Emiratis to have ID cards by Oct, or face fines

By Claire Ferris-Lay

Emirates Identity Authority (Eida) has faced an uphill struggle in convincing UAE residents to sign up for the identification cards

Emiratis have until October 31 to register for their Emirates ID card before they will incur fines of AED20 per day, the Emirates Identity Authority (EIDA) said.

Children under the age of 15 years old will be exempt from any penalties until October 1, 2012 while late fees will be introduced in four phases depending on the emirate of residence, EIDA said in a statement on Wednesday.

UAE residents will be charged AED20 per day for failing to register for a card, delaying the renewal of a card, or failure report changes in personal data. Penalties will not exceed AED1,000 and will be collected during the residency visa renewal process from January 2012.

EIDA has faced an uphill struggle in convincing UAE residents to sign up for their mandatory identification cards, despite a series of deadlines.

 Each card contains the holder’s address, photo, date of birth and fingerprints and can be used as an official source of identification in the UAE. The cost for a five-year card is AED100 for Emiratis, while expatriates pay AED100 for each year the card is valid.

In July, Dubai ruled that workers in any of Tecom’s eleven free zones would need to register for an ID card before applying to renew to secure their visa.

Expatriates and Emiratis in the tax-free business parks were told they must register for the identification card before completing the medical tests needed for visa applications.

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EIDA warned all UAE residents in August that they could face daily fines if they failed to possess ID cards, in a move aimed at encouraging residents to sign up for the mandatory scheme.

Fewer than 100,000 UAE nationals have yet to apply for their ID cards, the department said in the statement Wednesday.

Expatriates in the Northern Emirates, employees in the federal and local public sector and semi-government organisations and their families will be issued late fines from December 1, 2011 in the first phase to be rolled out.

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Expatriates living in Sharjah will have until February 1, 2012 to apply for a card before being fined. Expatriates in Abu Dhabi and Dubai have until April 1, 2012 and June 1, 2012, respectively before facing fines for failing to hold a valid ID card.

Residents who already own an ID cards have until October 31, 2011 to apply for new cards expiring up to that date. All card holders, except children under the age of 15, have 30 days to renew their card from the expiry date.

According to EID, the waiting time at registration points has been cut from 30 to five minutes. Residents issued with a receipt following their registration will be exempt from any late penalties, providing they complete the registration by visiting the centre at the appointed time, the agency said.

UAE nationals eligible by social security, those with disabilities or autism will be exempt from registration fees, the statement said.