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Plan to Fine Residents Without National ID Card

Middle East : 20 August 2011

Source: GulfNews

The Emirates Identity Authority EIA announced that it is working on an implementation plan for a recent government decision which authorises the authority to impose fines on residents who fail to register for national ID card and population register.

A statement issued by the authority said it is working out a plan for the Prime Ministerial Decision No. 25 for 2011, published in the UAE Government Gazette recently.

“The Authority will put together a robust mechanism to fully implement the Prime Ministerial Decision, which will be effective within 60 days from its date of issue,” said the statement without elaborating on further details.

When contacted, a spokesman of the Emiartes ID said it will announce the implementation plan soon, which will specify what category of residents will be imposed a fine for not registering for ID cards. The government had previously fixed December 31, 2010 as the deadline for both Emiratis and expatriates to register for ID cards.

By the end of December 2010, chaos ensued at certified typing centres across the country as thousands of expatriates rushed to complete the pre-registration process before the December 31 deadline. Many of them risked identity theft by leaving their passports with the typing centres and top immigration and Emirates ID officials warned against such practice.

On December 25, 2010 it was announced that the December 31 deadline for both expatriates and Emiratis was extended. Emiratis were given the time until June 30, 2011.But the authority did not reveal the exact number of non-registered Emiratis after the deadline. It had mentioned in mid-June that an estimated 5-10 per cent of Emiratis had not registered and about 50 per cent of them were children.

Impact on expatriates

The spokesman yesterday said that the number of non-registered Emiratis being very small , the plan to impose fine will not affect many Emiratis. He hinted that it may have an impact on many expatriates who have not yet registered.

As Gulf News reported, when it was decided not to insist on the December 31, 2010 deadline for expatriates, there was no mention about a new deadline.

But Emirates ID then said it would soon link ID card registration of expatriates with the issuance and renewal of their residence visas to enrol all expatriates in the country by the end of 2013.

Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah emirates and some Preventive Medicine Centres conducting medical tests for visa application process in Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Dubai have already linked ID card and visa issuing process. The authority will complete the linking process across the country by the end of 2011.

Asked whether this strategy is not enough to enrol all expatriates without imposing a fine, the spokesman said the country cannot wait another two or three years to complete a project for individual and national security. ID will be mandatory to access many government services soon, he said.

“What we request is to fill out your application form at a typing centre and wait for your appointment. No need to queue up anywhere,” he said.

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