Abu Dhabi: ID cards can now be used to go through passport control at entry and exit points across the country, ensuring swift immigration procedures for travellers, a top official said on Monday.
"ID cards can now be activated to replace the e-Gate cards to ensure swift processing of passenger entry and exit through passport control throughout the country," said Major General Ahmad Nasser Al Raisi, director-general of the Central Operations Department at Abu Dhabi Police.
Major General Al Raisi, who is a member of the board of directors of the Emirates Identity Authority (EIDA), added ID cards can be activated at all e-Gate offices at naturalisation and residency departments and airports across the country.
Travellers with new ID cards will not need to swipe or insert the cards in card readers to process their electronic travel documents upon arrival and departure like e-Gate thanks to contactless technology.
Card holders have to just show the cards to card readers as EIDA has adopted contactless smart card technology.
"Integrating the e-Gate card with the ID card will save a lot of time for users, smooth the flow of passengers and ensure the highest level of security and privacy," Al Raisi said.
He added the technology was a product of an agreement between Abu Dhabi Police and the EIDA.
The e-Gates provide a fast-track immigration clearance using smart technology and a fingerprint scan. This not only takes one through immigration faster, but also saves space on a passenger's passport, as it eliminates the need for a manual stamp every time they travel.
Mohammad Ahmad Al Za'abi, director of the UAE e-Gate, said no documents are required to activate ID cards. Dh150 will be charged for the service, which will make the card valid for two years, renewable as long as the card is valid. For Emiratis, passports have to be valid for at least six months, while residents must hold a valid residence visa.
Dr Ali Al Khouri, Executive Director of Strategic Planning and Quality at EIDA, said people who travel abroad frequently and do online transactions may need the new contactless technology.
"The ID card also acts as a link between government and citizens in e-government transactions. If you have a card reader [attached to the system], you can use the ID card to log on many e-services which will be offered by the federal and local governments," the official said.
"Governments worldwide have a challenge to verify the identity of online users [e-government services]. The ID cards help the government organisations in the UAE for that purpose."
Customers can purchase card readers (of the brands/companies) approved by EIDA, he said.
EIDA is closely working with the governments to facilitate more e-government services by using ID cards, said Al Khouri.
Although EIDA has a plan to integrate the ID card with banking services to use it as ATM card, it needs more time and effort due to the high security risk involved, he added.
ID cards can be activated at 37 offices at naturalization and residency department and airports across the country
No documents required but there is a fee of Dh150. Card is valid for two years and is renewable.
Emiratis must hold passports valid for at least six months and residents must have valid visa to apply for ID card.