Abu Dhabi: Residents will soon be able to apply for national ID cards online without the need to visit typing centres.
The Emirates Identity Authority (Emirates ID) will launch the online application system next month for Emiratis, an official spokesman told Gulf News yesterday. “Expatriates will be able to use the online application from February,” he added.
Internet-savvy applicants can avoid visiting typing centres after applying online (on www.eida.gov.ae/en ) and can directly proceed to Emirates ID centres for biometric screening to complete the registration process, he said.
The online system is expected to allow applicants to pay charges online (using credit card or debit card) but more details will be revealed during the launch, the spokesman said.
Asked whether the extra fee of Dh70 towards typing services will be waived for online applicants, he said: “You have to wait until the launch for all such minute details.” The spokesperson however didn’t reveal the exact date of the launch.
Dr Ali Al Khoury, Director General of Emirates ID, recently told Gulf News that once the online application system is launched, typing centres will cater to categories like labourers who may not have internet access.
“We had certified around a thousand typing centres across the country to carry out the pre-registration process. Now the new online application system means we are certifying thousands of internet-savvy people in the country to carry out their pre-registration process,” he explained.
It may be recalled that Gulf News had earlier reported complaints received from people about errors introduced by typing centres in application forms. Emirates ID had cancelled the certification of several typing centres following repeated complaints.
Those who apply online can avoid such errors.
Many residents had also complained about typing centres asking applicants to leave their original passports with them to complete applications thus exposing them to the risk of identity theft. The authorities had warned against such practices. Online applicants can also avoid such problems.
Emirates ID had transferred the pre-registration process to typing centres in mid- 2010 whereby the applicants enjoy advantages like the extended working hours of typing centres. They also did not need to visit the typing centre in person but a company PRO (Public Relations Officer) or family member could carry out the pre-registration process on their behalf if the original passport is produced. The applicants are required to visit Emirates ID registration centres to complete the registration process.
With Emirates ID going with an appointment-based registration system across the country, residents have to wait for an appointment after completing the pre-registration process.
The typing centres can charge Dh70 extra, apart from the fee for the ID cards. Dh70 includes the service charges for the application form, typing and distribution though Emirates Post or courier.
The existing ID cardholders are able to renew their cards at certified typing centres without visiting Emirates Identity Authority (Eida) registration centres.
The advantage of this system is that ID cardholders do not need to seek appointments or check the working hours of Emirates ID centres. If the fingerprint of the applicant is available in the Emirates ID database, then that individual only has to visit the Emirates ID centre for renewal.