Big Brother is watching UAE's kids: National ID cards roll-out

Published August 12th, 2012 - 03:21 GMT
Big Brother is watching the UAE's youth
Big Brother is watching the UAE's youth

Emirati and expatriate children under the age of 15 across the country have to register for a national ID card by September 30 to avoid fines. There is however an exception for expatriate children whose visa is set to expire later this year.

“If their visa expires between October 1 and December 31, 2012, they can register when they renew their visa [as and when it is done before December 31],” a senior official told Gulf News.

“There will be no fines for them until December 31,” said Dr Ali Al Khoury, director general of Emirates Identity Authority (Emirates ID).

Children under 15 represent one of the two categories in the UAE population still permitted to register for national ID cards without having to pay fines. Expatriates in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah whose residence visas expire this year can register for ID cards during their visa renewal process without paying fines. They cannot avoid registering for the ID cards as Emirates ID has already linked the issuance and renewal of visas with ID card registrations in all seven emirates. Applicants in this category don’t need to rush to get ID cards but can wait until their visa renewal is due.

But this reprieve is not applicable to expatriates working in government and semi-government sectors as their deadline for registering for the ID cards ended late last year.

Except the two exempted categories, most UAE residents have already registered for national ID cards, Al Khoury said. “About 95 per cent of the population has already registered as the deadline for all other categories has ended,” he said.

Emirates ID had announced deadlines for each emirate in September last year as also fines for those who didn’t comply with them. Al Khoury said the fine of Dh20 per day, going up to a maximum of Dh 1,000 was never intended as a penal action but just to prompt people to register in time. Statistics revealed by him suggested that the move seems to have worked. “About four times more people [about four million] registered in the first seven months of this year, compared to the same period last year [about 1.1 million],” he said.

While October 31, 2011 was the deadline for Emiratis across the country, deadlines for expatriates in various emirates were enforced in four phases. The deadline in four emirates — Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Umm Al Quwain and Ajman — ended on November 30, 2011.

Deadlines for Sharjah, Abu Dhabi and Dubai ended on February 1, April 1 and June 30, 2012, respectively. Although the original deadline set for Dubai was June 1, the authority extended it until June 30 to allow more time for a sizeable number of workers in the emirate who had not registered.

Fines had been imposed on some people but Al Khoury did not reveal exact number, only saying that most of them were in Abu Dhabi and Dubai with workers accounting for a good percentage. “But their number is very low, considering the high number of registrations,” he said.

He said he is confident that all children under 15 across the country will be registered by September 30.

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