Nov 25, 2008

Your ID card questions answered

The Emirates Identity Authority (EIDA) has been flooded with queries from residents seeking clarifications on the process of registering in the Population Register and obtaining a national identity card.

What is the importance of an ID card? Having got an ID card, how and where can it be used?

Under the law it is your valid identification document while conducting official transactions with government, semi-government and private sector organisations.

As a multipurpose, secure, smartcard it will eventually enable holders to use it as a driving licence, labour card, residence permit, investor card and health and health insurance card.

It will also work as an ATM card, provide e-signature service for companies to sign documents, e-mails, e-forms and serve as an e-passport for Emiratis while travelling within the GCC countries.

The ID card can be used for e-payment (e-dirham, e-purse) and include family book information for citizens. It can also be used to protect children over the internet with support from local Internet service providers and cyber cafes.

It will also allow ID card holders to have a common mechanism to log on to online services (single sign-on), and into their personal computers.

By law, the ID card can be used by holders immediately according to the Cabinet Decision 201/1 of September 2007 to identify the holder's identity when using government, semi-government, and private sector services.

All transactions

When will the ID card be used to process all transactions (health, finance, others)?

According to the EIDA, technical work has been completed to integrate the e-dirham and e-gate with the ID card, and the effective start date of these services shall be announced by the concerned organisations.

The respective ministries and entities that recognise the benefits and security of this ID card are expected to proceed with this (driver's licence, health records, health insurance, labour card and investors card) soon.

Once an ID card is issued to a person, all public and private entities must recognise it as an official, legal document issued by a trusted government body.

Is anyone exempt from registering?

All Emiratis (holders of valid passport and family book) and legal residents (holders of valid passports and residence permits), including their children, must register in person with the EIDA.

The identity card is mandatory for persons 15 years and above. While it is not mandatory for children below the age of 15 to apply for the ID card, the EIDA recommends issuing the card for children, which costs Dh50 for them.

Everyone must register regardless of age to help in the census, as an accurate census will be provided to decision makers for better strategic planning of the UAE.

Fee

What is the fee for a card?

The fee is Dh100 for Emiratis over 15 years of age and is valid for five years. It is free of charge for Emiratis receiving welfare. For children under 15 years of age, the fee is Dh50 for issuing the ID Card valid for five years (it must be replaced when the child becomes 15 years old). However, registering in the population register without issuing the ID card is free.

The fee for expatriates is Dh100 per active year in the residency permit. For a residency visa valid for three years, the fee will be Dh300 total.

From the day you register for an ID card and your visa is valid for two years and two months, the fee will be Dh300 because the two months are calculated as the third year (this portion of the year is considered a year). Additional fee of Dh20 must be added as mandatory ID card delivery service.

Special needs

How will people with special needs, the elderly and the sick register?

Applicants who cannot visit registration centres will be granted the free mobile registration service. The registration fees are not waived and will be collected, but they will not have to pay the Dh500 fee for the mobile service assuming they request the service for themselves only.

However, if their family members want to avail themselves of the mobile service, they each have to pay the Dh500 fee for the mobile service in addition to the card fees. The number to call for the service is 600523432 or through the appointment system on the EIDA website www.emiratesid.ae.

Will expatriate professionals who have not registered by December 31, 2008 be fined?

The EIDA has stressed that no fines will be issued to expatriate professionals. Moreover, the EIDA is not concerned with issuing fines. We are not the authority to do that. We are the service provider.

Will expatriate professionals be able to carry out regular transactions (financial, educational, health, etc) if they have not registered within the December 31, 2008 deadline?

For Emiratis, no service shall be provided without the ID card from January 1, 2009 as per the law. So far, no such measures have been announced against expatriate professionals who fail to register within the Enrolment Strategy deadline.

But the ID card is the only valid identification document for professional expatriates from January 1, 2009. If any organisation demands the card for official transactions and expatriate professionals do not have them, the EIDA cannot be held responsible.

Like any other organisation in the UAE, the EIDA obeys government regulations and will demand the ID card from its employees and customers to provide services.

Must the ID card be carried at all times?

Yes. It is your valid identification document. You have to carry it to prove your identity.

Stolen card

What steps are to be taken if the ID card gets lost or is stolen?

The card holder must notify the nearest EIDA registration centre. A new ID with the same unique number will be issued for a fee of Dh300. Once the case is reported, the system automatically deactivates the card and it cannot be used anymore.

My visa expires before June 2009, will I face trouble conducting transactions next year if I do not have a card?

All expatriate professionals have to register irrespective of the validity period of their visa. It is advisable to register now and avoid the rush in the future when priority will be given to a new category to register. The EIDA bears no responsibility for the delay and missing the Enrolment Strategy deadline. The EIDA will not refuse registering any one with a valid residency period.

I am on vacation and unable to access the website due to heavy traffic. I cannot return before the deadline. What are my options and will I be fined?

It is your responsibility to register before the deadline. The EIDA cannot be held responsible for your absence. The EIDA will continue to register all expatriates until the end of 2010. No fines will be imposed, but if the ID card is required for any official transaction, the EIDA cannot be held responsible for your delay.

We recommend that you register at your first opportunity when you are back in the UAE.

Deadline

What is the deadline for legal residents to register? Will it be extended?

As per the law and regulation, the deadline for all legal residents is December 31, 2010. In order to regulate the registration flow and ensure that every Emirati and resident get registered before the deadline, the EIDA prepared an Enrolment Strategy to support the government deadline. Hence, each category has been given a specified period.

  • Emiratis: from June 2005 to December 31, 2008. (The reason for the longer duration was given until the EIDA positioned itself over the seven Emirates, which took place by early 2008).
  • Residents working for the public sector and their families: from May 2008 to October 31, 2008.
  • Professional residents working in private sector and their families: from July 2008 to December 31, 2008.
  • Other categories shall be announced early January 2009.

The EIDA will continue registering these categories even after the deadline, but it is at their own risk and they will have to put up with the long queues because other categories will also be registering and will be given priority.

Registration

It has become impossible to find registration forms, or register on the website? Will I be penalised?

It is your responsibility to register. New software for 'pre-registration' is now available on the EIDA website and is hosted by about 50 other organisations. You can fill out the form within ten minutes, using the software for you and your family members on your personal computer.

Free CDs of the software will be issued soon at EIDA centres. This online service (first free of charge application among government entities) is made available as an add-on service, while other channels were made available to get this service from such as from Emirates Post centres, and third party typing centres within major EIDA centres for Dh40.

The website does not allow me to book an appointment for my entire family. If I sponsor my spouse and children, will I have to go with them for every appointment?

The appointments until December 31, 2008 have already been booked in major registration centres. But half of the registration capacity of the EIDA centres has been kept for walk-in registrations. Each category has to register with their families.

Although the card is optional for children below 15 years old (but registration is compulsory) the guardian's consent is required to issue the card. Children must be present. One guardian must accompany children for registration.

Will hospitals not treat me if I do not have an ID card?

This is not within our jurisdiction. If entities demand the ID card, that is up to them. From a humanitarian point of view, everyone should be entitled to medical treatment in emergency situations.

Barcode

What is the need for a barcode?

The barcode expedites the registration process; it provides security and privacy to the applicant's information. The barcode guarantees that the information provided by the potential card holder is accurate and genuine.

If an expatriate holds a diploma and works as a professional, will he be required to register for an ID card?

He or she must register.

If a professional has a degree and does not work, will it be mandatory for the spouse to apply for an ID card?

Yes. A family is a unit and is required to register if one of the spouses is part of the category.

If an employed professional has children who have completed their university studies and are unemployed, do they have to register for an ID card. If so, when is the deadline?

Yes. December 31, 2008. Again the family is a unit and is required to register if one of the spouses is part of the category we called upon for registration according to our Enrolment Strategy.

What about new professionals joining after December 31?

They can register after obtaining a residence permit.

If one is able to generate an online application and fix an appointment, will it be possible to change the appointment date?

Yes, you can, but you have to give 24 hours notice that you want to change or cancel and you can use the online appointment system for that.

Married

As an expatriate woman married to an Omani, I already have a GCC ID card. Will I need to register for a card in the UAE as well?

Yes.

Is the cost of the national ID card the responsibility of the sponsor or the company?

The law does not force the employer to pay the fees for his employees but it must ensure the employees register. By law, it is the resident's individual responsibility to pay the fee. But if an organisation wants to pay the fee, it is their decision.

Is there a grace period for those who get their residence visas on December 30 or 31? Do they have to rush to get an ID card?

They have to register as soon as they get a valid visa.

Are professionally qualified housewives required to register for the card before 2009?

Yes.

What happens to the ID card if one dies after obtaining it?

The card gets automatically deactivated once we receive an automatic update from the government entity that authorises and authenticates this event.

Questions answered by Darwish Ahmad Al Zarouni, Director-General of the EIDA, and Thamer Rashid Al Qasimi, Planning Director and Project Management Director.

The registration process

Where to register?

You can register at any of the more than 25 EIDA centres across the UAE. To get the address, phone number and location map of each centre,

log on to http://www.emiratesid.ae /html/english2/21.html or call the toll free number 600523432.

Centres are open from 7.30am to 8.30pm from Sunday to Thursday. Major centres are open half day on Saturdays.

Do I have to book an appointment to register and how will I know if the appointment I booked online is confirmed?

Appointments are not mandatory and it is an extra add-on service offered by the authority. However, when booking an appointment, the application process function is based on the following steps:

1- Click on the appointment system link from the main website

2- From the appointment system page, click the service type you would like to have:

a. Cancel/Update Appointment (requires your booking number)

b. Mobile Appointment (please note that the main reason for launching this first-ever mobile registration service in the UAE is for elderly and people with special needs who are not able to visit registration centres)

c. Appointment booking

i. Fill the form with the following information: your name, nationality, mobile number, appointment type "personal or family", gender and count of family members, residential Emirate, nearby centre, and SMS language preference. Then click Next.

ii. An SMS with confirmation/reference code to prove the authenticity of the process and requestor shall be sent to the provided mobile number. It reads (Emirates Identity Authority Welcomes you to its Registration Appointment System, please use the following number to confirm your appointment #########", please enter this code in the reference box, then the "OK" box

iii. Appointments are subject to availability and number of applicants. Select the preferred week, date and time. If available, finish the process to get a second SMS with the confirmation code detailing the date and time of the appointment and the selected registration centre.

iv. With this code you must come in to the centre by at least 15 to 20 minutes prior to the appointment to confirm your appointment using the Kiosk machines or at the customer service desk.

3- Residents who do not make prior appointments can walk into any registration centre of the EIDA and apply for the ID card (first-come-first served, and it is subject to centre registration capacity and number of confirmed appointments.)

How to get your identity card


Dubai: In April 2006 the UAE Government introduced a single identity card. This card is compulsory for everyone living legally in the UAE, including nationals, expatriates and GCC citizens.

The Emirates Identity Authority has rolled out the first phase, as part of a three-year plan.

In the future, the cards will be used as a travel document within the GCC. However, when the scheme was introduced for expatriates, 'not many' expatriates actually turned up to take part in the scheme.

Registration for expatriates working in government departments commenced on June 1, after being postponed from May 1 because of the number of Emiratis that had not finished registration.

Other sectors will need to register for the cards according to a schedule that is to be announced.

It is mandatory for expatriates who are at least 15 years old living lawfully in the UAE to obtain a registration card.

For children below 15, registration for the Population Register and ID card programme is also mandatory, although having an ID for them is a matter of choice and is subject to a guardian's consent.

The Population Register includes a centralised database that includes the aim of upgrading governmental services and putting an end to forgery.

Registration: How to apply for an ID card

1. Book an online appointment
2. Before going for your appointment, fill in an online application form from the EIDA website (www.emiratesid.ae) and take a printout, using a laser printer.
3. Visit the nearest EIDA service centre and pay the registration fee, while submitting your form.
4. Allow biometric and fingerprinting to be done and get your original documents scanned.
5. You can either choose to have your ID card sent to you by Empost or personally collect it after 3 working days.

EIDA can also be contacted on: 600 523 432

Documents and fees

  • UAE Nationals: Original Family Book and Passport. Dh100
  • UAE Residents: Original passport. Dh100 per year of visa validity.
  • Lost or damaged card: Dh300

Source: Emirates ID Authority

RTA taxi initiatives are most welcome

Passengers driving in Dubai-registered taxis must be delighted at the news that they will not have to pay the Salik road toll from next month.

This is a great initiative by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), which is aimed at cutting fuel consumption for taxi drivers who choose longer routes to avoid the toll gate, and maintaining a positive image of the emirate.

Many residents had shied away from using taxis because of the high cost. Without a doubt, this move will encourage them to use taxis more often as their journeys begin to cost less. As a result, they may choose to use their cars less frequently and thus help reduce congestion on the roads.

Equally significant is the announcement that 1,500 new taxis will be introduced next year to address the serious shortage. Hopefully, we will also start to feel the impact of RTA's other recent initiative, District Taxis, whereby taxis are deployed in areas which suffer from short supply.

Customers worry over faulty ATMs

Dubai: Residents have complained about several faulty Mashreq bank ATMs both in Dubai and Sharjah.

Customers said for the past three days they have been facing problems in withdrawing cash from the bank's ATMs. But the Mashreq Bank claimed that there is no technical problem with any of its ATMs and people would have faced difficulties in withdrawing cash because of heavy weekend customer traffic. The bank also assured it would look into the complaints.

Vipin Das, a Dubai resident, said he tried to use the ATM machine on Shaikh Zayed Road both on Saturday and Sunday, and it showed technical error.

"I contacted their support desk and I was told that they will fix it within two days," said Vipin, who works for a private firm in Bur Dubai. Machines in Lamcy Plaza and Mall of the Emirates are also reported to have shown similar glitches.

Zulekha, a Sharjah resident, said she was unable to withdraw cash from the bank ATM near the corniche. "Even on Sunday morning, when there was not many people using the machine, it was giving error message," complained Zulekha, a housewife.

The bank has assured that they will look into the issue and ensure that customers face no difficulties in accessing the service.

According to Sharjah resident Mohammad, the machines were not repaired until last afternoon.

Bus lane to connect Sharjah and Dubai

Sharjah: A dedicated bus lane will soon be set up between Sharjah and Dubai in order to relieve motorists from the daily traffic congestion.

"A special committee has already been formed to implement the plan, and we are finalising the details," said a senior official at Sharjah Transport Authority.

The announcement was made on the sidelines of the three-day Sharjah Urban Planning Symposium (SUPS) that ends today.

The first phase of implementing the bus lane will be in three areas on the Sharjah/Dubai border: Al Taawun Road, Al Ittihad Road and Emirates Road.

Faster commuting There are currently two inter-emirate bus routes that transport passengers from Dubai to Sharjah. Passengers can either get a bus from Al Ghubaiba station at Bur Dubai or the station at Deira, which leaves passengers at the main bus station near the Sharjah Fish Market.

"By improving the services of the public transport system, commuters will then have an incentive to use the inter-emirate buses because they will get to their destination faster than using their own vehicles," the transport official said.

"Ultimately, the motorists will also benefit because the buses will not add to the traffic congestion."

The launch of the bus lane will be headed by the Sharjah Transport Authority and the Roads and Transport Authority in Dubai, in collaboration with the Sharjah Directorate of Town Planning and the Directorate of Public Works.

Mirroring city growth The public transport system must be aligned with the growth of the city for it to work successfully, said an academic yesterday at the Sharjah Urban Planning Symposium.

"There is an urgent need to develop an effective system in Dubai that will help in achieving lower expenses, simplified procedures, improved safety and increased efficiency," said Dr Akmal Abdul Fatah, Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering at the American University of Sharjah.

Abdul Fatah presented a research paper titled, "Factors Affecting the Service Performance of Public Buses in Dubai," which pointed out the problems affecting passengers. A methodology was developed to identify the significant factors affecting the bus system.

During his presentation, he explained that the journey time of the buses was affected by lack of punctuality and information found at bus stops.

Nov 11, 2008

Pedestrian network planned in Dubai


A new airconditioned bridge for pedestrians with escalators is ready for the public at the Abu Baker Al Siddiqi Road in Deira.

Dubai: A short fitness walk through a network of air-conditioned crossings and subways will not only keep diseases at bay but also enable public move around in hot weather depending less on vehicles. The Dubai Road and Transport Authority will be linking up major buildings through air-conditioned walkways in some areas. These buildings will also be linked using covered walkways with main roads as well as Dubai Metro stations to increase pedestrian mobility. "The strategy will minimise the reliance on vehicles for short trips, and accordingly cut short road congestion as well as pollution in the emirate.

"Walking is one of the safe modes of mobility, which has good health benefits. It is also an economical mode of mobility that saves time compared to vehicles, particularly in congested places and during peak times," said Abdul Mohsen Ebrahim Younes, Chief Executive Officer of the RTA's Strategy and Corporate Support Services.The new arrangement will also bring down the nuisance of jaywalkers whose numbers are on the rise in the Emirate. Statistics provided by Dubai police in August this year shows some 1,022 jaywalkers have been fined in Dubai from January until the end of July.

Crossings: Many near completion
Currently, pedestrian crossings are under construction at Abu Hail Road, Beirut Road, Umm Suqeim Road, Airport Road, Casablanca Road and Abu Baker Al Siddiqi Road. More crossings will be built on Emirates Road, Shaikh Zayed Road, Damascus Road, Khalid Bin Al Waleed Road, Salahuddin Road, Baniyas Road, Al Rashid Road, Zabeel Road, Al Wasl Road, Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Road and Al Rabbat Road. According to the RTA, the Emirate of Dubai showed a 15 per cent drop in fatalities from traffic accidents to 196 cases during the first nine months of 2008 from 231 cases reported during the same period in 2007. Fatal run-over accidents dropped to 73 cases from 97 during the same period last year.

Mechanised car parks being considered in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi: Being able to park one's car within a matter of few seconds could seem as the ultimate dream to motorists, especially those living or working in downtown areas where it is not uncommon to hunt around for 45 minutes for a parking space. For this reason, robotised car parks, which promise to park your cars within 45 seconds, instantly got the attention of the audience at the Middle East Parking Symposium that began yesterday in Abu Dhabi. But could that put an end to the growing parking woes of the residents? "Yes it can", according to Nicholas F. Amiouni, a Senior Robotics Design Engineer at East and West Robotics, who design and manufacture robotised car parks. Cities like the capital need them because even businesses operating in these places will get affected if there are no proper parking spaces.

Surf the internet for free while you smell the roses in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi: Residents can enjoy free wireless internet connectivity in two public parks on the corniche within a month, thanks to a new initiative of Abu Dhabi Municipality, a senior official told Gulf News on Sunday. "We are trying to complete the preparations in co-operation with etisalat to introduce internet connectivity within one month," said Abdul Aziz Al Jeraishi, Director of Public Parks and Recreation Department at Abu Dhabi Municipality. "Initially, the connectivity will be available in two public parks on the corniche - Musical Park and Official Park." The connectivity will be available round the clock, said the official. "The entry is free to those two parks, so people can enjoy free browsing. "If successful, we will gradually extend the service to other parks in the capital," said Al Jeraishi.

Foreign passport 'no bar to citizenship'

Abu Dhabi: Producing a passport of another country or seeking to obtain one does not affect the right of people without proper documents to seek naturalisation in the UAE, a senior official said on Monday. Lieutenant Colonel Sultan Al Khadar, the director of the legal department at the Interior Ministry, said the doors of the ministry are open before the people, who show good intention in applying for citizenship. Al Khadar was referring to an applicant, who produced a passport and asked that the information he submitted be corrected claiming his passport was torn.

To obtain UAE citizenship, those without citizenship of any other country must have been staying in the UAE before December 2, 1971 and should not have left the country for good any time. They must produce true information and original documents to prove their identities and other credentials required as per the naturalisation regulations and possess the police verification certificate.

Lieutenant General Shaikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Interior, has ordered the setting up a committee to resolve the issue of people without documents to prove their identity once and for all.

Shaikh Saif has ordered that this issue be treated with accuracy, diligence and efficiency to uphold the rights of those entitled to citizenship.

A higher committee, made up of representatives of the Interior Ministry and the Ministry of Presidential Affairs, concluded a two-month mission on Thursday to resolve the issue. All people who carry no proper documents including those who obtained decrees of UAE passports but without family books, known as Khulasat Qaid, were allowed to register with the committee, which will resolve the issue.

Those who failed to register would be considered to be residing in the country in violation of the residency laws. Interior ministry officials warned that the ministry would launch an "intense campaign" to find out those who failed to register within the stipulated period.

The ministry did not specify what penalties they would face, nor did it release details of how it planned to deal with people without documents to prove their identity. The formation of the committee came two years after President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan ordered the status of people without documents to prove their identity to be resolved.