Abu Dhabi: Two new services offered by the Emirates Identity Authority (Emirates ID) will soon help residents save the time they spend in visiting post offices to collect their national ID cards.
Considering the 100 per cent increase in the number of ID cards issued last year, Emirates ID plans to introduce more card dispensers and an optional courier service to speed up the card delivery, a top official told Gulf News on Wednesday.
“We are planning to introduce 40 to 60 card dispensers at the registration centres across the country in the coming months, in addition to the four dispensers that are already functioning on a pilot project,” said Dr Ali Al Khoury, director general of Emirates ID.
At present, residents have to visit post offices to collect their ID cards. This move is considering that expatriates working in the private sector, who constitute the majority of the population, have to renew the card every two years and collect it from a post office. The validity of the ID card is the same as the residence visa.
The four card dispensers installed at Musaffah, Al Wahda, Al Barsha and Sharjah have been serving Emiratis exclusively but the new dispensers will serve expatiates as well. Expatriates will be able to collect their cards from the dispensers upon receiving an SMS alert.
“We are thinking of installing the dispensers in public places like shopping malls in future,” Al Khoury said without giving any timeframe.
About the optional courier service, he said it will be part of an integrated delivery system under which the applicant will be able to choose the mode of delivery such as postal service, personal post box, card dispenser or courier service. The first three services will be provided free of cost whereas applicants opting for courier delivery will have to pay the required charges.
The authority this week revealed that it delivered more than 5.89 million cards across the UAE in 2012 compared to 2.929 million in 2011, an increase of over 101 per cent.
The year 2012 witnessed the delivery of the largest number of ID cards in the history of the authority. The largest number of cards delivered in one month last year were 669,000 in January, followed by 626,782 in May.
About 75 per cent of residents currently collect their ID cards from the post offices within seven days of receiving an SMS alert while 52 per cent of them collect it within four days, the authority said.
The ID card is mandatory to obtain most government services with the deadline for all sections of the population to apply for the documents expiring last year. This has prompted applicants to collect their cards within a short time and most of them do so within two weeks.
The authority destroys ID cards that are not collected within 90 days.