Apr 27, 2010

Vehicle registration from any emirate soon

Dubai: Motorists will soon be able to renew their car registration from anywhere in the UAE, irrespective of the origin of registration.

We are working on plans to integrate our system with the federal auth-ority in Abu Dhabi and Dubai Police to offer the new service, enabling motorists to get their vehicle registration renewed from anywhere in the country," Ahmad Hashim Al Behroozian, CEO, licensing agency of the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), said.

He added that once the RTA's system is linked by August, it would enable motorists to get their driving licences renewed from any emirate, irrespective of the origin of the documents.

The initiative comes as part of the project's phase two linking data related to driving licences and vehicle registration.

Al Behroozian said that phase one of the integration project, completed last year, has already made it possible to access data related to traffic fines in each emirate.

Al Behroozian said that renewal of Dubai-registered vehicles could be done in Abu Dhabi and vice versa. The same rule would apply to all other emirates too.

"Hundreds of thousands of motorists will benefit from this facility as it will make [it] very convenient for them to renew [the] registration of their cars at the closest available facility," he added.

He advised motorists to use the online vehicle registration service.

Online facility

"[The] registration fac-ility is available online — motorists do not have to go to RTA offices in person for the annual vehicle registration. Motorists just have to take their vehicles for the annual road worthiness tests and then complete the rest of the procedure online. Those who own vehicles up to three years old are exempt from testing.

"They can renew their registration online without taking their vehicles to testing centres," he said.

Al Behroozian reiterated that motorists must renew registrations within one month of their expiry to avoid confiscation of vehicles.

"We have the authority to close the files and confiscate vehicles whose registrations have expired for more than one year," he said.

The move comes as more than 80,000 vehicles with expired registration were found on Dubai roads, posing a danger to road users.

Tasjeel extends working hours at Al Qusais site

Dubai: Tasjeel, a joint venture of ENOC and Road Transport Authority (RTA) for speedy and hassle-free vehicle testing and registration services, has extended the working hours at its Al Qusais site from 7 am to 12 am, working through three shifts.

Motorists now have the convenience of meeting all their vehicle testing and registration service needs through extended hours thus reducing waiting time and speeding up the process. Tasjeel is evaluating the possibility of extending the working hours at its other sites too.

Ayas Bin Hendi, General Manager of Tasjeel, said: “The extended working hours at our Al Qusais has been implemented to further enhance customer convenience. It is part of our strategy to implement more customer-friendly services.”

The Tasjeel Qusais site, earlier functioning only till 9 pm, will have three shifts and will offer the entire range of services.

Tasjeel offers a wide range of facilities for customers to complete the vehicle testing and registration process swiftly.

The amenities include an ENOC/EPPCO service station, convenience store, insurance booth, document typing booth and number plate factory.

The Tasjeel sites are in Al Qusais, Al Barsha, Al Aweer, Warsan, Sharjah Auto Village, Jebel Ali, Khorfakkan and Hatta.

Tasjeel, last year, celebrated its tenth anniversary and also introduced its second mobile vehicle inspection service where registration cards can be issued at customers’ premises.

RTA move to deny insurance to cars with expired registrationRTA move to deny insurance to cars with expired registration

Dubai: The Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) is in talks with insurance companies asking them not to insure vehicles with expired registration, a senior official has said.

"We are trying to develop a mechanism with the help of insurance companies to stop insurance of vehicles after expiry of their registration because such vehicles pose a serious threat to road users," said Ahmad Hashim Behroozian, Chief Executive Officer of the RTA's Licensing Agency.

He told Gulf News in an exclusive interview that the move was part of the campaign to encourage motorists to register their vehicles on time. "There are more than 80,000 vehicles in Dubai with expired registration as the owners including individuals and companies avoid registering for various reasons, mainly due to hefty fines," he noted.

Strict control

Behroozian said that the Licensing Agency has also started allowing payment of fines in instalments in case a motorist or company has hefty fines. An individual motorist can pay in equal instalments in case of having fines of a minimum Dh5,000 while instalments are offered to companies if their vehicles have accumulated fines of Dh30,000 and above. The traffic fines include fines issued by the police and the RTA including Salik and parking fines.

"We are going to have strict control on vehicle registration as we have taken up the matter with the federal insurance authority to develop a new strategy regarding vehicle insurance with expired registration," he added.

The RTA has also sought from the federal government a law for heavy fines on unregistered vehicles and for delaying registration. Currently, there is a fine of Dh20 per month if the vehicle registration is delayed.

Motorists get one month's grace period to get their vehicle registered after the registration expiry date. "We are also working closely with the Dubai Police to spot vehicles with expired registration and heavy fines are issued."

Expired registration

The number of vehicles with expired registration is about eight per cent of the total registered vehicles in Dubai. The total number of vehicles registered in Dubai reached 1,021,880 in 2009 compared to 996,997 in 2008 — an increase of 2.5 per cent or 24,884 new vehicles.

Behroozian said that the RTA would also stop accepting insurance policies for vehicles physically as all insurance companies are required to send the vehicle insurance online after February 11.

"We have asked insurance companies to link their computer systems with the Licensing Agency and make the policies available online," he said.

Quad bike: Rules being reviewed

The RTA is reviewing quad bike registration rules to encourage more people to use the service, Ahmad Hashim Behroozian, Chief Executive Officer of the RTA's Licensing Agency, has said.

"Based on our customers' feedback, we are considering reducing the registration fee and also considering either doing away with technical testing or making it easier," he said.

Apr 25, 2010

Grace period to renew expired vehicle registrations in UAE

Abu Dhabi: Motorists with expired registrations are urged to renew them to avoid their vehicle's being immediately impounded if they are caught by police.

The grace period for renewing expired registrations have been extended until June this year starting from May 1.

Abu Dhabi Police had launched a campaign to crack down on expired registrations.

Vehicles with expired registrations will be impounded as part of the campaign.

The Abu Dhabi Police Traffic and Patrol Department extended the grace period after many car owners requested a longer time to re-register their vehicles.

Crowds

This initiative comes to help the procedure of renewing registrations and cut the crowds expected at Adnoc vehicle testing centres.

Colonel Hussain Ahmad Al Harithi, Director of the Traffic and Patrol Department said he hoped all drivers and vehicle owners will make use of the extended time given to them for renewing their registrations and pay their fines.

He urged them to not to postpone renewal procedures until the last days of the extension period.

Colonel Al Harithi said that after this grace period no exemptions will be made and traffic patrols will be intensified on both external and city roads in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, and the Western Region.

Both civilian and military patrols will take part in issuing fines and impounding vehicles with expired registrations.

Violating vehicle owners will be impounded immediately, including any vehicle which is over one month after its registration renewal date.

Colonel Al Harithi asked all drivers to carry their driving license and car registrations, as any driver not carrying these documents will be given a violation ticket and may be delayed temporarily with his vehicle until the papers are produced.

Colonel Al Harithi also explained that all traffic campaigns are for enhancing traffic safety for all, and that the cooperation of the public with the police will make roads safer.

Apr 22, 2010

Entire police force to watch roads for unsafe drivers

Dubai: Drivers beware. The next time you weave through lanes, be aware that chances are now greater for a police officer to flag you down for violating Dubai's traffic rules.

A new rule implemented beginning this week gives the approximately 20,000 members of the Dubai Police force the authority to issue traffic fines and impound vehicles whose registration has expired.

Earlier, only traffic police officers totalling about 800 could issue such fines.

The new regulation is aimed at curbing the number of road violations and ensure motorists are more conscious of their driving, said Major General Mohammad Saif Al Zafein, Director of the General Department of Traffic at Dubai Police.

All access

"Any officer stopping a motorist for any road violation will have access to his/her traffic violation record and will be able to issue a fine or take action in coordination with the traffic department," said Al Zafein.

Senior traffic officers will monitor the roads day and night. "I will personally take to the roads to monitor the driving of motorists and issue fines. This is being done to change the general perception about senior officers and that it is the duty of every officer to monitor driving habits. And I believe when motorists see that officers are present to ensure they follow the rules they will be more conscious," Al Zafein said.

In the first quarter of 2009, the total number of traffic fines issued totalled 727,054. This year, the figures dropped to 608,776.

This drop in fines is attributed to many reasons but one of them is due to the increase in patrols monitoring the streets.

"Patrol units from police stations backed-up traffic officers to curb violations," he said.

According to Al Zafein, the number of on-the-spot fines issued to motorists in the first quarter this year reached 278,964, compared to 251,336 in the same period last year.

Truck drivers committed 6,416 offences in the first quarter of 2010 compared to 1,852 during the same period in 2009. There were 3,884 motorists who were caught jumping red lights in the first quarter of 2010 compared to 2,612 in 2009.

"The number of accidents and injuries has decreased, and that is because a lot of people are taking more precautions now, such as fastening their seatbelts," said Al Zafein.

  • 800: traffic police officers in Dubai
  • 20,000: approximate number of personnel in police force
  • 608,776: traffic fines issued in first quarter
  • 278,964: on-the-spot traffic fines issued

First quarter traffic violators

The three most dangerous roads with the highest number of fatalities are Emirates road, Dubai Bypass road and Dubai-Al Ain road.

In the first quarter of 2010, 62 people were killed whereas it was 69 in the first period of 2009

"The most dangerous road in the emirate so far is the Emirates road which holds the highest number of fatalities. This is for several reasons such as the existence of both trucks and cars on one road, and the reckless driving that occurs there," according to Maj Gen Mohammad Saif Al Zafein, Director of the General Department of Traffic at Dubai Police.

The indicator of traffic fatalities that the department aims to reach is 11.8 person for every 100,000 of the population a decline to last year's indicator which reached 12.9.

"From the statistics of the first quarter of 2010 it is idealistic to meet this indicator thus we have a range from 11.8 to 12.5," said Maj Gen Al Zafein.

Dubai firm offers cash for old phones

Dubai: Perfectly good phones being dumped into landfill sites can have far longer lives than the world average of 12 to 18 months.

In the UAE this is six to eight months, but now mobile phones will get a second lease of life.

Zonzoo, a mobile phone recycling company and Enviroserve, which operates in Dubai under its brand name Envirofone, is offering ‘cash for phones' to anyone who donates a phone to be recycled.

Many of the metals used to produce mobile phones are becoming scarce, or just too environmentally damaging to recover.

Charity

Millions of phones are just lying around and the danger is that many will eventually end up in land fill sites.

Phones that cannot be refurbished, or easily reused, will be stripped down for these components and disposed of accordingly.

The company sells working mobile phones to developing countries.

Zonzoo will pay consumers the value of their phone, and donate two per cent of that to charities Senses and Gulf For Good.

For more information and to check the value of your old phones visit www.zonzoo.me

Cities in region face floods if sea level rises modestly

Abu Dhabi: Even a modest sea level rise could spell trouble for low-lying cities such as Abu Dhabi, an academician has warned.

"Abu Dhabi is vulnerable to any change in sea level. Even a modest rise in the sea level could potentially lead to perfect storm conditions," Professor David Holland, Director of the Centre for Atmosphere-Ocean Science at New York University, said. "At present there is, however, no credible projection of the sea level rise that could be expected and when," he added.

He was in the capital last Sunday to deliver a lecture, organised by his university on ‘A Tale of Two Cities, and of Climate Change: Future Sea Level Projections in New York and Abu Dhabi'.

The current sea level rise projections need to be perfected by collecting more information, most importantly regarding the melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, he said.

The UN's Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change predicted a sea level rise of 0.37 to 0.59 metre by 2100 in its fourth assessment report in 2007.

But the report was criticised for not having included the impact of these two massive ice sheets.

Predicting the sea level rise could be based on a continuation of weather forecasts (which predicted a 30 cm rise at the turn of the century) on global warming due to increasing greenhouse gases (which predict a 20-60cm rise) or the melting of ice sheets, he explained.

The most plausible cause of rising sea levels could be the melting of the ice sheets, Holland, like most climate scientists, believes.

"It is also the most uncertain number yet," said the expert, who has been researching these ice sheets for a long period.

At least ten years of data collection is required in order to make reliable computer simulation models. While Abu Dhabi is susceptible to flooding, it is no more vulnerable than other cities around the world located at sea level, such as New York, Holland said.

Up to 6% of UAE at risk

Abu Dhabi: As much as 6 per cent of the UAE's land area could be flooded by 2100 if the worst-case scenario of a nine-metre rise in the sea level comes true, according to a government study published in January.

The study titled ‘Climate Change: Impacts, Vulnerability and Adaptation' was published by the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD) with the help of researchers from the US-based Stockholm Environment Institute.

Significant built-up areas in coastal regions will be inundated, even if there is only a small rise of one metre, it says.

Since scientists are not certain of the rise in sea levels caused by continued melting of the glaciers, the study envisages two possible scenarios — a rise of two metres by 2100 if there is no accelerated ice cap melting, and a rise of nine metres if there is.

A two-metre rise would flood 1,155 square km, or 1 per cent of the land, while a nine-metre rise would inundate close to 5,000 square km, which is 6 per cent of the land.


Apr 21, 2010

Internet disruption in UAE not yet fixed

Abu Dhabi. The damaged submarine data cable in the Mediterranean Sea, which caused disruptions in UAE internet traffic last week, is still not fixed, telecom provider Etisalat said on Tuesday. Initially, the repair ship was expected to arrive at the site of the broken cable last Saturday and fix it by Tuesday, but the ship has been delayed. Etisalat said the cable will "most likely" be fixed by April 27 as the ship is now scheduled to arrive at the location by April 24 to undertake repairs. The SEAMEWE-4 consortium, operator of the cable, has mobilised its cable repair ship to carry out repair work on priority basis, according to a statement issued by Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited. Pakistan is also affected by the fault as are several other Middle East countries. Etisalat said it has added new international alternative marine cable routes over the last two days, which has "significantly enhanced" the internet streaming services such as Youtube site access.

"Etisalat customers did not face major slowdowns in internet browsing owing to its robust network with multiple redundant links to major global internet hubs in Asia, Europe, and USA. Etisalat re-routed traffic to ensure that internet services would remain operational in the UAE," an Etisalat spokesperson said.

Worker health cards within 30 days of joining mandatory

Dubai: Workers should obtain occupational health cards within 30 days of joining, according to an administrative decisions issued to amend the previous decision.

Eng. Hussain Nasser Lootah, Director General of Dubai Municipality, issued an administrative decision to amend the administrative decision No. 69 of 2010 that amended the administrative decision No. 30 of 2003. It had issued Executive Regulations for the Local Order No. 11 of 2003 on public health and safety of the community in the Emirate of Dubai.

The purposes of the new decision is to replace the text of Article 48 of the original administrative decision with the new text, which reads: "The competent department issues public health and occupational health cards for workers in establishments in accordance with the procedures adopted by it in this regard. In this regard, the establishment should see to it that it submits application to obtain the card within a period of maximum of 30 days from the date of joining of the worker with the establishment for employment as it is mandatory to obtain this card."

It should also be taken into account that the card shall be valid for one year from the date of issuance, and it should be renewed within a maximum period of 30 days from the date of expiry.

Nol cards can now be used to pay for parking

Dubai: ‘Park and Ride' service for Metro commuters has been made even easier as motorists can use Nol Cards in Dubai's paid parking zones.

"Yes, the pre-paid Nol card can be used to pay parking fees in all the paid parking zones in Dubai," said Abdullah Al Madani, Chief Executive Officer of Corporate Technical Support Services.

Using a Nol card is simple. Just insert the card in the slot in the parking machine, which will read the card for the available balance. Then press the button to purchase the ticket.

Al Madani said it would be a great convenience for motorists who want to park their cars and use public transport, including the Metro, buses and water transport.

"Now commuters can use only one card to use the public transport and also pay parking fee," he added.

He said Nol cards would be upgraded to use for multiple services in future.

Parking for Metro users is free only at dedicated areas at Al Rashidiya and Nakheel Harbour and Tower Stations.

Move welcomed

Commuters have welcomed the new move and said it would make their lives easier as they will not have to buy different cards or find coins to pay parking fees.

"It is a great move and should have been publicised to make the people aware about this service," said Ashley, a Filipina.

Many motorists, especially those using the Metro, are already using Nol cards to pay parking fees. But the majority of motorists still do not know about the service. "I came to know from one of my friends that the Metro travel cards can be used to pay parking fee. I tried and it did work," said Faisal Shaikh, an Indian salesman.

It may be mentioned here that minimum parking fee in Dubai has already been increased to Dh2 per hour since last month. The step was taken to standarise the fee as earlier parking fee in some areas was only Dh1 per hour.

There are now various options to pay for parking. In addition to using coins, a motorist can also use various types of pre-paid cards and seasonal cards. They can also pay by using the mParking service, which enables motorists to pay using their mobile phones.

One type of parking card is for a shorter periods and is available in denominations of Dh30, Dh50 and Dh100. They can be used at parking meters to get parking tickets.

Seasonal cards are available for three, six and 12 months ranging from Dh450 to Dh2,500. These cards are fixed to the windscreen. They can be used to park round-the-clock.

Cards of Category A can be used to park anywhere in Dubai and costs Dh700 for three months, Dh1,300 for six months and Dh2,500 for one year.

Cards of Category B can be used only in large parking areas and cost Dh450, Dh800 and Dh1,500 respectively.

The paid parking system in Dubai started in the Central Business District (CBD) of Deira in 1995 with the installation of 40 parking meters. It has been continually extended in phases to areas outside the CBD as the city grew in terms of population, buildings and vehicles.

Dubai currently has more than 80,000 paid parking areas.

Apr 19, 2010

Two million non-residents move through sea ports

Dubai: Around two million transactions were done by the sea ports section of Dubai residency department in 24 months, said a senior Ministry of Interior official.

Major General Mohammad Ahmad Al Merri, Director General of Dubai General Department for Residency and Foreigners Affairs told Gulf News yesterday that around two million transactions were done in the past two years at Dubai seaports for tourists, travellers and sailors.

"Out of the two million transactions, 462,635 transactions were done for tourists," he said.

He said the tourists came on 153 cruises. The number of tourists increased in 2009 to be double the number of tourists who came to the country through seaports in 2008.

He said out of 105,785 transactions which were done for different sea transports, there were 52,446 arrivals and 53,339 departures.

During his tour to the seaports, Major General Al Merri visited the new tourism building and met tourists coming aboard the ship Costa Lemonoza.

Major General Al Merri said Dubai became a tourist destination for people coming from all over the world to enjoy the sun as well as the sea.

Major General Al Merri also followed up during his tour the work at Al Shindagha port and Al Hamriya port and Rashid Port where he checked the iris scan and wanted people sections.

Major General Al Merri inaugurated the arrival electronic screen at Rashid port.

"This screen will show the name and the time of the arriving ship," he said.

He also visited Jebel Ali residency section to check on the transactions being done there.

Major General Al Merri urged the residency staff at the seaport to be up to the responsibility and to keep in offering best services to the public and the tourists.

UAE to issue visas for stranded travellers

Dubai: People stranded at UAE airports due to the volcanic ash will be issued the 96 hours visa at the airport, in an effort to ease their travelling procedures.

Lieutenant General Shaikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, has instructed concerned authorities to facilitate the visa process for people affected by the crisis.

Affected people can approach the passport control officer upon their arrival at the airport and can be issued visa according to the 96 hours visa rules.

Shaikh Saif’s humanitarian initiative comes in line with the UAE’s keenness to help affected people, ease their visa procedures and alleviate their ordeal.

Tim Clark, President of Emirates said: "About 30 of our aircraft are grounded which represents about a fifth of our fleet".

Emirates is losing about $10 million (about Dh37 million) in revenue a day, plus another $1 million (about Dh3.7 million) a day that it is paying to accommodate Emirates passengers, Clark said in a statement.

Flights from the UAE to Europe will resume only after airports are reopened. No schedule has yet been given.

Germany's Lufthansa and Air Berlin said that decisions to close airspace were not based on proper testing and that their aircraft showed no signs of damage after test flights without passengers.

"The flight ban, made just on the basis of computer calculations, is resulting in billion-high losses for the economy," Lufthansa spokesman Klaus Walter was quoted as saying.

By some estimates, between 35-40 per cent of the world's goods move by air.

Scientists have said the Icelandic eruptions could continue on and off for months, potentially meaning more delays and closures.

The International Air Transport Association has warned that the travel mayhem was costing airlines more than $200 million (about Dh735 million) a day.

Apr 14, 2010

Women to get UAE visa rule boost

Abu Dhabi: The Ministry of Labour plans to relax transfer of workers between companies to lessen dependency on foreign recruitment, a top official said on Sunday.

"A draft decision was submitted to the Cabinet to reduce fees for transfer of workers between companies to increase the productivity of the local work-force and thus reduce our dependency on foreign recruitment," Saqr Gobash Saeed Gobash, Minister of Labour, said.

Gobash said a study of the current fees for certain measures showed discouragement of the optimal use of the local workforce and the backing of dependency on foreign recruitment.

"So we thought of a number of measures to address this issue, which will be announced once the Cabinet approves them," he said.

The minister also changed the rules, allowing female expatriates who are under the sponsorship of their mothers, brothers, uncles or other family members, to work in the country.

The rules will be applicable to any woman who has a valid residency in the country regardless of the kin relationship of her sponsor.

Earlier only expatriate women under the sponsorship of their father or husband were allowed to work in the UAE. Under the labour law no expatriates are allowed to work in the country unless they obtain a work permit and labour card.

Gobash said these rules have also social aspect to provide women with jobs to help them lead a dignified and decent life.

UAE laws do not allow expatriates' families to sponsor a male after the age of 18 years, but females can continue to be sponsored until they get married, when the sponsorship is usually transferred from her father to her husband.

3,000 typing centres hit by Ministry move

Sharjah: Thousands of people are set to lose their jobs as the Ministry of Labour in Sharjah has blocked its online connection to typing centres in the emirate and announced only one typing centre will handle its applications.

The typing centres, including those in Kalba and Khor Fakkan, were suddenly blocked from accessing the Ministry's online system on March 10, without any announcement, said owners of the centres.

More than 3,000 typing centres in Sharjah will be affected by the Ministry's decision. Typing centres usually fill out the applications for various services for workers and companies, such as applying for new labour cards and labour permits, and collect the application fees on behalf of the Ministry.

Restrict

"More than 12,000 people will lose their jobs," said an owner of a typing centre in Sharjah.

"We were not informed about this. Suddenly the Ministry of Labour transaction systems in our offices stopped. When we checked with the labour department in Sharjah they said they had no clue," he said.

He then went to the Ministry of Labour headquarters in Dubai to inquire, but a senior official said he too did not know anything about the issue.

"We were not given time or a chance to do anything in this regard. The Ministry just forced us not to work and has given all the business to one private typing centre, owned by one person only," said another owner of a typing centre in Sharjah.

"We will lose our jobs. We have families here. We have children who go to schools and we have our dues and duties as parents," he said.

He said there are about 5,000 typing centres in the country and 3,000 of them are located in Sharjah.

Earlier, Humaid Bin Deemas, acting director in the Ministry of Labour said that the Ministry would restrict typing services to one office.

He said the Ministry wanted only one comprehensive office which would offer services to the public.

The Ministry of Labour has already closed down typing centres in Ajman and restricted it to one centre, owned by one person.

Abu Dhabi tried the same thing recently, but now lets the typing centres manage the application process.

Authorities round up illegal residents in Dubai

Dubai: Around 4,000 illegal overstayers and border jumpers were arrested in Dubai in the past three months, said a senior official from the Ministry of Interior.

Major General Mohammad Ahmad Al Merri, Director-General of Dubai General Department for Residency and Foreigners Affairs, said 4,006 illegals and infiltrators were caught by residency department inspectors who were able to arrest these people in the past three months.

"Out of those illegals, the inspection patrols arrested 754 women and 3,252 men.

He said they were apprehended in 64 inspection campaigns in different areas in Dubai.

"We will be very strict against all those who try to enter the country illegally or stay here illegally," he said.

Al Merri made the statement while visiting the Follow Up and Investigation Department in Al Aweer Jail. He also visited the male and the female detention cells at the deportation jail in Al Aweer.

He called on the public to call 800-5111 for any complaints about the department or to report illegals.

Al Merri said all staff at the Follow Up and Investigation Department should know how to handle residency issues and cases.

Apr 6, 2010

Dewa to offer residency, visa services

Dubai: Public can now make their residency and visa applications at Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) offices following the opening of a new section — the Dubai General Department for Residency and Foreigners Affairs — at Dewa headquarters, east of Zabeel.

In its efforts to strengthen cooperation with strategic partners, Dewa opened an office for the residency department following the signing of a memorandum of understanding on Monday.

The office will offer all related residency services to the public.

Saeed Mohammad Al Tayer, Managing Director of Dewa, said the authority will provide the necessary support and facilities for the residency office.

Major-General Mohammad Al Merri, director-general of the residency department said the office will provide services to public services from 7.30am to 8pm.

He said that the department's offices numbered 23 in total.

Identity card to be mandatory for range of services in UAE

Abu Dhabi: Residents who have not obtained an ID card will not receive services from the Ministry of Interior (MoI) (apart from visa issuing and renewal) or licensing services of police departments in all emirates, a senior official told Gulf News on Thursday.

All residents in the UAE should produce the ID card with immediate effect, said Dr Ali Al Khoori, acting director general of Emirates Identity Authority (EIDA).

Except for issuance and renewal of residence visas, the ID card has been made mandatory for other services such as driving licence applications and vehicle registrations.

This also applies to the renewal of vehicle registration, applications of certificates of good conduct from the police, licensing of private security companies, issuance of arms licenses and certificates from civil defence authorities to certify that safety and security conditions are met at office facilities, the official explained.

The official explained that the ID card should be produced for driving licence applications, vehicle registration and renewal in all emirates including Dubai, where the Roads and Transport Authority is responsible for these services.

"We have communicated this decision to RTA which will take it into account," Al Khoori said.

Al Khoori aaid the move is an extension of a Ministry of Interior decision in November 2009 for four northern emirates — Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah, Ajman and Umm Al Quwain.

The ministry had made it mandatory for all residents in the four northern emirates to have an ID card from November 22, 2009, before receiving services apart from issuance and renewal of residence visas.

At the time, residents of Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah were temporarily exempted.

Al Khoori said EIDA expects more applicants to visit its registration centres following the announcement.

"Our registration centres have the capacity to handle 7,000 registrations a day, but only 3,500 people turn up these days", he said. "So we can handle 3,500 more people a day very easily." He added that capacity could exceed 7,000 when the new strategy is implemented.

ID compulsory for this services

  • Driving license application
  • vehicle registration
  • vehicle registration renewal
  • certificate of good conduct from the police
  • licensing of private security companies
  • issuance of arms licenses
  • certificate from civil defense

Iris scan checks entry of illegals into UAE

Abu Dhabi: Since its installation in 2002, the Iris scan technology has helped prevent over 235,000 people from entering the UAE illegally, police announced yesterday.

The technology has been highly successful in securing UAE's borders and entry points, Major General Ahmad Nasser Al Raisi, the Director General of Abu Dhabi Police Central Operations said in a press statement.

In order to apply the system on the passport counters at various entry points, studies to use new cameras to capture the image of the iris from a distance is currently under way.

"Iris scan system currently used at various ports of the country has achieved amazing results and proved high efficiency in arresting deported people of different nationalities who attempted to enter UAE after forging their passports and obtaining new visit or work visas", he said.

Before the implementation of the iris scan, a foreigner expelled from UAE could go back to his country, change his name, get a new passport and return to the country. The challenging situation led to the use of iris prints which, being unique to each individual, helps identify such cases in real time.

Police stations

As many as 26 new iris scan stations will be set up in police stations in the capital this year. The move will help ensure that criminals who are arrested and deported do not return, Al Raisi said.

Also, it will help to document people who are arrested without identification documents.

"So far, over 1,894,926 iris prints have been collected from 947,463 people. Out of this, 235,000 people were deported and are not allowed to enter UAE", he said.

Authorities are now trying to collect maximum number of iris prints from residents, in order to improve safety and security of the country, he noted.

Using special cameras, the iris of the eye is photographed. This is saved in the form of mathematical codes. When necessary, officials can cross check the prints to identify suspects in a matter of few seconds.