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The justified Resident ID Card?

visa uae

Less than a week ago, it was announced that our dusty laminated cards may soon serve as nifty e-wallets.

February 3, 2013 2:37 by

Let’s face it, the UAE’s Emirates ID gets too much attention. Even with that statement being arguably subjective, no mere form of national identification should be worthy of this digital omnipresence. Having said that, Kipp talking about it now does negate the point of the opening line so I hope you’ll excuse this touch of hypocrisy.

The reality is that this mandatory national ID is unlike any other. It certainly feels like it was created and imposed, only to find uses for it later. In fact, with all our winging and moaning about it having been an ‘unnecessary burden’, its existence continues to be justified on a regular basis which can only mean one thing: the Emirates Identity Authority has heard us.

Less than a week ago, it was announced that our dusty laminated cards may soon serve as nifty e-wallets. Again, ‘soon’ here is questionable because it’s only likely to happen by 2015. Dr Ali Mohammad Al Khoury, Emirates ID Director General said that the card will become mandatory for all banking transactions and will help banks save quite a bit of time. “Emirates ID is exploring the ways to prevent possible misuse of ID card [in e-wallet system], such as identity theft and other frauds. We are exploring a foolproof security system to avoid any risks,” he was quoted as saying.

Personally, I haven’t found any use of the card yet and I know plenty of others that haven’t either but with its significance being echoed and re-polished frequently, it’s only a matter of time before we do. Earlier, when the ID authority was pressuring residents into signing up they quickly realised that setting and extending deadlines could only be effective to a limited extent. Of course, that’s when it was announced that no visas would be issued or renewed without it.

Some say it is typical bureaucratic red tape, while others accept it as it is.

And finally, in case you haven’t already been informed, the card is due to be renamed this month. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been referring to it by its old name throughout this piece but then again, how many people are really referring to Al Diyafah Road as 2nd December Street? Give it time.

Ironically, after years of warnings and extended deadlines to ensure that every resident is pushed into signing up for this card, they’ve decided the name didn’t quite hit the spot. In the interest of preserving a clear division between the country’s residents (expats) and citizens, it will be changed from National ID/Emirates ID to Resident Identity Card. Just to clear up any confusion, you see.

The good news? You needn’t get anything altered for now, you can wait until your visa needs renewing. Until then, enjoy an organised and queue-free life.


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