All services available even without ID cards

Residents waiting at one of the Eida centres to apply for their ID cards. (FILE)

Residents who do not meet the National ID card deadline of December 31 will not be denied any government services as no penalties have been imposed, said Dr Dr Ali Mohammed Khouri, head of the Emirates Identity Authority (Eida).

In an exclusive interview to Emirates24|7, Khouri said the effort was to get everyone enrolled in the Eida system in view national security and not to penalise residents who do not comply with the deadline.

“There is no need to panic,” he said reassuring that all services will be provided to residents even without the card.

Emiratis waiting to renew their cards can soon do it at the 770 typing centres across the country, he said. The centres are being given permission to start renewal services on an experimental basis in about 10 days.

He however added that people need to register with the Eida or any of the 770 accredited  typing centres where the applications can be processed.

In view of the massive congestion at Eida centres, as reported by Emirates24|7 on Tuesday, he said people whose cards are not expiring in the next two months can even wait until the current rush is over.

Since the deadline is not flexibile, he urged everyone to at least complete the application process in time.

He said Eida is committed to the decision taken by the Council of Ministers on implementing the national ID card scheme in view of national security and has no intention to confuse or scare residents, he said.

With the 20 Eida centres across the country and the typing centres witnessing heavy rush ot last-minute applicants who were trying to beat the deadline, Khouri had on Tuesday visited typing centres in Sharjah to get a first-hand impression of the situation.

Following his visits, Khouri said that the number of applicants at these typing centres have shot up to 22,000 per day from 12,000 before the announcement came on Tuesday.

He said it was unreasonable to expect the 20 Eida centres to process two million applicants in two weeks since their daily handling capacity was just 10,000.

He however expressed confidence of completing the National ID project by the end of 2014.

On the way forward, especially in light of the ongoing rush by applicants, he said a high-level meeting will be held within a week to determine how to handle the situation and make things easy for residents.

The Eida is currently working to integrate all government services into the ID database that would allow residents to use the card for medical tests and immigration services.

A Dh1.5 billion project, the total integration will happen by the last quarter of 2011 with 25 new offices manned by 600 trained staff.

He said 1.5 million residents have registered in 2009, 120 per cent more than isince the start of the programme four-and-a-half years ago.

Apply for your Emirated ID before December 31

Residents without UAE National ID cards must at least submit the application forms through any of the 700 typing centres across the country before December 31.

Dr Ali Khoury, Director General of Emirates National Identity Authority (Eida) said the federal law that had earlier set the deadline for applying for the cards as December 31 is still valid, Gulf News reported.

He however said that residents who are yet to apply need not panic since the authority is yet to decide on any kind action against those without National ID cards.

While Eida said that most Emiratis have registered for the card, no details were revealed on the number of expatriates who are yet to do so. The authority plans to get all expatriates enrolled by 2013 and link their visas to the ID cards.

In an increase of 100 per cent over the same period last year, 261,350 residents registered during October and November. The latest figures will be announced later this month, the official added.

Chaos at typing institutes, post offices