Wednesday, 18 May 2011

The Emirates ID Card. Meh.

Korea Traffic Safety Sign - Mandatory - 316 DetourImage via WikipediaHaving applied for, and received, my Emirates ID card ages ago, I no longer take much notice of announcements, pronouncements and other strange noises coming from EIDA, the Emirates ID Authority. This is lucky as I would have gone mad.

The Cards Middle East conference has been taking place this week and EIDA's officials have been taking the opportunity to further inform the public regarding the ID cards, the introduction of which caused so much fun and hilarity. If you're interested in the backstory, you'll find much of it documented gleeully here.

Monday saw EIDA announcing that soon people will be able to use the PIN number issued with their cards. I cannot for the life of me remember being issued with a PIN number alongside my card, but who am I to argue? The PIN number I don't have will soon allow the public to access online services from the government, at first in Abu Dhabi. This is a good thing and I, for one, have no intention of letting any hiccups in the past colour my view of the most excellent services being planned for the future.

Today's announcement is that PROs can now pick up ID cards on behalf of company employees. For those unused to the many strangenesses of life in the UAE, a company's public relations officer, or mandoub, is the guy that takes care of visas, health tests and the many other government requirements businesses here have to satisfy. The EIDA move is all part of the 'redesign' of the card issuing process. Given the cards were first introduced/announced back in 2008, you'd have thought we'd had plenty of time get the process bedded down, but apparently not. Applicants have complaning about delays in issuing cards that stretch into weeks according to Gulf News, which does cite EIDA as saying 70% are delivered within five days.

The big news, however, is that the National ID card is 'to be mandatory' according to the GN piece, which manages somehow to keep a straight face in its reporting of a card we were first told would be mandatory back in 2008 and which has managed to be largely useful in the intervening period as a way of opening certain types of locked door, as a handy wallet-stiffener or a useful tool in prising apart the fingers and thumbs of accidentally super-glued infants.

Any contributions regarding other potential uses for Emirates Identity Cards are welcome.
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9 comments:

Luke said...

I am finding hard to think of a worse job than being a mandoub. It's bad enough every few years, but could you imagine having to deal with this nonsense on a daily basis?

Sarah Walton - The Hedonista said...

Just renewing mine now. My husband's office submitted both forms as husband and wife at the same time. I just got my SMS for the appointments. My husbands is at 7:30 am in Karama in one week. Mine is at 7:45 am in Al Barsha the following week.

Sometimes I wonder if they are just doing this to annoy us? Or is it really that difficult...

Anonymous said...

Just renewed my Marine Radio Licence and my Boat Registration. Emirates ID ? No..... passport copy with Visa Page please.
Funnily enough my daughter has been using it in the UK as proof of age...

Brendan said...

I use mine for scraping stubborn food from dishes. try it. works a treat.

Grumpy Goat said...

Quoting my ID card number on the online application form enabled me to obtain a Police Good Conduct Certificate within three days.

I was astonished.

Harsha said...

I use it as a proof of age to enter clubs/bars as well. I'd rather lose this than my license in a probable drunken state. It actually doesnt work all the time. Bouncers just stare at it blankly and wonder what they're supposed to do with it.

Also used it during a CID checking round while partying in Umm Al Quwain. Its useful as a proof of existing visa if you're not carrying your passport around.

Not sure what happens to it if you get your Visa cancelled though.

Dave said...

I understand that it is used a lot outside of the UAE to separate certain powders used for nasal digestion....

Anonymous said...

I tried to use it when collecting cards for my family but the EIDA courier wanted to see my drivers licence instead.

Gnomad said...

I use my old Qatar ID card for removing the frost from the windscreen of my car, it's excellent for that. Needless to say I'm not in the Gulf any more and so can't think of a use for the Emirates ID card at all.

In Saudi we were convinced that there was a "Department of (M)ucking About the infidel" (often referred to by it's initials, DFA), a branch of government with, apparently, the sole task of making life difficult for any non native persons going through the bureaucracy.

I am sure that all Gulf states have an incarnation of the this government department. They couldn't be that awkward, stubborn and bloody-minded by accident.

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