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Emirates Identity Card to be mandatory for basic services in UAE

As the deadline for Emirates Identity Card registration has been extended till June 30, 2011, the authorities are determined to get all expats to be registered else they may experience denial of basic services. For example:

– Dubai Courts have made the ID card mandatory for Emiratis to access its services.

– Ministry of Interior made it mandatory for all residents (both Emiratis and expatriates) in four northern emirates to have an ID card from November 22, 2009, to avail of its services, except for visa renewal. The list of services include driving licence application, vehicle registration, renewal and several others in Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah, Ajman and Umm Al Quwain.

– ID card is mandatory to access traffic services in Abu Dhabi, including driving licence and vehicle registration.

– Abu Dhabi Distribution Company announced last week that the card will soon be mandatory to access its utility services.

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Emirates Identity Card deadline extended, but with a twist

Emirates Identity Card

Finally, the authorities have listened to the cries of expats and have taken some measures to provide relief to their misery.

It is reported that the deadline for registration of Emirates Identity Cards has been extended to June 30, 2011.

The announcement came after it was reported that chaos ensued at certified typing centres across the country as thousands of expatriates rushed to complete the pre-registration process before the December 31 deadline.

However, the deadline extension came with a twist. It has now been confirmed that, from the next year, EID card will be mandatory to avail various services across UAE. This includes the driving license / traffic services, renewal of residency / labor card, accessing water and electric facilities and other dealing with government departments.

It is now required that the authorities should also plan to further simplify the process of registration for Emirates Identity Card, making it as hassle free as possible.

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Emirates ID Card Deadline Gets Another Shuffle

The deadline for Emirates ID Card is becoming a matter of joke now. The EIDA has came a long way from its initial stance of issuing threats to expats and locals unable to registerd of the card by December 31, 2008. However, the deadline kept changing and extensions were provided due to number of reasons including issues with EIDA registration systems, incompetency of EIDA staff to handle load and inability of EIDA to motivate locals and expats both to get registered on time.

Now, as Khaleej Times quotes Darwish Ahmed Al Zarouni, director-general of the Emirates Identity Authority (EIDA), , Expatriates residing in the UAE can obtain their national ID cards until the end of 2010. While the nationals can apply for the ID cards until the end of March 2009, failing which a fine of Dh1,000 will be imposed on each individual.

Previously EIDA blamed expats of being complacent and not taking the deadlines seriously. Now, media is also included in the blame game as Al Zarouni accuses media of misreporting the deadline.

“Deadlines have been wrongly reported by a cross-section of the English and Arabic media in the country. But, once and for all, let me put the record straight, that all non-nationals residing in the UAE have until the end of 2010 to apply for their ID cards”.

Al Zarouni recommended that non-national professional residents working in the private sector, and their family members, register before the February 28 deadline. He, however, added that if they fail to register, they could do it at their convenience by the end of 2010.

Issuing a warning to the companies, he said:

“If the companies fail to cooperate, there is a possibility that they would be denied access to various important services in the country. It’s a bit too early to comment on the consequences faced by the establishments, if they failed to comply with the rules”.

EIDA revamping Emirates ID Card System

After the rigorous experimentation with ID Card process, on the expense of expats’ sufferings, the Emirates Identity Authority (EIDA) is revamping the appointment and process of Emirates ID Card system.

The revamp will open a year-long calendar (for appointments), increase the number of centres handling applicants and allocate more capacity for registration for appointments. The applicants will also be able to track the status of their applications online.

More centres will handle the appointment system instead of about ten centres (out of a total 28) at present and more than 50 per cent of the registration capacity will be allocated to handling appointments, he said.

With the online tracking system, the applicants can find out the status of their card [after registration] – whether it is at the verification stage, print, packaging or has been handed over to Empost for delivery.

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Emirates ID Card deadline for Locals extended by 3 months

After tall claims and stern warnings, EIDA’s fall short in achieving the impossible. UAE government has extended deadline for Emirates ID Card registration for nationals by 3 months.

A UAE Interior Ministry statement said:

Citizens who were unable to register “for identity card will have sufficient time to register before fines can be imposed”,

The decision was issued by the Cabinet on the instructions of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

This decision has proved yet again the short sightedness of actions taken by the government. They set unrealistic deadlines and push public to meet them against warnings of heavy fines and punishments. If rulers of Dubai and UAE should first check ground realities and then set deadlines, they don’t have to extend them in first place and it will also save the public from loads of stress.

EIDA accuses Expatriates of being Complacent

Well, anybody who have applied for the Emirates ID Card, in past two months, is well aware of the inefficiency of the process. From a website that stucks most of the time, to staff that is unable to manage pressure, EIDA has failed to meet its own defined deadlines.

First EIDA set unrealistic deadlines for the expatriates to get registered for Emirates ID Cards. Then, they applied pressure tactics by announcement of fines and barring services like bank transactions etc. When the panicked expats started to rush EIDA registration centers, the system collapsed under the pressure and they have to announced an extension of deadline.

However, now EIDA accuses expatriates of getting complancent following the announcement about no fines and the granting of more time. Thamer Rashid Al Qasimi, Planning Director and Project Management Director at (EIDA), says:

“About 493,000 of the estimated 600,000 expatriate professionals (by November 30, 2008) are left to register before February 28, 2009 but very few of them turn up these days.”

He cautioned that even if there are no fines, the ID card is the official identification document of expatriate professionals from January 1, 2009, and if any official body demands it for any transactions, EIDA will not be responsible.

Instead of accusing the expatriate community, EIDA officials should set realistic deadlines. It would be better if the ID cards were issues at time of visa renewal, rather than making the whole process another cause of suffering for the expatriates.

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More on Emirates ID Card extension

As noted earlier, due to failure in meeting its targets, EIDA has extended the registration deadline for professional expatriates from December 31, 2008 to February 28, 2009. However they are still playing with words, saying they have rescheduled the dates for ID card registration.

Now the registration of expatriates working in the government sector and all professional expatriates (Category 1) will continue till February 28, 2009.

Registration of Category 2 – which includes administrative staff in private sector (translators, secretaries, typists, storekeepers and receptionists) and students – will start on March 1 and will continue until June 18.

From June 20 to September 30, Category 3 can register. Category 3 includes private and public transport drivers, unskilled or semi-skilled workers in private sector, like housemaids or servants, cleaners, farmers, fishermen, security guards, watchmen and other labourers.

Construction workers in the private sector, under Category 4, have been allotted the longest time frame: from October 1, 2009 to December 31, 2010.

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EIDA failing to meet targets for Emirates ID Card

EIDA officials are still presistent that there will be no change in December 31 deadline and Dhs 1,000 fine will be imposed on Emiratis unable to register for their ID cards by the deadline.

Target for December 31, 2008:

– Emiratis 825,000
– Expatriate Professionals 600,000

Registration completed by November 30, 2008:

– Emiratis 596,000
– Expatriate professionals 107,000
– GCC nationals 8,000

Residents yet to register:

– Emirates 229,000 left
– Expatriate professionals 493,000 left
– Total remaining: 722,000

This implies that EIDA has to register at least 38,000 residents per day, without any day off, to meet the targets.

Emirates ID Card registration date not extended, but extended?

Yeah, as confusing as it may sound, that’s how it is.

Darwish Ahmad Al Zarouni, Director-General of the EIDA, says,

“We will announce the time frame for new categories of expatriates on February 1, 2009, but the registration will continue (for the existing category) throughout the month of January.”

This means that EIDA has not extended the deadline but in effect provided a month long grace period for registration.

This also means that expartirate professionals who are not rushing for ID card registration now, standing in long queues and waiting for hours to go through the registration process, may face less rush when they visit registration centers, past December 31 deadline.

However, this can backfire too as everybody starts thinking on the same lines and wait for the deadline to pass. In that case, EIDA is going to have its hands full post December 31.

Confusing, isn’t it?