Jun 23 2021

Temporary Suspension of Issuance of Emirates Identity Cards

United Arab Emirates

At a Glance

  • The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (FAIC) has suspended the issuance of physical Emirates Identity Cards because of the ongoing work on a new, advanced version of the card.
  • Applicants who currently require a new Emirates Identity Card or who require a card to renew their residency status can instead obtain a digital version of the document until the new cards are issued.
  • It is not yet known when the FAIC will begin issuing the new version of the card.

The situation

The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship in the United Arab Emirates has temporarily suspended the issuance of physical Emirates Identity Cards because of the ongoing work on a new, advanced version of the card.

A closer look

  • Workaround. Applicants who require a new Emirates Identity Card or who require a card to renew their residency status can obtain a digital version of the document until the new cards are issued.
  • Process for obtaining digital version of the card. The digital version of the new Emirates Identity Card is available on the “ICA UAE Smart” mobile application and can be obtained by following the below steps:
    • Download the ICA UAE Smart application on an IOS / Apple smart device. 
    • Create an account or login if already registered.
    • Choose Emirates Identity Card from “Favourite Services”.
    • Select the applicant (Emirates Identity Card for individual and any dependents will be available) and click on the eye icon to display.
    • Press “View QR code” and a PDF version of the Emirates Identity Card can be downloaded and saved to the device.
  • New version of the card. The new version of the card will feature additional visual and electronic security features to combat identity fraud.

Impact

During the suspension of the issuance of physical cards (and after), foreign nationals will still be able to obtain their card in digital form, and can use it to access government services, utility and banking services. Those who do not download the digital card will not face penalties but will not have access to the above services.

Background

  • Emirates Identity Card. All UAE nationals and residents must carry their Emirates Identity Card with them at all times. The cards are used to obtain government services; as a travel document for UAE nationals to travel within the Gulf Cooperation Council; as a document to pass immigration through smart gates at airports; and to vote in elections of the Federal National Council.
  • Security. The new, advanced version of the card will feature additional visual and electronic security features to combat identity fraud.

Looking ahead

It is not yet clear when the FAIC will resume issuance of the identity cards. Fragomen will provide updates as they become available.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to [email protected].