Sunday, 1 July 2012

Where's My Identity Card?

English: Letters in a post office box in a US ...
English: Letters in a post office box in a US post office lobby. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I renewed my UAE residence visa last month. Visas used to last for three years, now they last for two. This is apparently to improve the flexibility of the labour market. Sure enough, a new Emirates Identity Card is also part of the fun and games.

Yesterday marked the passing of The Last Great Deadline for applying for an ID card in Dubai. The Emirates Identity Authority, or EIDA, has been issuing dire warnings and waffling about deadlines since the whole thing started back in 2007. Five years later, the card issuing process is finally linked (or at least, operating in parallel) with the visa application process and a deadline has passed without being extended, clarified or otherwise obfuscated.

I had to go to Sharjah's Central Post Office yesterday. I wanted to wait around for fifteen minutes waiting for a listless youth, who had apparently had all the bones removed from his body, to find my registered letter and experience tells me this is the best place to do it. While I was waiting for the aforementioned youth to bother turning up, I noticed a long, shuffling queue which led to a counter labelled "ID Card Collection Counter". Behind this, there were floor to ceiling racks stacked of cardboard mail boxes stuffed with envelopes and two grumpy looking blokes flopping around and grugingly doling out envelopes to supplicants. Because your ID card isn't actually sent to your PO Box, it's sent to the post office where your PO Box is and then handed out individually. There are in fact two queues - the one with no people queuing in it is marked 'Ladies and Locals'. There must have been thousands of envelopes in all.

This dystopian little scene reminded my of my own, as yet undelivered, ID card. It's been nearly a month since the visa was issued and there's been no sign of any ID card. I asked around. A pal with a visa issued last December is still waiting for her ID card. Another who applied in May is set to go for fingerprinting late in July.

Anybody with a less charitable outlook would conclude that the EIDA people are swamped and the whole system is totally backed up trying to manage the tide of last minute applications. If the scenes in the EIDA back office are in any way parallel to the communications side of things, it must be a tottering, Heath-Robinson style system creaking dangerously under the pressure.

I prefer to think of it as a well oiled machine snapping into action. And anyway, I'm in no hurry to join that long, hopeless-looking queue in the post office...

Has anybody out there actually received an ID card recently?
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SDM said...

It's funny, my experience is completely the opposite.

Applied on 5th May, fingerprinting appointment on 14th May, and the card was ready on 25th May.

And this was right during the peak of the last-minute rush.

Oussama said...

Mine was a renewal I got it in about 2 weeks after visa renewal. Emirates Post sends a text message with an AWB Number and which Post Office.
It was so simple I was pleasantly surprised

Jonathan Stroud said...

I've had my ID for just over a year, but still haven't bothered to get an ID for my wife or children. I'm in Abu Dhabi and our deadline came and went a couple of months back. I keep wondering if anyone is actually being charged a fine, or if it's just another empty threat. I believe I have until the end of October for the kids, but still leaning towards ID denial at this point.

Plastic id cards online said...

It's so funny. My experience is also completely opposite, but however it happened whatever happen with you.

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