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ID cards mandatory for government and banking services in UAE



Abu Dhabi: Anyone without the Emirates Identity Authority (Eida) ID cards will soon be denied government and banking services across the country, a senior government official said on Monday.
"Applications submitted to the various governmental departments and banks across the country will shortly be rejected if the applicant has no ID card," Eida higher committee deputy head Dr Ali Al Khouri said.
Al Khouri was speaking on the sidelines of the ID World Forum a day after the card was made mandatory for residents to be able to access services such as vehicle registration and renewal.
Al Khouri did not give a time frame for the move, but said the beginning was to make the card mandatory for services offered by the traffic departments.
"The card will gradually be required to access services of other departments of the Interior and Labour ministries," he said.
"Then come services of banks, with the eventual goal of making the card mandatory for all services offered by the government and private sectors."
Al Khouri said the move was prompted by the lukewarm response from the public to register with the Eida. "A little bit more than 1.8 million Emiratis and residents have registered for the cards, which shows people have been slow in applying," he said.
With the threat of services of traffic departments being denied, around 5,000 people registered for the card on Monday, which is believed to be the highest number of applications made in a single day.
He said registration devices would be deployed at traffic departments across the country to meet the rush of people needing to register for the ID card.
Al Khouri expected that with the access of service being linked to the ID card, the number of people registered on a daily basis would double.
By the end of this year, applicants wishing to obtain residence visa or renew it will be required to produce the ID card, he said. By then Eida will be registering 9,000 to 12,000 people a day, he said.
Apart from being unable to avail themselves of certain government and banking transactions, no further fines will be issued to people who are not registered, at least for the time being, Al Khouri said.
Application forms are now available online at www.emiratesid.ae and at various printing and post offices, where applicants can provide documents, fill out forms, pay fees and make appointments to visit a registration centre for the final steps.
At registration centres, applicants will only be photographed and fingerprinted, which will take no more than five to seven minutes, he said. Currently there are 22 registration centres and 25 preventive medicine centres, which also offer registration services.
Two hundred new registration devices will be deployed to mobile centres to serve labourers.
Children younger than 15 need not apply for the cards in person.
Emiratis can use the national ID card to travel between all GCC countries except Saudi Arabia.
The government also plans to combine it with the driving licence and the labour card.
By the end of this month, the authority will receive the first shipment out of two million new cards with a swipe feature. The swipe cards are faster and can hold more data, Al Khouri said.
Holders of the older cards will be able to get the new swipe cards when they renew them. Nationals renew their cards every five years.
Residents renew each time their residency visa expires.
There are plans to add features to the ID cards, such as a so-called e-purse, an electronic signature and a Metro fare-paying facility.
Civil registry: Everyone must apply
Dr Ali Al Khouri, deputy head of the higher committee at Emirates Identity Authority (Eida), said the authority would open a centre in Abu Dhabi that will be bigger than the one in Al Mushrif. "It will process up to 1,200 applications a shift," he said. "Another registration centre will be set up in Mussaffah by the end of this year to serve workers in industrial zones."
The existing 25 medical centres, where residents are tested before receiving their residency visas, will also serve as registration centres.
Combining the residency visa obtaining-and-renewal process with the ID cards will help the authority to finish registering all residents in the country within three years", Al Khouri said.
"The authority will also co-ordinate with schools and universities to activate their role in students' registration," he said.
Everyone in the country should be registered with a view to creating a civil registry of Emiratis and residents in the country.
Technology: Global standard
ID World Abu Dhabi brings together government representatives, law enforcement and border control authorities, cargo and passenger carriers, to discuss strategies in enhancing the reliability of our security and ICT infrastructures as well as plans in adopting smart technologies to achieve security and mobility.
Over 400 leaders and technology experts gathered to discuss tested strategies, best practices and innovations in elevating the automatic identification industry in the Middle East.