Emirates ID Guide

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An Emirates ID is a mandatory document issued by the UAE government, namely the Federal Office of Identity and Citizenship, to all UAE citizens and residents (even newborn children). The ID confirms your identity and your personal data across all 7 Emirates in the country. Every individual who permanently resides in the country must apply for this document. In this article, we have prepared a simple guide on how to apply for an ID card, what documents you need to provide, the cost of the procedure, as well as how to replace/renew or dispose of the ID card.

About the Emirates ID

The Emirates ID is an identity document that every citizen and resident of the UAE must possess and is issued by the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA). Even newborns and children must have this type of document. ).Identity cards in the Emirates are not divided by age, but rather by the type of residence:

  • Citizen ID card - for UAE nationals
  • GCC ID card - for GCC nationals living in the UAE
  • Expat ID card - for Expatriate residents
All three types of cards are essentially the same. However, the validity of the Citizen Card depends on the citizen's choice of 5 or 10 years. Whereas a GCC ID is issued only for 5 years and Expat ID’s can be issued for a period of 1, 2 or 3 years.

The Emirates ID consists of several components, which ensure the security and accuracy of the cardholder's information, these are an identification number, electronic chip and personal data. The identification number is one of the most important components of the Emirates ID. With this number, you can receive public services that require the use of an identity card and a personal identification number.The number is issued only once and consists of 15 numbers. The chip contains the ID cardholder's personal information including biometric data and fingerprints. This can be read by machines designed specifically for this purpose and can only be accessed by authorized bodies to provide the holder's information.

In addition to the personal information available on the Emirates ID chip, the cardholder has basic personal data on the front and back of the card. On the front of the ID, in addition to the ID number and chip, there is information such as name, nationality and a photo. On the back, you can see the gender, date of birth, card number and the cardholder's signature.
In November 2020, a new design of identity cards were introduced. They are now provided with additional visual and electronic security features, such as a 3D image of the cardholder and encoded data, which can only be read through the E-link system with the ICA. Such measures have been taken to combat identity fraud.

What the Emirates ID in the UAE is used for

As previously stated, the Emirates ID plays a very important role in the lives of citizens and residents. It is used everywhere, from day-to-day affairs to government services. Here are a few examples of its use:

  • Opening of a bank account in the UAE.
  • Applying for a Dubai driver’s license.
  • Renewing your vehicle registration in Dubai.
  • Pay/connect utilities.
  • Rental or purchase of property.
  • To travel within the GCC for UAE citizens.
  • Usage for eServices.
  • To pass immigration through eGates and smart gates in some of the airports in the UAE.
  • To vote in the Federal National Council for Emirati citizens.
  • For insurance applications.
  • To verify negative COVID-19 results in Dubai airports.

How to apply for an Emirates ID in the UAE

The application process for an Emirates ID is the same for each type. There are 2 ways to apply for an ID card; the first way is online using the ICA website or through the ICA Smart App. To do this, you need to register or log into your account on the ICA website.Then choose the service you need and fill in your personal information. The second way to apply is through the Customer Happiness Centers or printing offices where applicants also need to fill in their personal information and provide the required documents. Note that the process and type of documents may differ from the type of Emirates ID you are applying for.

Note: Only Social Security recipients and people with disabilities are exempt from the ID card fee. They require a white background photo (4.5 cm x 3.5 cm) and a medical certificate from the Ministry of Health or UAE Health Authority.

Citizen ID

To apply for an ID card you need a personal photo of 4.5 cm x 3.5 cm with a white background, an original birth certificate, original passport or ID card of one of the parents if an applicant is under 15 years. If the person is older than 15 years then they will need to take fingerprints and issue a personal photo in the specialized centers that will be indicated in a message that you will receive after an application is made.

After an application is complete, the customer needs to pay the fees: AED 100 (USD 27) for issuing a card for 5 years, AED 200 (USD 55) for 10 years, AED 40 (USD 11) is for the service, AED 30 (USD 8) for Printing Office Fees and AED 150 (USD 40) is for the urgent service. The total price may differ from the service channel. If you are obtaining your ID through the Customer Happiness Center it will be AED 290 for 5 years (+AED 100 for issuing fees, AED 40 for service fees, AED 150 for urgent service) and AED 390 for 10 years. If you are applying through the Smart App the cost will be AED 140 for 5 years (AED 100 issuing fees and AED 40 for service fees) and AED 240 for 10 years. If a customer chooses the Printing Office, the charged fees will be AED 170 for 5 years (AED 100 for issuing fees, AED 40 for service and AED 30 for Printing Office fees) and AED 270 for 10 years.

After an applicant has paid the fees they will receive a message confirming that the application is received and will also contain information on the next steps an applicant must take. The Emirates ID is issued within 24 hours in cases where the registration is through the Customer Happiness Centers, and in 5 working days if it was done through other service channels. When your ID is ready you will receive an SMS from the ICA indicating that you can receive your ID card at the post office you chose in the application.

Expat ID

Before applying for an Expat ID, residents must first undergo a medical examination at a UAE medical facility and be granted a "Fit" result. You can then apply for the ID through one of the service channels. The documents required for this are an original passport and also an original valid residency or entry permit. For applicants under 15 years, it is also required to provide documents such as a personal photo with a white background, an original passport of either parent and the original birth certificate.

The next step is paying the fees. Expat ID’s can be issued for up to 3 years. For each year of issuance it costs AED 100. An additional AED 40 for service fees, AED 150 for an urgent service and AED 30 for Printing Office fees. If you register through the Customer Happiness Center (urgent) you will be charged AED 290 for 1 year, AED 390 for 2 years and AED 490 for 3 years (AED 100 for issuance for each year + AED 40 for service + AED 150 for urgent service). If the application is made through the website or Smart App the total fees will be AED 140 for 1 year, AED 240 for 2 years and AED 340 for 3 years (AED 100 issuance and AED 40 for service). An application through the Printing Office will cost AED 170 for 1 year, AED 270 for 2 years and AED 370 for 3 years (AED 100 for issuance + AED 40 for service + AED 30 Printing Office fees).

Once the steps are completed you will receive a text message that indicates your application is approved and the next steps you need to take, which will be to take fingerprints and take a photo for those who are older than 15 years old. When your ID is ready you will receive a message again where it will mention the post office location you chose when applying. An express issuance process through the Customer Happiness Centers is only available to expats in case of renewal or replacement of the document (loss, damage). It takes5 working days through other service channels.

GCC ID

To apply for a GCC Emirates ID card you need to provide documents such as an original passport, your GCC ID if you are over 21 and a valid proof of residency (originals of one of the documents - trade license, proof of applicant studies in UAE or UAE government authority employment certificate). If an applicant is under 15 years old, they will need the originals of their birth certificate, the passport or ID card of either of the parents, a personal photo and residency proof from one of the parents.

To complete your application you need to pay the processing fees. AED 100 for card issuance for 5 years, AED 40 service fees, AED 150 urgent service fees and AED 30 is for the Printing Office fees. Since GCC Emirates ID cards are issued only for 5 years the total fees will be AED 290 through the Customer Happiness Centers, AED 140 through the online portal and AED 170 if you are applying through the Printing Offices. The process of application is the same for all types of IDs. GCC ID, as well as Citizen ID. The card will be ready in 24 hours through the Customer Happiness Centers and will be issued in 5 working days through other channels.

Replacing your ID

If you have lost, damaged your Emirates ID or had it stolen by someone else then you should contact the Federal Authority for Citizenship and Identity (ICA) immediately, and report your problem to apply for a change. To do this you will need to:

  1. Report the incident. First, you have to go to an ICA Customer Happiness Centre and let them know what has happened and your card will be deactivated. If the card is damaged you will need to take the old ID with you. Don't forget to bring your other identification documents as well. UAE nationals need to bring an original passport and theirfamily book. GCC nationals need to bring the document that proves their residency in the UAE and residents must provide an original passport with a residency permit in it. If the ID that was damaged, lost or stolen belongs to a child, a parent should bring the original birth certificate of the child and a passport style photo against a white background.
  2. Apply for ID card replacement. You then need to fill an application form at the Customer Happiness Centers, through the ICA website or the app available on Google Play and iTunes.
  3. Pay the fees. To replace a lost or damaged ID, an applicant must pay AED 300 (USD 82) for a replacement, and AED 70 (USD 19) if the application is done through typing centers or AED 40 (USD 11) if it is done through an eForm on the ICA website. If you want to get a new ID at the ICA’s Customer Happiness Centre in the fastest way you need to pay AED 150 (USD 40).
  4. Collect a new ID card. After all three steps are done, you will receive a text from ICA about the status of your application. You can collect it within 48 hours or 24 hours if you paid an additional fee for the express service.

Renewing your ID

If an identity card has expired, the holder must apply to renew it. The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship will send you a message informing you that it is time to renew your ID. UAE nationals can apply for renewal no earlier than 6 months and no later than one month before the document expires. Residents can only apply for a renewal if their residency visa is extended or reissued. Foreigners can extend their dependent's cards themselves. This requires the documents of the person acting on behalf of the sponsor when applying for the creation of the Emirates ID.

Those who have an already expired ID card must apply for an extension within 30 days of the expiration date. If you ignore these requirements, the holder of an expired ID card will be fined daily from AED 20 (USD 5.5) to AED 1,000 (USD 272). The process of renewing the card is actually very simple:

  1. First, you have to choose the channels through which you apply - customer happiness centers, ICA apps, the ICE website or printing offices.
  2. Then you apply either at the centers or online. Once you have submitted the relevant forms and documents, you will need to pay the fees (the same as for creating the Emirates ID).
  3. You will receive messages from the ICA that the application has been successfully accepted. You will then need to have your fingerprints scanned and your photo taken at anFAIC center (for those over 15 years).
  4. You can receive your ID card through the customer happiness centers within 24 hours for an express application or through the post office if you have used other channels.
The documents required to renew your ID card are the same as those required to apply for an Emirates ID card, except that you must also submit the original or the expired card before you can renew it.

Updating details

If your personal details have changed you should contact one of the ICA's customer happiness centers immediately within 30 days of changing your information. You will need your original passport and your old ID to do this. It is worth noting that you cannot update your card information online. This applies to all types of Emirates IDs.

Cancelling Emirates ID

If you cancel your residence visa in order to leave the country, to move or change jobs, you are essentially canceling your Emirates ID as well. To do this, you need to contact the General Directorate for Residency and Foreigners Affairs, who will cancel your visa and collect your card. They will then give the ID card to the authority that issued it - the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship.

Business ID

To start a business in the UAE you will need a license - Business ID. The process of obtaining one and the requirements for this differ depending on the Emirate you want to operate in. An online application for a license is possible but you first need to register on a website appropriate to your Emirate and then maintain your company details in your application. Once you have paid the processing fees you can receive the document. You can contact the Economic Development Department in your Emirate to obtain a Business ID.

Summary

  • An Emirates ID is mandatory for all citizens and residents in the UAE.
  • People can apply for an Emirates ID in two ways - through the ICA website or one of their centers.
  • The identity card is needed for daily life in the UAE - to pay utilities, start a business, and to use government services, etc.
  • In case of loss or damage of the ID card, you need to contact the Federal Authority for Citizenship and Identity.
  • You need to apply for the renewal of your ID card within 30 days of the expiry date or you will be charged with fees.
  • If you want to cancel your ID - contact the General Directorate for Residency and Foreigners Affairs.
  • Contact the Economic Development Department of your Emirate to get a Business ID.

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