UAE: ICA Temporarily Suspends Issuance of Emirates IDs

June 24, 2021

Key Points 

  • The United Arab Emirates’ Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) has suspended the issuance of physical Emirates IDs.
  • The ICA is currently in the process of transitioning to a new version of the Emirates ID.
  • Applicants waiting for these IDs must visit the ICA website or download the ICA UAE Smart app to obtain the electronic version of their Emirates ID while waiting for the new physical cards to be issued.
  • The electronic Emirates ID is equally valid as the physical ID and can be used for all the same services.
  • To obtain the electronic Emirates ID, applicants should follow the following steps:
    • Visit the ICA website or download the ICA UAE Smart app.
    • Log in with their UAE Pass information and/or personal account information.
    • Submit an application for the Emirates ID renewal, wait for a notification.
    • Log back in and go to ‘Personal Wallet’ section.
    • Choose the Emirates ID and click on the QR code to receive the e-version of the ID.

Overview

All residents of the UAE are required to have a valid Emirates ID at all times. The Emirates ID allows residents to access government services, banking services, and residential utilities services. Last week, the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) suspended issuing new Emirates IDs to those who have applied and are waiting for them. This suspension is due to the ICA’s current process of transitioning to issuing a newer version of the Emirates ID.

However, until the new IDs are issued, residents are still able to download an electronic version of the Emirates ID via the ICA UAE Smart app. The ICA has indicated that the electronic ID is as valid as the physical ID and can be used for all the same purposes and services.

What are the Changes?

The Emirates ID is mandatory for all residents of the UAE. The ID is usually issued as a physical card, but due to the ICA’s current transition to a new version of the ID, no physical cards are being provided to applicants at this time. Therefore, applicants are required to download an e-version of the Emirates ID until the new physical ID becomes available.

Looking Ahead

Although no date has been confirmed yet on when the new physical Emirates IDs will be issued, the ICA has assured residents that the electronic version of the ID is equally valid and can be used for all the same services. Because residents of the UAE should have their Emirates ID with them at all times, applicants are urged to download the electronic version immediately while waiting to obtain their physical ID.

Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an Envoy-affiliated attorney or another qualified professional.

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