Dubai: Thousands of residents are risking identity theft to beat the Emirates ID card deadline, Gulf News has learnt.
To complete the pre-registration process before the December 31 deadline, thousands have deposited their passports at typing centres, putting them at risk of being lost or being misused.
The Emirates Identity Authority's (Eida) announcement on December 13 caused an unprecedented rush at 700 typing centres authorised to carry out the pre-registration process.
Serpentine queues and long hours of waiting at the typing centres have resulted in many residents choosing to leave their passports at the centres. However, senior officials have warned the public against doing so.
Audio: Thousands rush in ID applications
Major General Nasser Al Awadi Al Menhali, Assistant Undersecretary at the Ministry of Interior for Naturalisation, Residency and Ports Affairs, said: "This is very uncivilised behaviour [by the typing centres]. A passport is an official document and people should know that typing centres are businesses, not government institutions. There is no reason for them to leave their passports there."
The chaos began after Eida reminded residents that a federal law stipulating December 31 as the deadline for expatriates to register is still valid.
Officials reiterated that residents need not panic and that in order to fulfil their legal obligation all they need do is complete the pre-registration process at one of the authorised typing centres in the country.
The pre-registration process at the typing centres involves scanning of the original passports and uploading them into Eida's server.
According to typing centres, the registration process takes 30 minutes and even longer with the server being slow due to the volume of registrations taking place simultaneously.
"I was shocked to be told that my passport will be held back at the typing centre until January 25 for them to complete my registration process," Dan Qayyum, an advertising professional, said.
Have you been asked to submit your passport to the typing centre? Have you faced any
other issues while applying for you Emirates ID card?