Dubai ties visa renewal to Emirates ID card

Workers in city’s free zones will need to register for ID cards ahead of visa renewal
Dubai ties visa renewal to Emirates ID card
Emirates Identity Authority (Eida) has faced an uphill struggle in convincing UAE residents to sign up for the identification cards
By Elizabeth Broomhall
Wed 27 Jul 2011 01:26 PM

Workers in any of Tecom’s eleven free zones will need to register for their Emirates ID card before renewing or applying for visas, authorities said Tuesday.

Effective from Sunday July 31, expatriates and Emiratis in the free zone will need to register for the identification card before they can complete the medical tests needed for visa applications.

In a statement to companies working in its free zones, Tecom Investments said linking the two processes should smooth the path for workers applying for identification cards.

“Applying online or offline for a new or renewal of residence visa… automatically initiates the process of acquiring/renewing an Emirates ID card,” said the circular, seen by Arabian Business.

Tecom’s free zones span Dubai Media City, Dubai Internet City, Dubai Outsource Zone, DuBiotech, Dubai Knowledge Village, Enpark Energy and Environment, Dubai Healthcare City and Dubai International Academic City complex.

Emirates Identity Authority (Eida) has faced an uphill struggle in convincing UAE residents to sign up for their mandatory identification cards, despite a series of deadlines.

Each card contains the holder’s address, photo, date of birth and fingerprints and can be used as an official source of identification in the UAE.

Eida has long planned to tie the scheme to the compulsory medical test that residents are obliged to take when their residency visas are renewed, but workers in Tecom’s free zones are the first in Dubai to be forced to apply for the ID cards before undergoing their visa medicals.

It is likely the UAE government will increasingly require expatriates to present ID cards when dealing with federal agencies, in a bid to pressure residents into signing up for the scheme, said

Browyn Colgan, a senior associate at Clyde and Co and specialist in employment and immigration law.

“It is our understanding that the Eida will put no final deadline in place [for expatriates to have ID cards] and there is no plan to issue fines to expatriates who don’t have the ID cards,” she said.

“But what they have said is that it will become increasingly difficult for individuals to deal with government departments and to complete transactions if they don’t have ID cards. What is happening in Tecom, you will see rolled out by other government departments in the UAE.”

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