The Emirates Identity Authority (EIDA) is trying to ensure that all residents of the UAE, both nationals and expatriates, are issued with an identity card.
The Emirates ID Card will eventually be used as a regional passport, health card, credit card for government-related financial transactions and even a library card.
Introducing the multi-purpose card has been an uneven and sometimes confusing affair, with around 90 per cent of nationals signed up compared to only 10 per cent of foreign residents, but there are signs that EIDA, which has so far enrolled about two million people, is making progress.
After a marketing campaign to encourage residents to sign up for the card met with limited success, the authority announced that it would implement a staged three-year introduction. New arrivals to the country will have to apply for the card when they apply or renew their residence visas.
The cards are already supposed to be mandatory to get a driving licence or register a vehicle.
After earlier problems with downloading application forms and long queues forming at registration centres, EIDA has said it will streamline the process.
EIDA's website lists more than 300 typing centres at which registrants or their representatives can fill out an electronic form with staff and pay the required fees. Foreign residents must pay a service fee of Dh70 plus another Dh100 for each year their residents’ visas are valid.
The authority has also announced that children under 15 will need ID cards, costing Dh140 each. Parents can register their children as they renew their visas. Unlike adults, children do not need to be fingerprinted or present for registration.
EIDA has said the average waiting time at centres should be six minutes but this should fall as more staff are hired and extra printers and scanners are installed.
Registration centres are also installing iris scanners, which will eventually mean UAE nationals need only renew their cards every decade.
HOW TO GET AN EMIRATES ID CARD
What you need
UAE nationals: Passport and family book
Residents: Passport and residency visa
GCC Nationals: Passport and employment certificate or lease agreement to prove UAE residency
Children under 15: Colour passport-size photo with light blue background
UAE nationals: Dh100 registration fee plus a Dh70 service fee
Residents and GCC nationals: Dh100 for each year residency is valid, plus a service fee of Dh70
Children under 15: Dh70 registration fee plus a Dh70 service fee
What to do
Go to one of more than 300 typing centres in the UAE, or send a representative with the proper documents, to fill out the electronic form with the staff. A list of typing centres can be found on the Emirates Identity Authority website, wwwemiratesid.ae.
You will receive a text message with the date and place for an appointment at one of the UAE’s 25 registration centres. Registration centres are open from Sunday to Thursday from 7.30am (some locations close at 2.30pm and others close at 8.30pm).
Bring a passport to the registration centre, where you will be fingerprinted and photographed. Some centres also use iris scanning.
Colour contact lenses and hand henna are not allowed at the time of registration.
For more information or to make an appointment call 04 208 4949.