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50 percent of expats have, or are getting, ID
The December deadline for the national ID card has been scrapped, but the card is becoming essential to everyday life in the Emirate.
September 29, 2010 3:09 by Samuel Potter
In the middle of the month, the National reported that the Emirates Identity Authority (EIDA), which is responsible for the introduction of national ID cards, has backed away from its December 31 deadline for residents to obtain the cards. Instead, EIDA has introduced a three year plan to enroll all expatriates as they renew their visas.
In the meantime, the cards are mandatory for obtaining a driving licence or registering a vehicle. The government’s decision to abandon the deadline is surely linked to the terrible uptake of the card so far; the paper says that as many as nine out of 10 expatriates have yet to acquire a card. “Many residents tell horror stories of hours spent trying to download online registration forms and long queues at crowded registration centres,” it says.
But a streamlined application is supposed to have tackled these. Kipp decided to ask its readership, many of whom are expatriates, why haven’t you got an ID card yet?
The results were more positive than we expected, with 31 percent of respondents proudly announcing that they already had cards, leaving a much lower percentage of people without cards than the National suggests. Mind you, Kipp has to allow for the fact that as mobile professionals with good web access, our readership may not be fully representative of the whole expat population.
That said, 23 percent of respondents said they were just about to get a card – if they go through with it that means more than 50 percent of Kipp respondents will have a card in the coming months, a surprisingly high percentage. Meanwhile almost 10 percent of Kipp readers say they don’t know where or how to get the card (9 percent) – maybe if they did they could be added to the haves/almost haves.
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