Key questions answered as Emirates ID replaces UAE residency visa

Card replaces residency visa stickers on passports

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The Emirates ID — the UAE's identification card system — is continuing to evolve and become more efficient.

In August, officials unveiled a "new generation" Emirates ID that has enhanced protection of non-visible data and increased service life of more than 10 years. It includes a 3D picture using laser-printing technology to show the date of birth of the cardholder.

The latest update on Tuesday from the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Port Security will replace residency visa stickers on passports with card — one less process in the application process for expats.

A circular was sent by the authority to departments and airlines who can now verify the residency status through the passport number and Emirates ID.

Here, The National takes a look at what the most recent announcement means for UAE residents.

What's different?

The changes will merge the residence and identity card applications, instead of the previous separate applications.

The new Emirates ID cards will include the details previously stored in the residence sticker.

Once a medical test is passed, residents’ visa status will now be available in the Emirates ID.

The authority also said its smart application provides the possibility to obtain an electronic copy of the identity card.

Emirates ID to replace residency visa stamp in passports

Emirates ID to replace residency visa stamp in passports

When will it change?

Authorities said the changeover will happen from April 11.

What are the advantages?

The decision will reduce the paperwork associated with the process of issuing and renewing the residency visa.

The most practical advantage is the visa won't take up a page of your passport.

It will also improve efficiency. Currently, anyone applying for a new residency visa has to submit their passport to have the sticker applied. In some cases, it could take weeks for the process to be completed.

Who does it apply to?

Any foreign resident applying for an Emirates ID.

How will it affect smart gates at the airport?

Smart gates at airports in the UAE now accept biometric passports. If you’re registered for the smart gates, you can pass through by simply looking at the green light on top of the camera to verify your biometrics.

Updated: April 07, 2022, 8:34 AM