The Emirates ID was established in 2006. It was first issued to senior officials and employees of 16 ministries and federal institutions.
State news agency Wam reported on the first registration drive that May, noting that it generated a "strong response".
The introduction of the card accelerated over the next few months and within a few years, everyone across the seven emirates would have one.
But what was once a simple identification card in the back of a wallet has now become an indispensable part of life.
Here are some of the main uses of the card.
Emirates ID started chiefly as an identity card and this is still a vital part of the system. You can be asked to present the card by police or government entities, while it also serves to prevent identity theft and fraud.
It is mandatory for everyone in the UAE – whether resident or Emirati – to carry the card, failure to to do so is an offence. Using someone else's card is also an offence.
Accessing government services and getting a phone
Over the years, the card began to be accepted at many government departments. You asked for a service and they asked for the card. Official entities in the UAE such as the Roads and Transport Authority, Real Estate Regulatory Authority and Dubai Municipality require it to access their services.
The card is also mandatory when applying for a new smartphone in the UAE.
The ID can also be used to renew car registration, get a recreational fishing licence and pay traffic fines. among many other things.
Travel, health and insurance
The card is increasingly used as a travel document. UAE citizens can use it instead of their passport when entering other GCC countries. This facility was paused during the Covid-19 crisis.
During the pandemic, IDs were also vital to take PCR tests and get vaccinated in the UAE, while Emirates IDs were also accepted at Dubai airport to provide proof of a passenger's test and vaccine status, dispensing with the need for paperwork.
The card is also accepted instead of traditional insurance cards by many providers.
Refuel your car
The Emirates ID can also be used to top up your tank at Adnoc petrol stations.
First motorists must register for Adnoc's "wallet" system and then link their Emirates ID.
After, this people can use the ID to pay for petrol easily without having to worry about carrying cash or bank cards.
Your new UAE visa
From April 11 the ID card enters a new era when it replaces the old residency page in the passports of residents.
It will contain details of a resident's visa status, once a medical test is passed.
The move comes after a “new generation” of Emirates IDs was revealed last August.
The enhanced card has a string of new features such as non-visible data and increased service life of more than 10 years.