x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

ID card crush is not the answer

If the process of obtaining the card is not itself streamlined, this defeats the purpose of removing bureaucratic hurdles.

You have to admire the tenacity of the Emirates ID Authority (Eida). Unable to persuade residents about the necessity of applying for a national ID, they have made the cards mandatory for one thing many in the UAE can't live without: their cars. The decision this week to tie car registration and licenses to national IDs has lit a fire under many residents, who have flocked to the nearest Eida centre. But while the measure has spurred thousands into action, the registration system appeared unprepared for such an onslaught.

As we report today, mobile centres are being deployed to smooth out the application process, which is expected to attract residents in the tens of thousands. Since IDs are scheduled to include labour and visa information as early as July, the authorities have little time to improve their strategy. The integration of a labour card, visa and ID onto one platform is a significant step by the Government to enforce its laws and promote national security. But if the process of obtaining the card is not itself streamlined, this defeats the purpose of removing bureaucratic hurdles.

Increasing pressure on residents to obtain ID cards has yielded immediate results, not all of them positive. The sudden shift has caused frustration on both sides: residents are understandably upset by being pressured and Eida is struggling to accommodate the overwhelming response. So while the speed and numbers of applicants will only increase as more Government agencies begin demanding the ID, many residents can rest assured that they'll have more than just their feet to run this race: they'll have their cars, too.