How long does it take to get Emirates ID card – A guide for worriers

A digital art representation of an Emirates ID card, with a futuristic touch.

The Ultimate Guide to Emirates ID Cards: Everything You Need to Know

The Emirates ID card plays a vital role in the United Arab Emirates’ social and administrative system, serving as more than just a way to prove your identity. For residents and citizens, it’s like a key that unlocks access to various services and amenities in the country.

This guide aims to provide clear information on all aspects related to the Emirates ID card. It will explain:

  1. What an Emirates ID card is and why it matters
  2. Who must have an Emirates ID card
  3. How to get an Emirates ID card
  4. How long it usually takes to process an application
  5. The steps involved in renewing your card

With this knowledge in hand, you’ll be better prepared to navigate the procedures for obtaining, extending, and understanding the significance of your Emirates ID Card.

Understanding Emirates ID Cards

An Emirates ID card serves as the national identification document in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This card holds a high level of significance for both UAE citizens and residents. It bears a unique 15-digit identification number, which is essential for accessing various services and performing numerous transactions within the country.

Let’s delve deeper into the key features of this crucial document:

Cardholder’s Personal Information

The Emirates ID card prominently displays the cardholder’s full name, which must always match the details in their passport. It also includes other critical personal details such as nationality and gender.


A recent photograph of the cardholder is printed on the card to facilitate visual identification.

Date of Birth

This detail helps verify the age of the cardholder, proving useful in situations where age restrictions apply.

Unique Identification Number

The cornerstone feature of an Emirates ID card is its unique 15-digit identification number. This number is a secure gateway to many services and transactions in the UAE, making it an indispensable tool for individuals residing in or visiting the country.

With these features, you can see how an Emirates ID card forms an integral part of life in the UAE. Each element on it contributes to creating a comprehensive identity profile that’s recognized across all sectors in this dynamic nation.

Who Needs an Emirates ID Card?

When considering who needs an Emirates ID card, it’s important to note that it is a legal requirement for everyone residing in the UAE, regardless of their nationality or visa status. This includes both residents and non-residents who plan to live in the UAE for an extended period.

1. Emirati Citizens

Whether born in the UAE or naturalized, all Emirati citizens are required to have an Emirates ID card. This requirement extends from infants to senior citizens.

2. Expatriate Residents

All expats living in the UAE with a valid residency visa are legally obligated to apply for and carry an Emirates ID card.

3. GCC Nationals

Citizens of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia) who are residing in the UAE also need to have this ID.

While it’s clear that most individuals living in the UAE require an Emirates ID card, there are certain exceptions:

  • Tourists & Visitors: Individuals visiting the UAE on a tourist or visitor visa do not require an Emirates ID card.
  • Children under 15: While children are indeed required to have an Emirates ID card, those under 15 years old have some leeway. The application for their Emirates ID can be postponed until they reach this age.

Understanding these requirements will help ensure you stay within the bounds of UAE laws and regulations related to identification and residency.

Applying for an Emirates ID Card process online image

Applying for an Emirates ID Card

The process for applying for an Emirates ID card is a clearly defined procedure that requires applicants to follow certain steps in order to successfully apply and receive their ID. The first step in this journey involves gathering the necessary documents required for application.

1. Document Preparation

When beginning the process of applying for an Emirates ID, there are several documents that must be prepared beforehand. These documents will help confirm your identity and residency status in the UAE. Here is a concise list of what you will need:

  • Copy of your passport: This is essential as it verifies your identity and nationality. Ensure that all details on the copy are clear and legible.
  • Residency Visa: If you’re a resident in the UAE, a copy of your valid Residency Visa is mandatory. This document is important as it affirms your legal status within the country.
  • Passport-sized photograph: A recent passport-sized photo is required, which should adhere to the standard passport photo guidelines. This includes having a white background and ensuring that your face is clearly visible without any obstructions such as glasses or hats.

These documents form the foundation for your application, and it’s crucial that they are accurate and up-to-date. Any discrepancies could possibly delay the application process or even lead to rejection of your Emirates ID application.

Once these documents are at hand, you’re ready to proceed to the next step of this journey – Application Submission. In this following phase, you’ll learn where and how to submit these documents along with your completed application form. Keep in mind that being thorough during each stage of this process can significantly enhance the likelihood of successful issuance of your Emirates ID Card.

In essence, the Emirates ID application process starts with proper preparation which sets the tone for the rest of the steps involved. It’s important not to rush through this stage since it forms the bedrock of your application. In the following section, you’ll learn more about submitting your application – a critical step in getting closer to receiving your Emirates ID card.

2. How to Submit Your Emirates ID Application

Once you have gathered all the necessary documents, it’s time to move on to the application process for your Emirates ID card. Understanding the steps involved can make this process much easier for you.

The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (FAIC) offers two options for submitting your application: online and offline.

Online Application

To apply online, you will need to visit the FAIC’s website and complete the application form. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Enter your personal details accurately.
  2. Upload scanned copies of the required documents.
  3. Pay the application fee.

Make sure to provide correct information and submit valid supporting documents. Even a small mistake can cause delays in processing your application, so it’s important to double-check everything before you hit that submit button.

Offline Application

If you prefer to apply in person, you can visit one of the authorized typing centers located throughout the UAE. Here’s how it works:

  1. Go to an authorized typing center.
  2. Fill out the application form with the help of a representative.
  3. Submit your form along with the required documents.

Again, accuracy is key here. Make sure all the information you provide is correct and all your supporting papers are valid.

Regardless of whether you choose to apply online or offline, remember that accuracy is crucial in this emirates id application process. Mistakes can cause delays, so be extra careful when filling out your form and submitting your documents.

Next up, we will talk about what happens after you have submitted your application: The Biometric Enrollment and Medical Tests.

Biometric Enrollment and Medical Tests

The process of obtaining an Emirates ID card involves a crucial step known as biometric enrollment. This appointment is conducted at an authorized center where your biometric data, including fingerprints and facial images, are captured. It’s pivotal to ensure the uniqueness and security of every Emirates ID card issued.

During this session, you are required to:

  • Provide your original passport and residency visa for verification
  • Have your photograph taken
  • Give your digital signature
  • Submit your fingerprints

Certain categories of applicants are also required to undergo medical tests as part of the application process. These tests may include a general health check-up, blood tests, and chest X-rays. These medical test results are primarily aimed at ensuring public health safety within the UAE. The specific requirements vary depending on the applicant’s residency status, occupation, and age.

Remember that it’s essential to arrive on time for your biometric enrolment appointment to avoid any delays or complications in the issuance process. Also, keep in mind that both the biometric enrollment and medical test results are significant components of the Emirates ID card application protocol. Their successful completion moves you one step closer to receiving your official identification document in the UAE.

Emirates ID Card Processing Time

Once you’ve completed all the previous steps, including application submission and biometric enrollment, the next crucial aspect to consider is the emirates id processing time.

Typically, it takes approximately two to three weeks for your Emirates ID card to be issued. However, this timeline is not set in stone. A variety of factors can influence how long it will take for your Emirates ID card to be processed and ready for collection.

Factors Affecting Processing Time

There are a few factors that can impact the processing time of your Emirates ID card:

  1. Peak seasons or high application volumes: During busy periods, such as holidays or when there are many people applying for their IDs, the processing time may be longer than usual.
  2. Legislative changes or popular migration periods: If there are any significant changes in the law or if there is a large number of people moving to the UAE, it can also cause delays in processing.
  3. Document verification delays: Any issues with verifying your submitted documents can result in a delay in issuing your Emirates ID card. Make sure all your documents are accurate and up-to-date to avoid any hold-ups.

Variations in Processing Time

While two to three weeks is a good benchmark for the issuing process, bear in mind that external factors can cause variations in this timeline. Be prepared for potential delays and plan accordingly to mitigate any inconveniences.

Stay tune for the next section where we’ll discuss how you’ll receive your Emirates ID card once it’s ready.

Receiving Your Emirates ID Card

Once your Emirates ID application is approved, the next step involves emirates id issuance, a process that requires your attention to a few details.

Notification and Collection Points

  1. Firstly, you’ll receive an SMS notification informing you of the completion of your application process.
  2. This message will include details about where to collect your card.
  3. Typically, collection points vary based on your location and include:
  • Emirates Post Offices
  • Certain authorized service centers across the UAE.

Documents Required for Collection

  1. Remember to bring along the Emirates ID receipt when going for collection.
  2. This document serves as proof of your application and might be requested at the collection point.

Importance of Keeping the Receipt Safe

  • One aspect that can’t be stressed enough is the importance of keeping this receipt safe.
  • Misplacing it could lead to complications or delays in collecting your Emirates ID card.
  • Additionally, it acts as a reference in case you encounter any issues with card delivery or need to make inquiries about your application status.

In essence, receiving your Emirates ID card is quite straightforward. Stay alert for notifications about its readiness and ensure you keep safe all relevant documents, particularly the Emirates ID receipt, for a smooth final phase of this process.

Renewing Your Emirates ID Card information of how to

Renewing Your Emirates ID Card

Renewing your Emirates ID card is a mandatory step to ensure your legal status in the UAE stays intact. The process of emirates id renewal is not only necessary but also straightforward, and it needs to be initiated before the expiry date on your current card.

Furnishing the Required Documents

To kick-start the renewal process, you would need to furnish certain documents. These are typically:

  1. Your existing Emirates ID card
  2. An updated copy of your residency visa
  3. Recent passport-sized photographs

By keeping these documents ready, you expedite the process and ensure that you face minimal delays or setbacks.

The Importance of Renewal

The significance of this renewal cannot be overstated, as it helps you avoid penalties and ensures that you continue enjoying the benefits and services linked to your Emirates ID card.

So, whether you’re approaching the expiration date or have already crossed it, make sure you prioritize the renewal of your Emirates ID. It’s a simple task that plays a significant role in maintaining your legal status within the UAE and facilitates seamless access to various services and benefits in the country. Remember, staying proactive about such crucial matters can save you from potential complications down the line.

Consequences of Not Renewing on Time

Failing to renew your Emirates ID card before the expiry date can lead to complications. Here are some of the consequences you may face if you don’t renew on time:

1. Penalties and Fines

Ignoring emirates id renewal dates and deadlines can result in significant penalties or fines. The Federal Law No. (9) of 2006 on Population Register and ID Card System stipulates a daily fine of AED 20 for delay in renewal, up to a maximum of AED 1,000.

Remember, the Emirates ID card is not just an identification document. It is a legal requirement for all UAE residents, and not renewing it on time is a violation of the law.

3. Disruption of Services

This could potentially disrupt your life in the UAE, as the card is required for accessing various government and private sector services.

Staying updated with your renewal deadlines should be considered a high priority task to avoid such legal complications. Regularly checking the expiry date on your Emirates ID card and initiating the renewal process well in advance will ensure that you remain compliant with UAE laws.

FAQs About Emirates ID Cards

Let’s answer some of the most common questions about Emirates ID cards. These frequently asked questions aim to provide you with the information you need to know about your ID card.

1. Can the Emirates ID card be used as a travel document?

Although the Emirates ID card is an important identification tool in the UAE, it is not accepted as an official travel document for international travel. You will still need your passport when traveling outside the UAE.

2. How do I update personal information on my Emirates ID card?

If you need to update personal details like your address or marital status on your Emirates ID card, follow these steps:

  1. Visit an accredited typing center or the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (FAIC) customer service center.
  2. Provide the necessary documents depending on the type of information you want to update.
  3. Fill out the application form and pay any applicable fees.
  4. Your updated information will be recorded and a new card will be issued to you.

3. Is there a fine if I lose my Emirates ID card?

Yes, there are penalties for losing your card. If you lose or damage your Emirates ID card, take these actions immediately:

  1. Report the loss or damage to the nearest police station.
  2. Apply for a replacement card through the FAIC website or mobile app.
  3. Pay any applicable fees for the replacement card.

The sooner you report the loss and apply for a replacement, the better.

4. What if my Emirates ID expires while I’m outside of the UAE?

If your Emirates ID expires while you’re abroad, don’t worry! You can start the renewal process online by following these steps:

  1. Visit the FAIC website or mobile app.
  2. Fill out the renewal application form.
  3. Pay any applicable renewal fees.
  4. Schedule an appointment for biometric capturing at an FAIC center upon your return to the UAE.
  5. Collect your new card once the renewal process is complete.

5. Can tourists apply for an Emirates ID?

No, only residents and citizens of the UAE are eligible for an Emirates ID card. Tourists should carry their passports at all times for identification purposes.

With these frequently asked questions in mind, you should have a better understanding of how to manage your Emirates ID card effectively.



Emirates ID cards, a cornerstone of UAE’s identity management system, weaves an intricate web of socio-legal obligations and privileges. It has evolved into more than just a piece of identification—it’s now an indispensable part of everyday life in the UAE.

From facilitating access to public services to serving as a proof of identity, the Emirates ID card stands at the intersection of personal identification and societal participation. Its importance cannot be overstated—whether for opening a bank account, obtaining utility connections or accessing healthcare services.

This guide has walked you through everything about Emirates ID cards—from understanding them, knowing who needs them, to application and renewal processes. The key takeaway is this: prioritize your Emirates ID card—be it obtaining or renewing. It’s not just about legal compliance. It’s about smoothly navigating the practicalities of life in the UAE.

Remember—the Emirates ID card is your passport to the privileges and responsibilities that come with living in this dynamic nation.