Having an Emirates ID card is essential to living and working in the UAE.
Issued by the UAE government, it serves as an identification card and is mandatory for all citizens and residents to possess.
UAE residents must apply for the identity card and it is advisable to carry it at all times.
It works as proof of residency in the UAE, is an essential identification when applying for government services and serves as a travel document to enter or exit the country.
Where do I apply?
You can apply for a new Emirates ID card on the website of the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Ports Authority (ICP), on the UAE Pass application or through accredited typing centres across the country.
The first time you apply for an Emirates ID, you will need to visit an ICP or government service centre to provide your biometric details such as fingerprints.
You will also need to complete an application form, which is available online and on the app.
Your employer usually applies for the card for you.
If you are applying on your own, you will need your passport and your residency permit or visa.
It can take about five working days to receive the card.
Why do I need the card?
Residents can use the card to prove their residency, which is required by both government and private companies.
It can be used as proof of identity at airport immigration desks.
Citizens and residents must have an Emirates ID to open a bank account, pay bills, get a driving licence and access government services such as renewing of licences or visas. The card serves as evidence of the identity of the person using the service.
By law, companies do not have the right to withhold an employee's Emirates ID card.
UAE citizens must have their Emirates ID to vote in Federal National Council elections and as a travel document when visiting GCC countries.
How often does it need to be renewed?
The Emirates ID must be renewed along with the residency visa.
While your unique 15-digit identification number will remain the same for life, the expiry date on the card will be updated when renewed.
An electronic chip within the card contains personal data of the holder.
This data can be read by machines used by authorities to confirm the holder’s identity.
Some of the data is encrypted and can only be read by authorised persons for privacy purposes.
How much does it cost?
The cost of obtaining an Emirates ID is Dh370.
An additional Dh150 is charged if you want to receive express service at the customer service centre.
The fees vary depending on whether the application is made online, at a typing centre or the service centres.
The card is typically valid for two years for UAE residents.
What if I don't renew it?
If a resident does not renew his or her Emirates ID within 30 days of the expiry date, they will be charged a fine of Dh20 per day, up to a maximum of Dh1,000.
In addition, a penalty of Dh500 can be levied if a resident permits someone else to use their Emirates ID.
For information on the fines that need to be paid, check the websites of the ICP, the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs, Abu Dhabi or Dubai Police. By entering your passport number or residency permit details, you can find out what, if any, fines you have outstanding.
There are specific instances in which you can be exempt from paying a fine, such as if your passport is being renewed or you are overseas when your Emirates ID and residency visa expire.
How soon will I get the identity card?
The card is usually issued within just a few days of obtaining a residency visa.
An urgent 24-hour service known as "fawri" is available.
The urgent service can be used by expatriate residents only in case of replacement or renewal of their Emirates ID.
UAE and GCC citizens can use the 24-hour service for first-time registration, renewal of expired cards or in case of lost or damaged cards.