Abu Dhabi: By the middle of next year, residents in the capital could be applying for and collecting their new or renewed Emirates ID cards within minutes, a senior official said in the capital on Wednesday.
The almost instant delivery of the cards would happen once the printing of the cards is decentralised across the country, Dr Ali Al Khoury, general manager of the Emirates Identity Authority (Eida), told Gulf News.
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"Currently, [the] Eida prints more than 84,000 cards a week, at a rate of 12,000 cards or more per day. Because the delivery infrastructure in the country is insufficient and does not coincide with the massive volume of cards being issued, their delivery has however faced delays," Dr Al Khoury said.
"Under this new system, there would be no need for residents to wait till the cards are delivered to them, which is especially important because the IDs are poised to soon become smart cards with access to various services," he added.
When the system is introduced, residents will be able to fill out application forms, submit biometric information like fingerprints and iris scans, and leave with their cards that are printed at Eida centres.
Currently, the procedure requires residents to fill out application forms at authorised typing centres and pay the required fee. They then have to visit an Eida centre at a pre-scheduled appointment time to submit biometric data, and finally either pick up the card from a post office or wait for it to be delivered by courier service.
"In the first phase, we will make the service available for those who wish to renew their IDs, and it will be piloted at selected Eida registration centres before the end of this year. Gradually, we will expand this to those applying for new IDs as well," Dr Al Khoury said.
According to the official, an online system will check the quality of biometric and other information about a resident who applies to have his card renewed.
If there is a need for the information to be updated, the resident would have to visit an Eida centre to submit the required data and collect the renewed card within minutes.
If on the other hand the biometric information is correct, the resident would be given an option of collecting the card from a designated printing machine or of having the card sent to him via Emirates Post.
"By the middle of 2012, once we have the advanced technology in place, Eida also plans to introduce kiosks in popular venues.
Residents can then complete the entire process of applying for and collecting ID cards on their own, and within 10 minutes," Dr Al Khoury said.
Following the passing of the June 30 deadline for Emiratis to register for ID cards, general manager of the Emirates Identity Authority (Eida), Dr Ali Al Khoury, said the authority was awaiting further instruction from the federal government to determine what the next step would be.
"... we would like to encourage residents to continue applying for their ID cards. Soon, this ID will help residents access services like paying for their utility bills with features embedded in the card," Dr Al Khoury said.