What is Emirates ID? How to Get it & Where it is Used

The term Emirates ID is familiar to the ears of the Gulf’s nationals and residents. However, this may be quite a foreign concept to those who are new to the country and its structure. So, what precisely is an Emirates ID and what is it used for? More about this card’s background, processing, its versatile purposes and benefits, plus the applicable guidelines to remember shall be explored here deeper, in order to effectively help you to familiarize yourself with the subject.



Today Emirates ID serves multiple purposes: starting from providing identification information about you as a UAE resident and finishing with the ability to use the card to avail from various government services.

Tracing back to the card’s earliest days, it is in year 2004 only, when the residents of the UAE heard about Emirates ID for the first time. At that time a federal entity dedicated to handling Emirates ID system was established. The entity, which is known today as the Emirates Identity Authority or EIDA in short. In 2017 Emirates Identity Authority was renamed into the Federal Authority for Identity and Naturalization (FAIN), but we will still use the previous name, as we all very much got used to it.

Later in September 2014 EIDA made the announcement that the Emirates ID card would serve as the social security number of all nationals and residents of the UAE. Furthermore, the plan was put into place to make it possible to utilize the same card for various services provided by the government. In other words, the aim was to basically turn the ID into a single source of identification for transactions in a broad spectrum, such as those pertaining to residency, labor, immigration, airport e-gates, law enforcement and even banks.

The creation and implementation of the IDs took its ample time to develop. Around the end of 2009, it was still optional for residents in the emirates of Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah to obtain the ID card. The residents of three aforementioned emirates, however, were eventually obliged to join the registration with set deadlines back in the year 2012. At present, it is a must for every citizen and expat residing in any emirate of the UAE to hold and be able to present their own Emirates ID.

Today the UAE Federal Decree No. 9 of 2006 requires that every agency (may it be governmental or private) shall accept the Emirates ID in providing their services as a valid identification document. To put it simply, it is extremely important to have your Emirates ID to function within the UAE, down to the smallest of transactions. Let’s have a closer look at those transactions now.

First of all, Dubai International Airport made it much easier for Emirates ID card-holders to go through passport control. UAE residents can now effortlessly scan their card and a fingerprint to pass through the e-gates without having to wait in long queues at a manned immigration section. In addition, this allows frequent travelers to save valuable visa space in passports.

In more recent news, authorities have confirmed that medical insurance has also been integrated into the Emirates ID in several emirates, dismissing the need for a separate insurance card.

If we take government authorities in Dubai, for instance, such as the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), Dubai Municipality, Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) and more, all of them require presenting an Emirates ID for their affairs. For instance, RTA has driving license renewal kiosks spread across Dubai. These kiosks also have other options like traffic fine payments and vehicle ownership card renewal. To be able to make use of these machines, you should have with you an Emirates ID to enter its details. And this is just one of the many services that cannot be used without your national identification card.

And last but not least, you will be also requested to provide your Emirates ID, if you want to avail from telecom or banking services in the UAE.

But how does one actually apply for an Emirates ID and where do you receive it?

Emirates ID application includes the following three steps only: typing of application, submission of fingerprints and collection of issued Emirates ID card from Emirates Post office. You apply for Emirates ID on the same day and at the same time, when you apply for your medical fitness test. As such, you undergo biometrics capturing on the same day with blood test and X-Ray. Once your resident visa is stamped, Immigration authority notifies EIDA and the latter issues the card, which is then delivered to the Post office, where you can collect it from. How do you know, when you can collect? You will receive a text message on the phone number you would specify at the time your Emirates ID application form was typed.

Emirates ID validity period is linked to your resident visa. If your visa was issued for two (2) years only, then your Emirates ID would be valid for two (2) years too. In case your resident visa is valid for three (3) years, you will be able to use issued card for three (3) years then. The fee for Emirates ID issuance is AED 260 (for two years) and AED 370 (for three years) respectively.

If you have children, there is one factor to take note of. Previously obtaining an Emirates ID for them was optional. But this changed in 2011, when EIDA announced that even children under 15 (including newborns) shall be obliged to possess a national identification card. As such, children should still undergo the same application with the only difference that their presence is not required at the processing center, as well as no fingerprints shall be submitted.

Once you received your Emirates ID, it is now vital to keep a mental note of the responsibilities attached to being a card-holder. Firstly, remember to have the card with you at all times, as this is a legal document, allowing to identify you. This is to avoid complications which may arise in circumstances where you are asked to present your Emirates ID (e.g. by a traffic police officer) and you fail to do so. If there is any issue with your card, such as a name change or where any of the details on your card are incorrect, you will be the one to notify the authorities of this as well.

If you are caught in a situation where you lost your Emirates ID or it was damaged or stolen, this is not something to worry about as there are available solutions to gain a new card. You just need to immediately notify EIDA to have them block the old card and issue a replacement for you.

Knowing how to acquire an Emirates ID and being aware of the rules as well as the benefits that come with it is crucial for those who wish to live in the UAE. Not only does this grant you a greater convenience in day to day transactions. Additionally, it very well guarantees you security and rights as a resident.  


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 Disclaimer: Business Boutique UAE-Consultants.com is not affiliated with any particular government or legal entity. Business Boutique does not give professional legal advice nor any other professional advice subject to a public office in the government. This article merely sets out a simple and basic idea as to the reasons of Dubai freezone company setup and Dubai free zone company formation cost. Business Boutique in no way holds nor imposes any official governmental or legal authority and the article herein is only to be taken as a guide. All further governmental or legal issues should be addressed to the corresponding authorities.

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