The deadline for expat professionals to apply for their national ID cards has reportedly been shifted back further, to the end of 2010.
Darwish al Zarouni, Director General of the Emirates Identity Authority (Eida), told media yesterday that while it was still recommended that non-national white-collar workers registered for an ID card before the February 28 deadline, they would not be denied access to government services if they had not complied until the end of next year.
Emirates Business reported last November that the deadline had shifted to the end of 2010, however at that time, Al Zarouni had clarified that no fines would be imposed on expatriates who failed to obtain the ID card before the end of 2009. It is understood that authorities at that time hoped expats would at least apply for their cards before the end of 2009.
By November, only 60,000 of an estimated 600,000 expatriates then living in the UAE had applied for the cards.
However, Al Zarouni told reporters yesterday the decision was taken to make life easier for those who applied and that “it was up to the individual” to decide when before 2010 they would apply.
Expats were previously warned they would be denied access to services, such as visiting the doctor or obtaining a driver’s licence, if they failed to obtain their cards by February 28. Authorities later announced the deadline would be December 2009.
The mandatory one-card scheme has been billed as beneficial for both nationals and expatriates as it would eliminate the need to carry multiple government-issued cards such as work permits, driving licences, passports and e-cards.