Emirates ID cards have now officially replaced residency visa stickers.
The change came into force on Monday. The sticker with a person’s residency details will no longer take up a page in their passport.
Instead, all details will be stored on the Emirates ID card.
The change merges residence and identity card applications, instead of processing them separately.
This has a number of benefits.
What are the advantages?
Anyone applying for a new residency visa used to have to submit their passport to have the sticker applied. In some cases, it took weeks for that process to be completed.
The new rule means people will not be separated from their passport and will therefore be able to travel abroad.
It also cuts paperwork, as well as the time it takes to process applications.
What does this mean for travel?
Airports will be able to verify people’s residency status via their Emirates ID cards and passport number.
Smart gates at airports in the UAE now also accept biometric passports. If you are 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.
Who does this change affect?
Any foreign resident applying for an Emirates ID, either new or renewal.
The card, which contains an ID number unique to each cardholder, is used to access government and smart gate services to speed up travel at airports.
The Emirates ID card has received an upgrade.
New cards include a 3D picture, showing the date of birth of the cardholder, along with enhanced protection of “non-visible data” and a longer service life of more than 10 years.
They also store additional data, such as employment information.