New Emirates ID – essence of the changes, innovations and characteristics, peculiarities of the procedure for obtaining the document


An Emirates ID is an identity card issued to citizens and residents of the UAE by the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship, ICA. It is a key document, along with a passport, in which all citizens and residents of the UAE, regardless of age, must apply for an Emirates ID. The document is a chipped plastic card, which consists of components that provide the highest level of security and accuracy, such as a smart card, fingerprint biometric and public key infrastructure (digital signature and authentication certificates).

The practice of using an Emirates ID was introduced in the country back in 2004, and at the end of 2020 it was decided by the UAE government to modernize the document and introduce additional measures to protect the owners’ personal data. We have prepared an article with information about key features, functions and the procedure for obtaining an Emirates ID of a new sample.

The essence of the changes

Since June 2021, the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship of the UAE has launched the issuance of the new Emirates ID to replace damaged, lost or expired ones. The updated documents have been changed not only externally, but also key protective elements have been improved as well, including:

  1. Manufacture of high-quality polycarbonate, which allows you to extend the service life of documents for up to 10 years or more.
  2. A consolidated 3D photo linked to the date of birth is another novelty.
  3. The name and date of birth of the cardholder will be printed by 3D laser printing.
  4. Emirates ID of the new model will be equipped with 9 security steps and a remote data reading function.
  5. An increased capacity chip containing more than 32,000 characters of data will be installed in the ID cards.
  6. Most of the personal data of the cardholder will be available only when they are processed in the E-link ICA system.

Despite all the changes made, the cost of issuing an Emirates ID card has remained the same.

Note! Emirates ID cards issued to expats are used as a proof of a valid UAE residency according to the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs, and Ports Security, as the UAE phases out passport stickers.

The UAE is the first country in the Middle East to implement a system of digital codes that meet new security standards in its identity cards. This solution provides reliable protection of personal data of citizens and residents of the state, as well as significantly simplifying the procedure of identity verification at airports and international ports.

To date, according to the UAE Federal Law No. 9 of 2006, all public and private institutions of the country are required to provide their services, provided that the applicant presents an Emirates ID. When applying for the connection of utilities, television, internet, opening a bank account, registering a car and contacting DEWA, the presence of an Emirates ID card is a prerequisite. If an application for an ID card has already been submitted and it is being processed, you can provide the DEWA service with an extract stating that your card is being issued, and later provide a copy of the new ID card.

Sending a request for a credit history at the Al Etihad Credit Bureau customer service center is also carried out on the basis of Emirates ID data.

Procedure for obtaining an Emirates ID

Citizens of the UAE, GCC countries and residents of the country can apply for an ID card. The procedure for submitting an application and obtaining an Emirates ID card includes several stages:

  1. Registration of the application on the official ICA website, in the ICE UAE Smart application or one of the accredited service centers: Typing Office and Customer Happiness Center.
  2. Payment of the fee, which includes on average AED 100 (USD 27) for issuing an ID card, AED 40 (USD 11) service fee and AED 30 (USD 8) fee at the Typing Offices. The cost value is added up depending on which service you use to obtain an ID: Customer Happiness Centers, Smart App and Typing Offices.
  3. After accepting the application, an SMS message will be sent to your mobile phone indicating the date of issue of the Emirates ID, as well as the deadline for submitting a photo and fingerprint.
  4. Next, you need to contact the nearest service center and undergo the fingerprinting procedure.
  5. The finished document will be delivered free of charge to your home address by the Tawzea service.

Important! If any important data related to the existing and current Emirates ID card is changed, the card holder needs to visit one of the ICA Customer Happiness Center buildings and provide the original passport and Emirates ID to make these changes.

The procedure for issuing the document takes up to 10 working days. The required set of documents for obtaining an Emirates ID card includes:

  • UAE resident visa
  • Valid passport
  • Photo on a white background
  • Documents confirming the applicant’s residential address – Title Deed, lease agreement, utility bill, etc.
  • For people under 15 years of age – the original birth certificate and passport of one of the parents
  • An original agency certificate and a notarized power of attorney if the application is submitted by an authorized representative.

Note! A resident visa is the basis for issuing an Emirates ID. As soon as the visa expires, the holder’s ID card becomes invalid.

Extension and restoration

The application for the replacement of Emirates ID is submitted within 30 days, according to the requirements of local legislation. A few days before the expiration of your ID card, ICP will send you an SMS notification asking you to update the document. For each day of delay, AED 20 (USD 5) needs to be paid.

The Emirates ID is replaced online on the ICP website or at the certified service centers such as the Typing Office and Customer Happiness Center, as in the case of the initial receipt of the document. A new ID card is issued within 5 working days if the registration is via other service channels.

Expats applying for the restoration or reissue of an expired identity card can use an urgent service for getting the Emirates ID card within 24 hours. The service is called ‘Fawri’ and if used, the applicant must pay another AED 150 (USD 41) for the urgency, in addition to the above fees.

The Fawri service is available at the following ICP service centers:

  • Al Ain Centre
  • Al Barsha, Al Rashidiya and Karama in Dubai
  • Al Jazeera and Khalifa City in Abu Dhabi
  • Ajman Centre
  • Madinat Zayed in the Western Region
  • Ras Al Khaimah Centre
  • Sharjah Centre
  • Umm Al Quwain Centre
  • Fujairah Centre

In case of loss, damage or theft of your Emirates ID, you need to contact the appropriate authorities within 7 working days and a new document will be issued within 2-5 working days. The applicant must pay AED 300 (USD 82) for a replacement of a lost or damaged Emirates ID, in addition to application fees of AED 70 (USD 19) if you are applying through the Typing Offices, or AED 40 (USD 11) if you are applying through the eForm on the ICA website.

Electronic version of the Emirates ID

Residents of the UAE can use the electronic version of Emirates ID before receiving a plastic card. To do this, you need to download the ICA UAE Smart mobile application and go through the registration procedure, specifying your passport series and number, a valid email address and the expiration date of the resident’s visa. After registration, you will be able to create a QR code for your Emirates ID and upload an electronic copy of the document to your device, which can be used when contacting any government agencies and private companies until the physical carrier of your ID card is delivered.

How Can We Help?

Lawyers at Metropolitan Premium Properties will provide you with a full range of consulting, representative and intermediary services, as well as legal and documentary support in obtaining any documents needed in the UAE, including an Emirates ID and a Title Deed. We are leaders in the field of real estate services and legal support for clients both in the UAE and in other countries around the world. In addition, our highly experienced specialists will help you to find and buy the most suitable property for you, as well as to resell or lease it profitably.

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