All You Need to Know About the Emirates ID

An Emirates ID refers to a mandatory document which is issued by the UAE government, the Federal Office of Identity and Citizenship in particular, to all citizens and residents (even newborn children) of the UAE. You are able to use this ID to confirm your identity as well as your personal data throughout all 7 Emirates across the country. It is compulsory for individuals who permanently reside in the country to apply for this document.

The identity card is a necessity for carrying out your daily life in the UAE – from paying utilities to initiating a business set up in Dubai, and to even use government services, etc.

About the Emirates ID

Emirates IDs are issued by the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) and are mandatory for citizens and residents of the UAE. This document is required even for newborns and children. The Emirates do not divide identity cards according to age, but rather according to the type of residence:

  • Citizen ID card – for UAE nationals
  • GCC ID card – for GCC nationals living in the UAE
  • Expat ID card – for Expatriate residents

It is essentially the same for all three types of cards. It is up to the citizen to determine whether they would like their Citizen Card to be valid for 5 or 10 years. A GCC ID can only be issued for a period of five years, whereas an expat ID can be issued for up to three years.

The Emirates ID consists of several components, such as an identification number, a chip and personal information, which ensure that the information on the cardholder is secure and accurate. You can use your identification number to obtain public services that require identity cards and personal identification numbers. The number consists of 15 digits and can only be issued once. The ID card chip stores biometric data and fingerprints, as well as the cardholder’s personal information. Specifically designed machines can read this and only authorised bodies can access the information to provide it to the holder.

In addition to the Emirates ID chip with personal information, the front and back of the card contain basic personal information. Aside from the ID number and chip, the front of the ID also includes the name, nationality, and a picture. The back of the card shows the cardholder’s gender, date of birth, card number, and signature.

What the Emirates ID in the UAE Is Used For

The Emirates ID plays an important role in the lives of UAE citizens and residents. From day-to-day activities to government services, it is used everywhere. You can use your Emirates ID for the following purposes:

  • Visiting GCC countries as a UAE citizen.
  • eServices usage.
  • The process of renewing your Dubai vehicle registration.
  • Utility payments and connections.
  • Property rental or purchase.
  • Verification of negative COVID-19 results at Dubai airports.
  • Opening a UAE bank account.
  • Getting a Dubai driving license.
  • Voting in the Federal National Council for Emirati citizens.
  • Applications for insurance.
  • Passing immigration through eGates and smart gates at some UAE airports. 

Each type of Emirates ID requires the same application process. ID cards can be applied for in two ways: online through the ICA website or using the ICA Smart App. You need to register or log in to your account on the ICA website in order to do this. You will then have to select the service you require and fill out your personal information.

Applicants can also apply through their Customer Happiness Centres or printing offices, where they are required to fill out their personal information and submit the required documents. Depending on the type of Emirates ID you are applying for, the application process and documents may differ.

It is also important to keep in mind that as the Emirates ID should be kept on you at all times, it is equally essential that you replace a lost ID card and apply for a new one as soon as possible. You could run into some trouble if you do not have the ID card on you when requested to present it.


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