Emirates ID is a government document, which is issued to all residents of the UAE

Emirates ID 2020. Guide for residents

What is it?

Emirates ID is a government document, which is issued to all residents of the UAE including children and infants.

Emirates ID became obligatory in 2013. During that year the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship managed to register all UAE citizens and residents in its smart system and issue ID cards. It made Emirates ID the main identification document all over the country.

Why do I need Emirates ID?

Emirates ID is an obligatory part of UAE residence set of documents. It means that if you are planning to become a resident in the UAE, the ID card will be issued for you.

There is no way to become a resident and not to get an Emirates ID.

If you hold any type of UAE residence visa - Investor, Partner, Employment, Maid, Dependant - Emirates ID will be there as well. Investor or Partner visas are usually given to business owners if they open a company in Mainland or do UAE free zone company setup.

How to get Emirates ID?

Emirates ID is applied for during the procedure of UAE visa application. If you make your visa with the help of a business setup consultancy company, normally UAE residence visa cost will include the Emirates ID expenses as well.

The visa cost is different depending on the Emirate and the authority from where it is issued. It starts from 2,500 AED and goes up to 7,000 AED.

The process of UAE residency goes as follows:

  1. Application for an entry permit

    Entry permit can be issued either for company owners who did business setup in UAE or for the employees who got hired by a UAE based company.

    Entry permit is a prerogative of the residence visa. It is an electronic document which is issued for any  visa applicant. ENtry permit is valid for 60 days. Within this time you have to do Medical check and apply for Emirates ID, after which the resident visa will be stamped into your passport.
  2. Medical checkup

    Medical checkup is a mandatory procedure after the entry permit is issued. You should do it at any Preventive Medicine Center. The tests are done for AIDS, Hep B and Tuberculosis. If the results of the test are good, you can go ahead with the visa. If you are suspected to have one of those diseases, extra tests will be done. In case any of them is confirmed, UAE resident visa will not be issued to you.
  3. Application for Emirates ID

    It can be done in any office of Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship.

    Many offices are located next to Preventive Medicine Centers to make the process faster. During the application, your eye scanning will be done and fingerprint scans will be taken as well. This biometric data will be kept in the Authority’s system and you won’t need to go through the scanning at the time of Emirates ID renewal.
  4. UAE visa stamping

    The last step of UAE residency is UAE visa stamping into your passport. Most visas are valid for 3 years, but in some free zones or Mainland you may get a 2 year visa if you are an employee.

    The validity of Emirates ID of UAE residents is linked to the validity of your visa.

Where will I receive my Emirates ID?

Your ID card will be issued within 5-7 days after the visa stamping into your passport.

Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship will send the card to the Emirates post office, from where you will get an SMS notification about collection. It can also be sent to a P.O. box number which you provide at the time of application.

If you fail to collect your Emirates ID from the post office for 90 days, it will be returned to Emirates Identity Authority office and destroyed. You will have to apply for a new card if this happens.

Emirates ID cost

The cost of the ID depends on its validity. A card valid for 3 years will cost 370 AED, whereas a card valid for 2 years will cost 270 AED.

Basically, each year of validity costs 100 AED. The additional 70 AED is the fee for your application processing.

What benefits do I get?

Smart gates at all UAE airports - you can go through a smart gate by simply scanning your ID and avoiding waiting times in the lines. Note that kids below 15 years old are not allowed to use the smart gates and have to go through a normal line.

UAE ID card can substitute your insurance card in a hospital or clinic if you lose your insurance card, for example.

You can access any UAE government authority without your original passport providing only an ID card as proof of your identity.

ID card can be used for payment for the petrol in some gas stations.

You are required to carry your Emirates ID with you. It is forbidden for the employers to hold the ID cards of their staff, because any person must always have his card with him.

It was known that SAIF zone authority used to hold passports of the workers employed in the companies registered in that free zone. However, it has never been allowed to hold Emirates IDs of the employees.

What does the long Emirates ID number mean?

Each Emirates ID card has a unique 15 digit number which is divided into 4 parts. Here is what they mean:

  • 1-st part is the same on all the cards and it represents UAE international code, which is 784
  • 2-nd part usually matches your year of birth, but it could also be different
  • 3-rd part has 7 digits, which do not mean anything and are put together randomly by the system
  • 4-th part is just a 1 digit and it stands for a verification number, which could be a digit from 0 to 9

The number of the ID is designed for each person and stays with that person forever. It cannot be changed or amended. Even if you stop being a UAE resident and leave the country, in case you come back after a few years to get your residency again, the number assigned to your card will be the same again.

What other data Emirates ID holds?

Emirates ID has a chip, which can be inserted into a chip reader to access your personal information such as full name, date and place of birth, fingerprint scans. You can check Emirates ID status in 3 easy steps. 

What happens if I lose my Emirates ID?

In case you lost Emirates ID card, your actions should be the following:

  1. Go to a police station and file a report about lost ID card. The cost of such service is 70 AED.
  2. Notify Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship about the lost card within 7 days of losing it.
  3. Go to any office of Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship and order a new card by paying 300 AED and an additional application fee of 70 AED if you apply personally or 40 AED in case you apply online. Total fee will be 370 AED or 340 AED.
  4. Get your new card through Emirates post office

What to do if I want to change the information of my Emirates ID?

If you want to change your photo or your name (after marriage for example) on your ID card, you should make an application to the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship. The cost will be 150 AED plus additional 70 AED in case of a personal application through the service center or a 40 AED fee in case of online application. Total fee will be either 220 AED or 190 AED.

How to become a UAE resident?

The fastest way to obtain UAE residency is to open a UAE business. Foreigners usually prefer opening free zone companies, which allow 100% ownership of the business.

If the main purpose of business registration for you is getting residency permits for yourself and your family, check cost-efficient free zones in the northern Emirates: Ajman, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Umm Al Quwain.

There are a few new free zones which have the most competitive fees in the market, one of them is Ajman Media City Free Zone. A company with UAE resident visa there will cost you about 20,000 AED.

Ras Al Khaimah business license can give a benefit of multiple visas under one company because RAK free zone has very flexible types of facilities, which permit multiple visas.

You can always contact UAE business setup advisors to find out about the latest discounts and best offers to open a company with a resident visa in the market.

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