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Updated 11 August 2021

Whether you’re an Emirati national or an expat resident, an Emirates ID is a vital part of your day-to-day life in the UAE. With it, you may access government services and pass immigration at a number of airports in the UAE along with a number of other things.  

Here’s all you need to know about Emirates ID, how to apply for one, how to get a replacement ID in case it is lost, stolen or damaged, and how it can help you on your travels as a resident of the UAE. 

What is an Emirates ID?

The Emirates ID is an identity card of the UAE’s citizens and residents. issued by Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (FAIC) is a legal requirement for all UAE citizens and residents, including newborn babies. It protects the individual’s identity and facilitates identification and verification as per international standards.

UAE citizens and residents are obliged to apply for one and carry it with them at all times.

For more information regarding the Emirates ID, you could contact the service via a live chat session or the phone by calling 6005-30003.

New Emirates ID

The UAE federal authority began issuing a new advanced version of the Emirates, having a longer service life of more than 10 years, from the last week of June 2021. The aim of the new Emirates ID is to provide additional visual and electronic security features to combat identity fraud and to strengthen national and international confidence in travel documents. The five major features of the new card are:

  1. Enhanced protection of non-visible data: Data can now be read through the E-link system with the ICA.
  2. High-quality card with a longer service life: The card is made using polycarbonate, increasing its service life to over 10 years.
  3. Consolidated 3D photo: The laser-printing feature will be authenticated with the holder’s date of birth.
  4. Advanced technical and technological characteristics: The card’s chip will have a higher capacity and non-touch data reading features.
  5. Additional fields and codes definition: New information includes professional data, issuing authority and population group

What can the Emirates ID be used for?

© arabianbusiness.com

The Emirates ID can be used for the following purposes:

  • to access government services
  • to vote in the elections of the Federal National Council
  • as a travel document for UAE citizens to travel within the GCC
  • as a document to pass immigration through the eGates and smart gates at several airports in the UAE

Additionally, having an Emirates ID will allow you to fulfil various administrative requirements associated with utility services, bank account opening, insurance applications, and many others.

Emirates ID as COVID identification

The Dubai Health Authority has just announced its partnership with Emirates Airlines to remove the need for UAE residents to present a physical negative test certificate or vaccine card in lieu of the Emirates ID at Dubai airport. 

Residents will simply need to insert their Emirates ID into a card reader at the check-in desks and their COVID credentials extending to the latest COVID test results as well as inoculation status will instantly be verified. This latest feature is expected to significantly shorten the time needed to confirm all the necessary travel requirements of UAE residents.

How do I obtain an Emirates ID?

Create an account at the official ICA website

Use your email address as a username. You will also need to indicate your UAE phone number.

Get your documents ready

For UAE nationals

  • A personal photo (4.5 cm x 3.5 cm) with a white background for those under 15 years old, the elderly and people with special health and medical needs which restrict them from visiting a service centre.
  • Original of the birth certificate for those under 15 years old.
  • Passport or UAE ID card of either parent (for those under 15 years old)
  • Social insurance certificate attested from the Ministry of Community Development (for those benefiting from social insurance) to be exempted for the ID card issuance fees.
  • A valid medical report from the Ministry of Health or UAE health authority to exempt people with determination or the elderly from ID card issuance fees.
  • Original POA for the person acting on behalf of the customer, if the competent person is absent and the application is submitted by a third party

For UAE expats

  • Original of the passport
  • Original of the valid residency permit, a residency under renewal or a valid residency for a person who has not renewed the ID card when the residency was issued.
  • A personal photo (4.5 cm x 3.5 cm) with a white background for those under 15 years old, the elderly and people with special health and medical needs which restrict them from visiting a service centre.
  • Original of the birth certificate for those under 15 years old.
  • Passport or UAE ID card of either parent (for those under 15 years old)
  • Original of the diplomatic/consular card/membership card of international organizations for heads and members of diplomatic and consular missions and international organizations existing in the country to be exempted from ID card issuance fees.
  • A valid medical report from the Ministry of Health or UAE health authority to exempt people with determination or the elderly from ID card issuance fees.
  • Original POA for the person acting on behalf of the customer, if the competent person is absent and the application is submitted by a third party

Getting correct UAE ID card photo

Use the Visafoto.com UAE ID photo page to get a new photograph. It will turn your selfie into one that meets the following requirements:

  • The photo must be in colour
  • 35×45 mm of size
  • The photo has white even background
  • Head height is 70-80% of the photo

There is a guarantee: if your photo is not accepted, you will get a 100% refund.

Fill the application form

Click on “Apply for a new ID card” or “Renew your ID card”, and a new application will open. Enter all the required details carefully and correctly.

Make a payment

The fee of the Emirates ID card is AED 100 for every year of validity.

Visit EIDA Branch

After the submission, you will receive an SMS informing you about the next steps. The message will mention an EIDA branch you must visit. You will have to provide your personal data, employer’s information, biometrics (photo, fingertips etc.).

Collect your card

After you pass all the procedures, you will receive an account number that will allow you to track the status of your application on the EIDA website. Once it is completed, your ID card will be sent to a local post office. You will receive an SMS from Emirates Post, inviting you to visit your local post office and collect your Emirates ID. Make sure you carry along with your passport and Emirates ID application form!

How long will my Emirates ID be valid?

For UAE nationals, the validity period of the Emirates ID is for 5 or 10 years. For GCC nationals residing in the UAE, the validity period is for 5 years. For other expatriates, the validity period depends upon their residency visa validity.  

What if I need a new ID or lose mine?

If you have yet to acquire your Emirates ID and are looking to acquire one fast, or if your Emirates ID has been stolen, lost or damaged, the FAIC provides an urgent service to provide you with a replacement within 24 hours. The service is known as ‘FAWRI’ and is available against the regular fees plus an urgent service fee.

To obtain this service, applicants must visit the FAIC Customer Happiness Center with no prior appointment and provide the aforementioned documents.

The following FAIC Customers Happiness Centres provide FAWRI services:

  • Al Jazeera and Khalifa City in Abu Dhabi
  • Al Barsha, Al Rashidiya and Karama in Dubai
  • Madinat Zayed in the Western Region
  • Al Ain Centre
  • Sharjah Centre
  • Ajman Centre
  • Fujairah Centre
  • Ras Al Khaimah Centre
  • Umm Al Quwain Centre