Abu Dhabi: From April onwards, residents in Dubai must register for an Emirates ID card immediately after applying for a residence visa, a senior official at the Emirates Identity Authority (Eida) confirmed on Tuesday.
This follows the linking of six major Preventive Medicine Centres (PMCs) in Dubai with the ID card registration process, Dr Ali Al Khouri, director general at the Eida told Gulf News.
"Visa applications are already linked to ID card registration in all other emirates. In Dubai, this linkage took a while as we wanted to ensure that the country's largest PMC, which is also open 24 hours and processes nearly 3,000 visas on a daily basis, could handle the load," Dr Al Khouri said.
The rollout of the system in Dubai completes a countrywide scheme that links the Population Register and National ID Card (PRIDC) and visa applications. The linkage is already in place in all the other emirates.
With this integration, an expatriate who goes for medical examination at one of the PMCs for visa purposes can then go directly to an Emirates ID centre annexed to the PMC to complete the registration procedure.
The new ID card will be issued by Eida only upon the issuance of a residency visa by the relevant entity, explained an Eida official.
The deadline for Abu Dhabi residents over the age of 15 years to apply for an ID card is set for the end of March; for Dubai residents, the deadline is end-May.
Once these deadlines lapse, "delay fees" will be charged to applicants, the official said.
"The fees range from Dh20 to Dh25 per day, with a maximum fee of Dh 1,000 for delayed registration. On our website, we have already put in place a counter to remind Abu Dhabi residents about the deadline, and will update the counter for Dubai residents once the Abu Dhabi deadline lapses," Dr Al Khouri said.
As such, an Abu Dhabi resident over the age of 15 who has a valid residence visa but has no national ID card or possesses an expired one, has until March 31 to apply for the card without being charged "delay fees", while for a Dubai resident, the deadline is May 31.
The official also reminded employers not to wait for the last minute as nearly 90 per cent of residents who have not yet applied for ID cards are blue-collar workers.
"Employers must therefore ensure that their workers apply for the cards before the deadlines," he said.
Nearly 6.2 million — or 77.5 per cent of about eight million inhabitants across the country — have already registered for Emirates ID cards, and about 30,000 applications are still being filled out every working day at over 1,200 typing centres across the country.
"The year 2012 will continue to be a challenging year for Eida, with nearly four to six million new applications and ID card renewals expected to be processed over the year," the official said.
He added that Eida operation volumes would reach "normal" levels of two to three million applications and renewals over a period of one year only in 2013.