x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Online ID form baffles potential users

The online form asks for an "English Famous Name". It does not, however, require the applicant's surname.

ABU DHABI // Downloading and completing the Emirates ID pre-registration form has been presented as a breezy, time-saving process. But that presumes users know their address in a city lacking an addressing system, can recall the exact day they graduated from university, are well-acquainted with the capital's dozens of urban zones and understand what it means to have an "English Famous Name".

And sometimes having that knowledge did not help at all, like when the form was not available for download. Five attempts to sidestep chaotic Emirates ID centre queues by applying online this week resulted in two successes. The other three resulted in error messages or downloads of files from emiratesid.ae that failed to open. One attempt at an online pre-registration application took just 30 minutes to fill out, but when it was printed out, there were discrepancies between the data entered on screen and the hard copy.

For instance, the online programme asks for "Grand Father Name". On the completed form, this information was revealed to mean "third given name". The application had to be resubmitted to correct the error. The online form asked for an "English Famous Name". It did not, however, require the applicant's surname. Attempts to call the Emirates ID Authority's hotline, 600-52-3432, to enquire about the meaning of "Residency Permit File Number" failed; the line was engaged every time.

A drop-down menu of neighbourhoods listed 37 options, from Qasr al Bahr to Al Madina al Riyadia. The choices were not in English alphabetical order, and no map was provided. The choices for "Occupation Type" were even more confusing, with options such as "Postandele communications" and "Realestate activities". The drop-down menu for Organisation List included more than 220 companies, groups and government entities such as Ajman Museum and Rashid Holy Quran Award and Islamic Culture, but some large organisations were omitted.

On the Qualifications menu, knowing the year and month you graduated was not enough, no matter how long ago. The exact date of graduation was required to proceed. Mohan Kumar, 44, attempted several times last year to download the pre-registration application for his ID card, but eventually gave up and registered in person. "Most of the people tried and failed to get registration online. It wasn't responding for anyone," the Indian engineer said. "So I had to go by direct to the general post office by 6.30 in the morning. It was a big rush that day."

He added: "Of course, this would be better for us if we can just be connected online." Although the application was downloadable yesterday, scheduling an appointment online was a challenge. Clicking on the Appointment System link returned the user to an error message: "Sorry, there are no available appointments now." @Email:mkwong@thenational.ae