Your ID card questions answered - UAE INFO

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.


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

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.


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.


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.


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.


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?


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?


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.

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