UAE abandons plans to force expat ID cards by December

ID Card

The Emirates Identity Authority (EIDA) has announced it will not be going forward with its previous plan of requiring all expatriates to have a valid Emirate ID card by the end of this year.

Originally the EIDA wanted all residents to have ID cards by 31 December 2010 at the latest, however that plan has been scrapped in favour of a three year process that will see all expats receive ID cards as they receive, or renew, visas.

Apparently 9 out of ten expats have yet to get their cards, with many citing arduous waits involving queuing in offices and struggling to download online forms as a reason for not having the cards. In light of this a more streamlined process has been introduced to help people go ahead with their applications.

These plans involve listing all the places where people can go to complete forms on the EIDA website, according to the site there are over 300 centres and facilities where applicants can register. There, they can fill out electronic forms on site with the help of EIDA staff, the site says that the waiting time at these centres should be no longer than six minutes.

It is hoped that eventually the cards will be used as a ‘regional passport’ usable for all manner of services including financial transactions, in libraries and as a health card.