Obtaining the Emirates ID Card - New Expat in Dubai

Published: 2 Sep at 4 PM
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Filed: Expat Guide to Dubai,United Arab Emirates
Every person entering and residing in the United Arab Emirates must obtain a Emirates ID card as part of their immigration process. It will become one of those fundamental identity documents during your time in the UAE, which you must always carry with you and is required for everything, from hiring a car, getting a bank account to visiting the hospital. It contains all your vital information and is directly linked to your central government record and visa.

In order to get your Emirates ID you must first lodge your Medical Assessment application form and Emirates ID application and have them typed by and official typist. Once you have been through the formalities at the medical centre and provided your blood sample and chest x-ray you will then be directed to visit your nearest Emirates ID Authority Centre. There are several dotted around the city and a full list of locations can be found on the Emirates ID Authority website, here.

We visited the centre in Satwa and I can definitely recommend that location. I was in and out within a couple of minutes. At the Emirates ID Authority Centre you have to register when you first get there. After completing the medical assessment you will have been given a piece of paper to give to the Emirates ID Authority staff who will stamp your form and give you a ticket with your number in the queue. Before I had even sat down my number was called and I went round the corner to a small booth where a female attendant was waiting.

The process is pretty simple; they electronically scan each finger on both hands and scan each palm as well. They are very thorough, rotating, rocking and pushing your hand down onto the scanner to ensure every inch of your finger and palm is captured. It sounds tedious but they are rather efficient and it took less than a couple of minutes to do this.

They will also take your photograph for your Emirates ID card; be warned the requirements are quite strict like when getting your passport photograph taken. You can't have anything covering your face and my fringe had to be pushed right back off my face. I was not exactly happy with this look since it will be on my ID card forever, but I don't think you can really request a reshoot in these sorts of places!

The women's queue was still relatively short when I emerged, however the men's queue was considerably longer so if your going with a partner, take something to keep you occupied, you could be in for a long wait.

On your application, which was typed up at the beginning of the process, you will have provided a contact phone number and an address. You will be sent a text message at every stage of the application, which I really like because you feel like you know what is going on and you know your application hasn't gotten lost somewhere in a government building. Also it is worth noting that buildings in Dubai do not have an official postal address and mail in Dubai is only delivered to a PO box. Therefore I suggest providing an employers address for official mail and have your Emirates ID card sent there. The last thing you want as a new expat in Dubai is to be chasing the whereabouts of important mail!

Your Emirates ID card will be valid for the length of your visa and will expire on the same date as your visa, so renewal will be required at that time and additional charges will apply but there is no need to go through the whole process again, or so I have been informed.

About the author

Expat Blog ListingMimi is a British expat living in United Arab Emirates. Blog description: The life and loves of an expat now living in Dubai, have relocated from Cyprus. From food to fashion, photography, design, art, culture, lifestyle and the weather.
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