x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Visa renewal linked to Emirates ID card

Workers in the Tecom area will be able to get their IDs at an office there, officials said.

DUBAI // The 65,000 people working at Tecom Business Park must register for Emirates ID cards before they can renew their visas, officials said yesterday.

Starting on Sunday, they will become the first Dubai residents who must have registered for the cards before they can undergo the medical tests necessary for visa renewal.

The move is part of efforts by the Emirates ID Authority (Eida) to pressure people into registering.

Those wishing to renew visas must visit a typing centre and fill out a registration form. They then take the registration receipt to the preventive medicine centre for the visa medical.

The medical certificate will not be given to them if they do not present the stamped receipt, officials say.

To make it easier for residents to register and have the tests, Eida has set up centres at medical clinics.

Tecom includes Dubai's Internet City, Media City, Outsource Zone, Studio City, Knowledge Village, Medical City, Enpark, DuBiotech, International Academic City and International Media Production Zone.

The Tecom registration centre is expected to receive 180 people a day. The authority plans to have 25 centres set up across the Emirates by the end of the year.

Marwan Al Hashemi, 27, a French citizen who works for a company under Tecom, said he had not registered for an ID card because he had heard "horror stories" about the process.

"It is such a mess. People stand in long queues and no one is sure where to go or what to do," the media sales executive said. "So many changes of procedures, and then you have to wait four weeks to receive it."

But Mr Al Hashemi said linking the ID card to the residency visa should make the process simpler.

He still has two and a half years to renew his residency, but said if he found a quick, simple way to register for the card, he would not wait that long.

"No one asked me to present it for anything yet and I just couldn't be bothered to go register," Mr Al Hashemi added.

Sandeep Ailani, 30, also a media sales executive for a company at Tecom, said he needed to get his ID card soon because it might be required for other procedures.

"There were so many changes of deadlines and procedures, it is not clear where to go or what to do," said Mr Ailani, from India.

Although he said he thought the link would be the easiest way to do it, he could not wait 12 months for his residency renewal, in case the ID card did become mandatory for other things.

More than 39,000 people have registered so far through the other 14 centres across the Northern Emirates and Al Gharbia since November, officials said.

More centres are expected to be set up in Abu Dhabi, at Musaffah and Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, by the end of next month.

Dr Ali Al Khouri, the director-general of Eida, said the registration centres at the medical clinics were serving their purpose. Dr Al Khouri said the eventual target was 22,000 registrations a day.

hdajani@thenational.ae