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Emirates Authority Announces New ID Services for Expats

The Emirates Identity Authority (EIDA) has announced that expats who leave the Emirates will no longer have to re-apply for a new residence card should they return. Rather than being deleted or re-assigned, each residence card’s unique number will be stored, along with the associated personal data, and can be reactivated if the expat returns.

EIDA Director General, Ali Khouri, told reporters that “the ID and the number belonging to any expatriate will not be cancelled or given to any other persons after that expatriate leaves the UAE as they could return to the country in the future…[it] will be stored in the demographic system [with] all personal data for that expatriate linked to that number….”

The EIDA has used the Cards Middle East Conference, the region’s largest identity documentation technology exhibition held this year at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center, to announce a raft of new measures to bring forward full implementation of the long delayed cards.  The EIDA introduced the card system in 2008, claiming that it would shortly be mandatory, but has suffered a long series of setbacks and redesigns. Applicants have recently complained of delays in the issuing of cards that stretch into months, despite Gulf News releasing a strongly-worded article assuring everyone that “ID card problems are a thing of the past.” In spite of these assertions, national postal service, Empost, has recently announced that it will stop accepting any ID cards from the EIDA for delivery due to a backlog of almost 15,000 cards still pending from October of last year.

In order to facilitate the spread and ease of access to the card system, the EIDA has also announced that public relations officers (PROs), locally called ‘mandoub’, will be allowed to pick up cards on behalf of individuals. As the in-house PROs are typically responsible for administering to everything from visa applications to health tests on behalf of assignees, it is hoped that this measure will greatly increase expat uptake. Director General Khouri said at the conference that “Our attention all along has been to increase the enrollment of people. As we have reached a satisfactory level in that, we are now stepping into the new stage of making the card a multi-purpose smart card.”

Our articles are for informational purposes only. Should you have any further questions regarding matters related to UAE immigration procedures, please feel free to contact your global Move One immigration specialist, or send an e-mail to


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