x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Why you need your Emirates ID card and who will take it

Nearly six million people have registered for the Emirates ID card. But many residents don't know how it can benefit them.

Nearly six million people have registered for the Emirates ID card, at a rate of about 30,000 a day.

Last month alone, the Emirates Identity Authority (Eida) processed a million applications for new and renewed cards.

Dubai, the last emirate to require registration, has given residents until the end of the month to enrol or face fines.

But many residents do not know where they can use their ID cards, which store information including date of birth, nationality, marital status and mother's name.

 

Q: For which services can you use your Emirates ID only?

A: More than 150 government entities recognise the card as proof of identity. They include all ministries, Emirates Post and the UAE Red Crescent. Agencies in each emirate have also signed on to accept the card for services.

All seven emirates' municipalities accept the card for most services, and four - Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Ras Al Khaimah and Sharjah - accept it for court purposes. In Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah, the ID is also accepted by the electricity and water authorities.

Many hospitals, clinics and doctors accept the Emirates ID and a health insurance card, without further proof of identification.

Emiratis can use the card instead of a passport to go to Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait.

The telecommunications company du says the card is acceptable for activating prepaid services. More identification is required for postpaid or TV services.

Etisalat has not announced plans for accepting the cards, but agreed this year to explore the possibility of making a digital version of it accessible on mobile phones.

Many Etisalat kiosks accept the Emirates ID in lieu of a passport for identification. The card is compulsory for all traffic-department transactions, such as obtaining or renewing a licence or registering a car, in a move announced by the authority late last year.

 

Q: When is your ID not enough?

A: Although Eida has asked Emirati banks to accept the Emirates ID, the Central Bank still requires passport and visa copies, and a letter or salary certificate from employers.

"I have tried to open a bank account using the Emirates ID but none of them accepted it," said one resident, Maher Al Jendasi. "They said they need the passport as proof of identity."

A customer-service representative at HSBC said international banks may also require more ID.

Car-hire companies still need Emiratis and expatriates to produce passports and driving licences.

Buying or leasing property usually requires a passport and visa copy, although some residents said leasing agents accepted an Emirates ID in its place.

 

Q: Who needs an Emirates ID? What happens if you do not have one?

A: Eida has set a target to have all Emiratis enrolled with the authority by the end of next year. All expatriates, including children, are required to have the card. The deadline for enrolment has passed everywhere but Dubai. For Dubai residents under the age of 15, the deadline in the end of October.

Residents whose visas expire this year can apply for the ID when the visa ends.

Those who do not register with the authority risk a fine of Dh20 a day, up to Dh1,000.

Fines will also be imposed on residents who do not renew the cards within 30 days of expiry or delay reporting data changes more than 30 days after the change occurs.

jthomas@thenational.ae