Chaotic: Residents say the five-day period for visa renewal after ID application is too short. Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/XPRESS

Dubai: Linking tenancy contract and Emirates ID with residence visa renewal is causing confusion among residents and typing centre staff because of the number of steps involved.

Emirates ID is a prerequisite for official transactions including visa renewal for expatriates.

The pressure builds as Emirates ID applicants must get their residence visa renewed or apply for it within five days. If they fail to do that, they get a warning that their ID application has been cancelled and they have to go through the process all over again.

An SMS sent by the Emirates Identity Authority (EIDA) to applicants states: “Confirmation of new residency information for (application number) was incomplete. Kindly proceed to an authorised typing centre within five business days to scan the new residency sticker to avoid cancellation of the application and to complete the registration process. If you have received ID card, please ignore this notification.”

PROs and typing centre staff say the period is too short given the volume and requirements for completing visa renewals.

There’s a huge volume of applications for Emirates ID alongside applications for family residence visas. EIDA expects the number of transactions at the ID card system (and Population Register) to reach two million per year. These include registering new expatriates, newborns and ID card renewal transactions.

Time is too short

Abu Bakr Abdul Rahman, a typing centre supervisor in Al Quoz said: “We don’t question the process. But EIDA should understand that five days is too short. It’s not possible for most people to meet this deadline.”

Emirates ID card and residence visa processing have been linked across the country, though applicants must apply for them separately.

Dubai residents renewing residency visa for their spouses and children are required to attest their tenancy contract with Ejari, an online lease registration service. To register with Ejari, applicants must submit their original tenancy contract, the affection plan/title deed (supplied by landlords) and their Emirates ID.

A seamless data link between Emirates ID and visa application would curb paperwork and reduce stress, say applicants.

“Why can’t they link the two — have one application process for both?” said Babu, an expatriate applying for a residence visa for his wife and child. “You have to take a day off from work, pay the fees for every step, but the time to get all these things done is too short.”

A PRO described the current process as “chaotic”.

“When you renew residence visas for your family members,” the PRO said, “you must also provide a receipt for Emirates ID renewal (issued by an accredited typing centre). Then you get a SMS message that the application will be rejected if the renewed visa is not scanned within five business days. This is too short. The medical test required for residence visa renewal takes a few days already. It’s stressful, confusing,” he added.

People who ignore the Emirates ID warning find their applications cancelled, said a typing staff.

“In my experience, people who wait a month to submit the new visa for scanning would find their Emirates ID application deactivated,” said Abu Bakr.

A typing staff said the actual grace period is about 15 days.

Nehal Ahmad of Shakeel Darwish Typing in Bur Dubai said most people don’t know about the deadline. “We’re happy to help the applicants. After an application is filed, it’s our duty to wait and scan (new visas). The process is a bit repetitive. We tell them that if they do not act fast enough — usually within 15 days they might end up where they started.”

EIDA speaks

XPRESS spoke to an EIDA spokesperson regarding the confusion:

Is this an automated SMS from EIDA?

Yes it’s an automated SMS for all expat applications.

Applicants, typing centre staff and PROs say the five-day requirement is too short. Others say the message is causing confusion and undue stress as applying for a residence visa takes time due to medical tests.

This SMS acts as a reminder for applicants to complete the residency issuance process in the communicated time frame mentioned on their application. Emirates ID is keen to serve its customers by communicating with them and reminding them about the deadlines and procedures.

For how long do you extend the grace period before the ID application becomes invalid?

This SMS is a reminder tool for the customers to motivate them to complete registration procedures within the deadline.

Some typing centre staff say a Emirates ID application remains valid for up to three weeks, but not one month. Is this true?

EIDA won’t spare any effort to help and support our customers them in the procedures. If a customer faces a situation of invalid application because he/she crossed the grace period, the customer care team will do the needful to re-open the application and continue the application process.