Thursday, September 16, 2010

ID card registration to be linked to visas

Abu Dhabi: Expatriates in Abu Dhabi and three northern emirates will soon be able to register for National Identity (ID) cards when they undergo the required medical tests for their residence visas, Gulf News learned on Wednesday.
The new system is expected to be in operation by the end of this year.
Dr Ali Al Khoury, Director General of Emirates Identity Authority (EIDA), said the move was part of the authority's new strategy for 2010-2013 which aims to complete the registration of about six million expatriates, who have not yet registered for ID cards, within three years.
Gulf News had earlier reported that Umm Al Quwain had linked medical tests for residence visas with the ID card registration process from May 30 this year.
"Our strategy is to complete enrolling all expatriates within three years [possibly by May 2013] since we started linking visa issuance and renewal process with the ID card registration," Al Khoury said.
Practical difficulties
Although a federal law stipulated that December 31, 2010 was the deadline by which all residents must have an ID card, the higher management committee of EIDA, consisting of senior federal ministers and higher officials, will investigate the practical difficulties in this regard, Al Khoury added.
The director general said the new move would be implemented gradually.
"We are studying the possibilities ... whether to begin in Abu Dhabi first or in three northern emirates — Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah," Al Khoury said.
The official said EIDA had rented commercial space near the primary medical centre in Mussaffah, with a view to the new process of linking medical tests for residence visas with ID registrations in Abu Dhabi.
"After undergoing a medical test, the visa applicants can complete the process only after registering for ID cards," Al Khoury said.
A single application for an ID card, residence visa and labour card would be introduced in the future when the three documents would be integrated as part of a new strategy, the department said.