Emirates ID Guide

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Abu Dhabi, as well as Dubai and other emirates continue to attract foreign investors and those wishing to move to the UAE due to job and business opportunities and a convenient living environment. One of the key questions that everyone gets asked when moving to the country is connected with the process of getting a national ID card. That’s why we have decided to compile the main information about the Emirates ID, which is a mandatory document issued to citizens and residents in the country. In this article you will find information about the Emirates ID and its benefits, as well as about the process of obtaining/renewing/restoring the ID card.

What is the Emirates ID?

All citizens and residents of the UAE should have an Emirates ID, which is given by the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA). It is a legal requirement for all individuals living in the country, including newborn babies to own this ID. This document helps to protect the identity of the individual as well as ease identification and verification according to the international standards.

There are several types of Emirates ID, such as:

  • Citizen ID card for UAE citizens which is given for 10 years
  • GCC ID card for citizens of GCC countries living in the UAE which is issued for 5 years
  • Expat ID card for foreigners’ validity depends on the validity of the visa

The Emirates ID card consists of:

  • Identification number, which is also known as the identity number. This number sticks with the holder forever and includes 15 digits. The number also allows receiving governmental, non-governmental and private services.
  • The electronic chip contains the holder’s personal data, which can be read only by special machines (ICA’s E-link system). Due to the fact that some of this data is encrypted, only authorised services can read and update the information. The chip includes fingerprints and biometric data.
  • Other technologies which make the ID card an example of state-of-the-art technology. The card has nine security features which makes its falsification very difficult.

There is basic information that can be found on the Emirates ID. This includes a name, nationality and a photo, as well as the gender, date of birth, card number and signature of the cardholder.

Note: In January 2021, several significant amendments were made to the citizenship law. Since then, foreigners, investors, doctors, professionals, talented people, scientists and several other categories have the right to apply for a UAE passport. You can read more about it in this article.

Features of the Emirates ID

The Emirates ID should be carried all the times, and is mandatory for all residents and citizens of the UAE. The ID card is more than just a document, as the details should often be submitted to various organisations and services, for instance, when you:

  • Pay for DEWA bills
  • Apply for a new phone or internet connection
  • Open a bank account
  • Pay traffic fines
  • Register a vehicle, etc.

Moreover, with the help of the Emirates ID you can use the Smart Gates in several Emirati airports to save time. Instead of waiting in the passport immigration queue, you will be able to complete passport control in several seconds. Another benefit of the ID card is that you can request a credit report at the Al Etihad Credit Bureau customer service centers.

Note: Companies have no right to withhold the Emirates ID of their employees. They can only take the personal data, visible on cards. In case of any problems, the holder should visit the judicial authorities and tell them about the problem.

How to Get an Emirates ID

There are two ways to get an Emirates ID – online via the website of the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Ports Security or at one of the Customer Happiness Centers. The average processing period for the Emirates ID is 5 working days.

The process of getting an ID card consists of five steps, and include:

  • Registration
  • Submission of application & Payment fees
  • Capturing fingerprints & Signature in an accredited center
  • Completion of the procedures for issuing residency (for expats only)
  • Collecting the Emirates ID via authorised Delivery Companies

Citizen ID Card

As a UAE national wishing to get a Citizen ID, is required to bring

  • Personal photo (4.5 x 3.5 cm) with a white background
  • Valid medical report by the Ministry of Health or health authorities in the UAE, or a valid People of Determination card to exempt people of determination from issuance fee

An ID card for 5 years costs AED 100 (USD 27), while an ID card for 10 years will cost AED 200 (USD 55). The printing office fee is AED 30 (USD 8), and a service fee is AED 40 (USD 11).

GCC ID Card

Residents of other GCC countries, which comprise Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, applying for the ID Card should come with:

  • Valid travel passport
  • The Gulf ID card for those who are over 21 years old or of one of the parents for those who are under 21 years old
  • Original birth certificate, together with the passport of one of the parents or an Emirates ID for those under 15 years old
  • Personal photo (4.5 x 3.5 cm) with a white background
  • Document proving residency within a country, such as document proving kinship with a citizen up to the third degree, the original valid trade licence, ownership of residential or commercial property, certificate of continuity of study, work certificate for workers in the governmental sector, work contract, certified by the Ministry of
  • Emiratisation and Human Resources for workers in the private sector, or proof of residence for the children by one of the documents above
  • Valid medical report by the Ministry of Health or health authorities in the UAE or a valid People of Determination card to exempt people of determination from issuance fees
  • Diplomatic card of international organisation for members of consular missions, diplomatic missions and international organisations, located in the country to avoid issuance fees

The price of a 5-year GCC ID card is AED 100 (USD 27). The printing office fee is AED 30 (USD 8), whilst the service fee is AED 40 (USD 11).

Expat ID Card

Foreigners from other countries should prepare the following documents to obtain an Expat ID Card:

  • Valid passport
  • Original birth certificate, together with passport of one of the parents or Emirates ID for those under 15 years old
  • Personal photo (4.5 x 3.5 cm) with a white background
  • Original agency certificate in the case that another person acts on behalf of the customer and the application is made by another party
  • Valid medical report by the Ministry of Health or health authorities in the UAE or a valid People of Determination card to exempt people of determination from issuance fees
  • Diplomatic card of international organisation for members of consular missions, diplomatic missions and international organisations, located in the country to avoid from issuance fees

The card is given in correspondence to the period of years. Thus, a 5-year Expat ID Card costs AED 100 (USD 27). The printing office fee is AED 30 (USD 8), and a service fee is AED 40 (USD 11)

Note: In case of any change of details, the card holder must report them within a month from the date of change. There is an opportunity to apply for a modification online. It will cost you AED 50 (USD 14).

Urgent Service

If a person wishes for an urgent service called Fawri to obtain an Emirates ID in 24 hours, he/she will need to pay an extra AED 150 (USD 41) at the Customer Happiness Centre. Such service is given in several cases, including:

  • First time registration
  • Renewal of the expired ID Card
  • Lost/damaged ID Cards

People from non-GCC countries can run this service only for the replacement of the card. The fee for an urgent service is AED 150 (USD 41). In Abu Dhabi citizens and residents can get their Emirates ID in 24 hours in Customer Happiness Centers, located in Al Jazeera and Khalifa City.

Replacing the Emirates ID

The holder of the Emirates ID should keep in mind that the document must be changed within 30 days after the expiration date. You will receive a message from the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Ports Security (ICP) to do this. There is an opportunity to apply for a new card online at www.icp.gov.ae or via the application ICP UAE Smart, as well as in the typing center. In order to provide your biometric details, you will need to visit the ICP’s service center. While UAE nationals can apply for the renewal between six and one month before the date of expiration, UAE residence visa holders can do that when their visa is reissued or renewed.

Note: If you wish to leave the country permanently, you should hand over your ID Card to the respective General Directorate for Residency and Foreigners Affairs. After that, the card will be given back to the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Ports Security.

Replacing Lost/Damaged ID Cards

If your Emirates ID is lost, stolen or damaged, you should immediately request a replacement from the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Ports Security by following several steps:

  • Report the incident at the nearest Customer Happiness Center, and the lost or stolen card will be deactivated. If the card is damaged, take it with you. Don’t forget to ask for your ID number confirmation. UAE citizens should take a family book and original valid passport, while GCC nationals should provide a document that proves their residence in the country. Other foreigners must bring the passport with a valid residence permit. In case a lost/damaged card belongs to a child, a parent should take the birth certificate of the child, as well as a coloured passport photo.
  • Apply for the replacement of the Emirates ID in the Customer Happiness Center or online
  • Pay the fee, which is AED 300 (USD 82) for the replacement. Moreover, you will need to pay AED 70 (USD 19) if you are applying through a typing centre or AED 40 (USD 11) if you apply online.
  • Collect your new Emirates ID after receiving a message from the ICP. It will be issued in 48 hours after the application or in 24 hours if you used an urgent service.

How Can We Help?

Metropolitan Capital Real Estate is always ready to provide you with the latest information about legalisation in the UAE. Even though our company doesn’t assist in getting an Emirates ID, our real estate managers are ready to help you in choosing a property, corresponding to your needs, which will be the first step towards your dream to live in Abu Dhabi or other emirates. Purchasing a residential property with a minimum cost from AED 2M (USD 545K) will provide you and your family members with an opportunity to apply for a 10-year Golden Visa, which can be prolonged in the case that you remain the owner of the unit. After that, you will be able to obtain an Emirates ID, a driving licence and take advantage of other benefits.

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