, while many others were not aware the form had to be completed at an authorised typing centre or online.
They were given photocopied maps of typing offices they could visit.
"We had no idea that we had to get these forms before we came here," said Ali Rastak, 18, an Iranian student.
He was at the centre with his sister, who was also trying to register, and their mother. The family had been waiting in the queue for about 10 minutes before they noticed other people holding forms.
"I asked one of the security guys and he said we have to go to a typing centre to get the form, but we don't know where the best one is," said Ali, adding the family was worried about being fined.
The Emirates Identity Authority has warned people who have not yet registered for their cards or renewed old ones that they are liable to a daily minimum fine of Dh20 from today.
It was an issue in the forefront of Loulou Khazen's mind as she was turned away from the centre.
"I went to the typing centre in Knowledge Village but was told that they weren't accepting more applications because they had reached their daily limit of 300 passports," said the Lebanese businesswoman, aged 30.
Ms Khazen went to Al Barsha hoping to complete the forms there.
"I've just been told they don't do it here and they gave me a map for a typing office behind the Mall of the Emirates," she said.
"I didn't want to leave it for the last minute but it's difficult to spare the time between work. I also travel but if I'm honest, it was largely laziness on my part. That's the main reason I'm in this situation."
For Hoda El Meniawy, an Egyptian who works in the pharmaceutical industry, the main aim was to find a typing centre that would accept her application.
"I'm hoping I can at least get the application form filled in today to avoid the fine, but people keep telling me that they are all very busy," Ms El Meniawy said.
It was an equally anxious wait for Luis, a Filipino, who was waiting for his boss to register at the centre.
"I am stressed because I haven't even had the application form filled in," said the salesman. "The fine is a big worry for me but also for the company, because they will get fined as well. I'm going to a typing centre as soon as my boss is done here."
Luis said he had been unable to start the process sooner because of work commitments, and felt the typing and registration should be done together to save time.
Kasia Saleh, a Polish housewife, was at Al Barsha for her maid.
"We didn't know that maids had to get this done until today," Ms Saleh said. "Our maid found out through her friends that she also needs the card, so I'm trying to get the forms filled in on her behalf."
For people who did have the correct paperwork, the registration process was much smoother.
In the men's section, most waited a maximum of 20 minutes to have their fingerprints and photographs taken as most desks were open.
The wait in the women's area was much longer, about 45 minutes, because there were fewer desks open.
The lines of people at reception ebbed and flowed during the day but were 10 people long at most.
"The reason the queues are smaller and you see fewer people in the hall is because we are only allowing people with appointments through," said Nasser Al Abdouli, the director of the centre.
"In the past we did allow people without appointments but with it being the deadline day we had to have an orderly system."
Mr Al Abdouli said people who had completed the application forms at typing offices would not be fined.
There are more than 300 approved typing centres in Dubai, with most accepting applications, he added.