ID cards for expats still essential

You might have escaped so far, but we’re all going to have to sign-up for ID cards sooner or later, according to Government officials

The long queues and the paperwork have put a lot of people off, but all expatriates living in the UAE still need to get an ID card.

The Emirates Identity Authority (Eida) has dismissed rumours that the new national identity card is no longer mandatory for expatriates.

"It is quite strange that people believe their next-door neighbours rather than the official information," said Thamer Rashid Al Qasimi, Planning Director and Project Management Director at Eida.

He made it clear that all expatriates have to complete the ID card registration process as per the schedule announced by Eida.

"The registration process for category 2 [students and administrative staff in the private sector, translators, secretaries, typists, storekeepers and receptionists] began on March 1 and will continue until June 18. Although the registration period for expatriate professionals ended on February 28, they can still register," he explained.

Eida does not have exact figures for the number of expatriates in each category, but there are estimated to be about 600,000 professionals.

About 3,000 people are registering each day and about 500,000 expatriates have completed the registration process so far, according to the official.

"This 3,000 is just 60 per cent of our capacity and we have attracted this many people a day only after an intensive awareness campaign carried out among private organisations. We approach private companies and prompt them to utilise the special appointments system, which was introduced in March 2009," Al Qasimi explained.

More than 120 companies - more than 40 per cent of which are based in Abu Dhabi - have utilised the system thus far, he said.

Companies can approach the manager of the Eida registration centre in their area to arrange for phased appointments subject to availability, Al Qasimi said.

"No extra fee is levied for this service."

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