Update (May 28, 2012): Quick guide to getting your Emirates ID card
For the latest news concerning Emirates ID cards visit our topic
Millions of residents who have yet to apply for their Emirates ID card were given breathing space last week when the deadline for holding the card was put back. Emiratis were given until June 30 to register, a six-month extension, while expatriates can apply for theirs whenever they apply for or renew a residency visa. The move followed numerous earlier warnings that those who do not carry the card would miss out on key services and even pay fines. So what happens if people miss the deadline? Will non card-holders be prevented from registering a car or setting up a bank account?
1. What is the final deadline and what does it mean to miss it?
The Emirates Identity Authority (EIDA) announced at the weekend that the registration deadline for Emiratis has been extended to June 30, 2011. However, officials said they are still unsure what the consequences of missing the deadline will be. Since the scheme was announced, uncertainty over the exact consequences of not holding the card has discouraged people from spending time and money on the application process. However, EIDA said they will be announcing them as the deadline nears. No fines have been decided yet. The deadline for expatriates was waived earlier this year as EIDA finalises plans to link registration to the visa process. The cards will soon be issued as people enter the country and when they renew residency visas. That is currently the case in Umm al Qaiwain, and officials say registration for ID cards will eventually take place at all medical centres where residents are tested before receiving a visa. By the end of 2011 the procedure will be implemented across the emirates.
2. What do I need it for?
The ID cards are mandatory for Emiratis to get a driving licence and to register and re-register a vehicle. For other residents, the ID card is required only for new procedures - registering a vehicle for the first time or applying for a driving licence. However, an ID card is not required yet to renew a licence or registration. The Abu Dhabi Distribution Company will require the card for water and electricity services starting next month. Officials from the telecommunications companies Etisalat and Du, as well as many of the country's banks, Abu Dhabi Judicial department and Dubai's Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera), have said there are no immediate plans to require the card. The card will eventually be used as a regional passport, health card and a credit card for government-related financial transactions.
3. How do I get an Emirates ID card?
First, new applicants or their representatives need to go to one of the typing centres listed on the Emirate Identity Authority's website, www.emiratesid.ae. The applicant will then receive a text message with the date and place for an appointment at a registration centre. There, they will be fingerprinted and photographed, and some centres will scan your iris. Colour contact lenses and hand henna are not allowed at the time of registration. Those renewing the card do not need an application form and can go to a replacement work station without an appointment. The only replacement centre in Abu Dhabi is in Mussafah.
4. What do I need to register and how much will it cost?
Emiratis need a passport and family book, while residents need to bring a passport and residency visa. GCC nationals can use a passport and employment certificate or lease agreement to prove residency in the UAE. The registration fee for UAE nationals is Dh100 and Dh70 for a service fee, while other residents are charged Dh100 for each year residency is valid and a service fee of Dh70. Emiratis renewing five-year-old IDs are charged Dh120, while residents are charged Dh100 for each year their visa is valid, plus Dh20 for delivery.
5. Where are the registration centres?
There are 17 permanent registration centres in the UAE, plus temporary stations. The locations can be found on the website www.emiratesid.ae.
6. Why are there typing centres listed on EIDA's website that do not process national IDs?
When The National tried contacting the typing centres listed on the website, many of the calls went unanswered and 32 of 84 centres reached were not offering national ID services. EIDA officials say this is because some centres who do not meet EIDA's standards are stripped the right to provide the service. The typing centres that were contacted said they stopped the service because their system was not working or because they are overloaded with applications.
7. How long does it take for the ID to arrive in the mail after I have registered?
Between seven days to a month. Though officials acknowledge there have been reports of long delays in receiving the cards. They say this problem has been fixed. Moreover, the receipt received during registration can be used in the meantime for services.
8. Can I use my ID card for travelling instead of a passport?
Emiratis can use it to travel to Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait.
9. If I have a baby, do I need to register him and how? And what's the point of registering a child if he or she won't apply for a driving licence and doesn't have to pay water and electricity bills?
Babies and children up to 15 years of age are also required to acquire an ID card. Children are not required to go to the registration centres, and their registration process can be done through the typing centres, by presenting a passport copy and passport photo with a light blue background. However, officials said they are working on linking ID card registration with birth certificates. Children will eventually need their cards as more government departments will start linking their services with the ID card, such as health services.
10. How do I reach the Emirates Identity Authority?
While the number for the hotline could not be reached from mobile phones in the past, it is now working. The toll-free number is 600 52 3432.
* The National