• Emirates ID Card Update: Compliance Deadlines Announced, Consolidation with Residence Permit Application Continues
  • November 7, 2011
  • Law Firm: Fragomen Del Rey Bernsen Loewy LLP - New York Office
  • All UAE residents, including foreign and Emirati nationals, must obtain the new Emirates identity card by the prescribed government deadline for a resident's immigration status and place of residence. In Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and the Dubai TECOM Free Trade Zone, the ID card and resident permit processes have recently been consolidated. A similar unified process is in place in Fujairah, Umm Al Quwain, Ajman and Ras Al Khaimah, and is expected to be introduced in Dubai soon.

    ID Card Deadlines and Penalties for Noncompliance

    UAE residents who do not yet have a national identification card must apply for one by the following deadlines, which were recently established by the Emirates Identity Authority (EIDA):

    Residence Category


    Foreign nationals in Dubai

    May 31, 2012

    Foreign nationals in Abu Dhabi

    March 31, 2012

    Foreign nationals in Sharjah

    January 31, 2012

    Foreign nationals in other Emirates

    November 30, 2011

    Emirati Nationals

    October 31, 2011

    Individuals had until October 31, 2011 to renew existing Emirates ID cards if they expired prior to that date. Children under the age of 15 do not have to obtain an Emirates ID Card, but they must register with the EIDA by October 31, 2012. Starting January 1, 2012, foreign nationals may be unable to renew their residence permits in the UAE if they have not obtained an Emirates ID card.

    To keep up with demand for the new cards, the EIDA has opened new biometrics locations at government offices in various Emirates and free trade zones, in shopping malls in Abu Dhabi and at a large processing center in Al Rahmania, Sharjah.

    Individuals who fail to obtain a new ID card by the applicable deadline or did not renew an existing card by October 31, 2011 may incur a fine of AED20 per day. Those who fail to notify the EIDA of changes to personal data within 30 days of a change are also subject to the fine, though the types of data changes that require notification have not yet been specified. The maximum penalty will be capped at AED1,000.

    Consolidation of ID and Residence Permit Application Continues

    Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and the TECOM Free Trade Zone in Dubai have consolidated the Emirates ID Card and residence permit application processes for foreign nationals. The change is intended to streamline immigration formalities, but delays are possible as the new procedures are implemented. A similar consolidated process has already been adopted in the Emirates of Fujairah, Umm Al Quwain, Ajman and Ras Al Khaimah, and is expected to be rolled out in Dubai soon.

    Foreign nationals applying for an Emirates ID card in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah must pre-register before attending the medical examination required for their residence permit. During pre-registration, applicants must complete online forms and schedule an appointment to submit biometric information at a facility approved by the EIDA. Pre-registration formalities, including the submission of biometrics, must be completed before a foreign national can submit the residence permit application. Applicants must print a pre-registration receipt to present at the medical exam

    In TECOM, employers submit a paper residence permit application and an ID card form on behalf of each foreign employee. TECOM authorities then complete the necessary online pre-registration for the employee. After pre-registration, the foreign national must complete biometrics registration concurrently with their medical examination.

    In all cases, applicants will receive a text message notifying them that the ID card application was approved and the location where it can be collected. Note that residence permit processing has been delayed under the new process.