Resident ID

All expats living in Dubai need to register with the Emirates Identity Authority (EIDA) for a Resident Identity Card (previously called Emirates ID) before applying for their residence visa. Without a card you won’t be able to complete the medical tests required for the visa. Additionally, if you fail to sign up you’ll also face daily fines of Dhs.20, up to a total of Dhs.1,000.

Each card contains the holder’s address, photo, date of birth and fingerprints, and is now an official source of identification in the UAE. It will eventually replace all other cards, such as health cards and labour cards, and can already be used at the e-Gate service at Dubai International Airport if the user pays the Dhs.150 activation fee. Great for frequent flyers!

UAE nationals must pay Dhs.100 for their ID cards; expat residents pay Dhs.100 per year of validity on their residence visa (two years on the visa equals Dhs.200), plus a small delivery fee. Children under the age of 15 also need one, but the fee is halved.

To register for your card, take your passport with your visit or residence visa, ID fee and a typing fee of Dhs.30 to an authorised typing centre, where your application will be filled in and translated into Arabic. Then, take the completed form to a registration centre, with your fee receipt, where you’ll be fingerprinted and have your photo taken. You will then need your Resident ID application form, certified by the EIDA, to process your residence visa. Once your residence visa is approved and stamped you will receive a confirmation SMS that your Resident ID card is ready for collection; alternatively, it can be delivered to you (for an additional fee of Dhs.20).

A fast-track service at the Al Barsha centre allows applicants to obtain their Resident ID within just 24 hours.

For new residents this process is wrapped up in the visa application process and your company PRO will look after the whole process. If you’re already a resident and need to apply, a list of registration centres and further details can be found at If you’re registering yourself you’ll need to take your passport to an authorised typing centre to get the forms processed. You’ll then receive a SMS confirmation of your appointment to get your fingerprints and photograph taken (a step everyone must go through), then receive your ID card a few weeks later.

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