20220411 emirates id
The change applies to residence visa applications made on May 16 and onwards Image Credit: Gulf News

Dubai: Emirates ID cards have now officially replaced residence visa stickers in the UAE, excluding Dubai, starting from May 16.

The visa sticker with a person’s residency details will no longer take up a page in their passport - instead the details will be stored on their Emirates ID.

According to media reports, the Federal Authority of Identify, Citizenship, Customs and Port Security, has also announced the unification of the two separate applications - one for Emirates ID issuance and the other for renewal of visas for residents in the UAE. The change merges residence and identity card applications, instead of processing them separately. The authority said there will be a unified form for the service for requests of issuance or renewal of residency and Emirates ID.

However in Dubai, these two applications will continue to be processed separately.

Why the change?

The authority had announced the changes last month after a UAE Cabinet decision. A circular was then sent by the authority to departments and airlines who can now verify the residency status of UAE residents through their passport number and Emirates ID.

In the past, anyone applying for a new residence visa or renewing the visa had to submit their passport to have the visa sticker applied. Now, the new rule means residents don’t need to have a visa sticker in their passports - for applications made on May 16 and onwards. Those who had applied before May 16 for a new residence visa or its renewal will still get the visa sticker to be pasted in their passport.

The authority said earlier that people can use their website or the smart app UAEICP to obtain a soft copy of their Emirates ID.

The previous form of residence visa stickers will only be available online via the authority’s smart app, in a step aimed at enhancing transitional flexibility towards using the identity card as an alternative.

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New ID card

The move came after a new generation of Emirates IDs was revealed last year. Authorities have already started to roll out the new card.

Customers can obtain a soft copy of the ID upon submitting the issuance or renewal request. The authority said that the new generation of the Emirates ID card issued to residents includes all details mentioned previously on the residency sticker, including personal and professional data, the issuer and other readable and non-readable data on the face of the card.

This also means the issuance or renewal of residency visas and Emirates IDs will be in one application.