Image Credit: Arshad Ali/Gulf News

Dubai: Residents applying for the cancellation of their UAE residence visa must surrender their Emirates ID card to immigration authorities, an official said.

The highly-placed official at Dubai’s General Directorate for Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) told Gulf News that visas will not be cancelled unless the ID card is handed over.

The official, who did not want to be named, said: “No residency visa will be cancelled without the ID cards. Cancelling the visa, for the purpose of leaving the country forever or for the purpose of changing jobs, requires [handing over] the ID cards.”

Residents typically apply to have their visa cancelled when leaving the UAE for good or when changing jobs. As a rule, a job change involves a visa change as well.

Rules apply to children

The GDRFA will hand over the returned ID card to the Emirates Identity Authority, which issues the card in the first place, the official added. He said this procedure is required by the issuing authority and applicants who have lost their card must produce a letter from the authority confirming the situation.

“Everyone must have his or her ID card with them. Even cancelling the residency visa for a child requires submitting the ID card of that child,” the official said. He added that the rule is in place across the UAE.


However, in the case of visa renewals, applicants can retain their card, the official said. “We are not asking for [surrendering of] the ID card in case one is renewing the residency visa.” A valid card must be shown at the time of renewals, though.

The Emirates ID card is required for all UAE nationals and legal residents aged 15 and above. The smart card carries a picture and basic information of the holder, including a computer chip and biometric data.

The Emirates Identity Authority says the card prevents identity theft and allows access to certain government and non-government services. It has repeatedly said that those who fail to register for the card will be fined and possibly barred from a number of government services.

— With inputs by Faisal Masudi, Staff Reporter