Expats caught between losing their passports and not meeting EIDA deadline

Emirates Identity Card

Emirates ID Card is one project that proves the efficiency of the authorities running the UAE. It also shows how much they are empathetic towards the expatriate population, who provides the blood and bone to the UAE economy.

Since the Emirates ID Card project was launched, it went from one set back to other. Apparently the teething problems are not over yet and although expats are alleged to be complacent, the authorities, namely EIDA, the Emirates Identity Authority, are to blame.

To start off with, it seems that EIDA has not done a critical analysis of the situation and launched its system without considering the load management issue. Instead of going into phases, the system was pushed to full throttle. As soon as the expats, warned and threatened to get their EID cards as soon as possible, queued up to EIDA centers, the system was crippled with overload. Thus begun the misery of expats who called numerous times for inquires, filled thousands of forms online, stood for hours upon hours in queues, only to be asked to wait for some more time. Fortunate were those who got their EID cards in one go.

Recently, in attempt to cut a step from its operational cycle, EIDA introduced “certified” typing centers. The typing centers are designated to scan residents passports, fill out the forms and upload them to EIDA server. By theory, it should work like a charm. But ground realities are quite different.

On December 13, EIDA announced December 31st, 2010 to be the deadline for EID cards. Expats were panicked as there were “rumors” in the air of heavy penalties for those who miss the deadline. Queues started to build at the typing centers who, reaching their limits in mere hours of opening, started to refuse new customers. Some of the typing centers asked the residents to leave their passports with them, for as long as a month, to get the EID card filing done.


Now, the authorities have warned residents not to leave their passports at typing centers, anticipating identity theft. However, the expats are caught between losing their passports at typing centers and not meeting EIDA deadline. They are unsure about the way out, as are the authorities.


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