UAE | General

UAE residents risk losing passports in ID rush

Typing centres openly flout rules by asking residents to leave behind document for ID registration

  • By Faisal Masudi, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 00:00 May 17, 2012

XPRESS found dozens of passports lying around at centres in Al Safa, Satwa and Karama
  • Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/XPRESS
  • XPRESS found dozens of passports lying around at centres in Al Safa, Satwa and Karama during a sweep this week.

Dubai: Residents are risking loss of passports and identity theft at busy typing centres in the rush to meet the May 31 deadline for Emirates ID registration.

"In all events, don't leave your passport at the typing centre to avoid possible loss," warns Emirates Identity Authority (Eida) on its website. However, many private centres authorised by the UAE government to fill in ID applications, refuse service unless residents hand in their passports, which have to be digitally scanned.

Receiving passports in advance of processing applications allows typing centres to add more clients to their list and work at their own pace later on - besides making more money as they charge Dh30 per application.

However, holding on to passports - for several days in many cases - means longer waiting lines for applicants already pressed for time under the looming deadline. The practice is also against the rules of Eida, which issues the ID card.

Residents complained virtually all typing centres in crowded neighbourhoods of Dubai and Sharjah demand they part with their passports.

During a random sweep this week, XPRESS found dozens of passports lying around haphazardly at typing centres in Safa, Satwa and Karama.

A worker at a typist near Mazaya Centre said on Sunday: "We've run out of space to keep passports so we're not taking any more for now. There's no place left to hide them if [Eida] inspectors drop in."

He suggested applicants make a ‘booking' the following day by submitting their passports before noon, which they would not see again for three days - the time it would take for the application to be completed. "Of course I cannot give you a receipt for the passport, that's illegal."

Another typist in Karama who had no applicants present in person at his office, scoffed when asked to process an application on the spot. "Get in line - you want to see the line?" he laughed as he pulled out a drawer crammed with passports.

"I'm getting non-stop calls from applicants asking ‘Is it done yet? Is it done yet?' The best I can do for you is take your passport now and call you tonight to let you know how long it'll take."

In Sharjah, a Russian applicant who ran out of patience while waiting for his application to go through was seen quarrelling with a typist who refused to return his passport in Al Taawun area.

"I cannot give back your passport now, Just wait, I'm busy," the typist said. One applicant said on condition of anonymity: "I had to give my passport to the typing centre, what else can I do? They say, ‘if you don't like it, you can find another place.' I give up, there's no time left."

Dubai expatriates whose visas expire after 2012 will be fined Dh20 per day (up to Dh1,000 maximum) if they fail to register for their Emirates ID card by May 31.

Eida adds on its website that "residents of Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah, with residencies expiring in 2012, will be required to enrol for the ID card along with renewing their residencies".

Earlier deadlines, which were eventually extended, had seen tempers fray at overrun typing centres. No grace period has been announced for current deadlines in place.

Details of the ID procedures are available online at


Comments (7)

Share your views
  1. Added 11:18 May 17, 2012

    I dont understand why they are waiing until the last moment. Everyone knows that they have to get the IDs done for about two years now and now they are surprised that the system is not working properly in the last two weeks. I hope they don't give a grace period this time so finally other features of the ID can be implemented.

    Tobias Speer, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 10:47 May 17, 2012

    Go to Tas'Heel office near Oasis Mall. I went in at 9am, and was out by 9.20am with my form typed and ready to go for the Emirates ID. Waited only for a short time. They were quick and efficient. Got the text with the appointment in a short time later (same day). Very effective, quick, pleasant. Now if only I could get an appt with the EIDA before September....

    Rich, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 10:38 May 17, 2012

    My chlid's passport will expire in December and the visa too will expire in December. Can I make the emirates id in January?

    Nisar Shaikh, dubai, India

  4. Added 08:03 May 17, 2012

    Why is the EIDA not allowing online application forms? Eariler I did my ID by just filling up the the information? Why do we have to pay someone else for filling up our forms -- after all we are educated? Why again do we have to pay for the delivery charges when we can ourselves collect the cards?

    qureshi, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  5. Added 07:48 May 17, 2012

    There are typing centres which have no rush. You just have to visit the Emirates ID website and click on the typing centres and you can find 100s of listed typing centres in the UAE. You just have to call them and check. I am sure there are many that nobody visits and in those typing centres there is no rush. Thankyou

    amir , Dubai, India

  6. Added 07:34 May 17, 2012

    It's a common practice, Even though the typing centre staff memners are free and there is no line at all they will still ask you to submit the passport. They blame ''EIDA server is down, so can't update the online application. You can wait if you want but we can't tell you exactly how long it will take''. I experienced it in the tyrping centre near Rashiidya police station branch. And moreover even after succeessful registrations followed by photo and fringerprint sessions, I still couldn't get my EIDA Card. No one knows where and how to trace my card out. If I call the EIDA call centre, I am told that its in transit and I need to collect it from Karama post office even though I have paid Dh40/- as courier charges.

    raj, manglore, India

  7. Added 07:15 May 17, 2012

    It's not secure to keep passports in typing centre. I have heard that the EIDA website is very busy and it's affecting new visa processes.

    johash, dubai, United Arab Emirates