The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) launched the new generation Emirates ID card on 8 August 2021. The introduction of the high-tech ID card is part of the ongoing upgrade of Emirati passports and national ID cards. 

By law, all Emirates citizens and residents must possess an Emirates ID card.
The card contains an ID number that is unique to the cardholder and is used for multiple purposes, including:

  • Access to government services.
  • Access to smart gate services when travelling through airports.
  • When voting in Federal National Council elections.

High-tech design and security features

The new generation Emirates ID card has an innovative design that includes high-tech security features to reduce the risk of counterfeiting. Khaleej Times reports that the five major features of the new card are:

  • Enhanced protection of non-visible data: Data can now be read through the E-link system with the ICA.
  • A high-quality card with a longer service life:The card is made using polycarbonate, increasing its service life to over 10 years.
  • A consolidated 3D photo: The laser printing feature will be authenticated with the holder’s date of birth.
  • Advanced technical and technological characteristics: The card’s chip will have a higher capacity and non-touch data reading features.
  • Additional fields and codes definition: New information includes professional data, issuing authority and population group.

All of the aforementioned features will help prevent identity fraud and strengthen trust in the card as a travel document.

Digital version available now, physical cards to come later

The ICA will start printing the new card for all customers after completing the first phase of using the electronic version of Emirates ID Cards. The authority did not say when the physical version of the card would be available.

Residents applying for or renewing their Emirates ID card can use a digital copy until they receive the physical card. The electronic ID card contains all the data shown on the card, reading it directly from the ICA database. “The electronic version can be used via QR code scanning technology, to enable immediate reading of the card. It is automatically generated when entering the customer’s document wallet in the smart application,” the ICA said in a statement released by state news agency.

Services and businesses that require Emirates ID cards have been made aware of the change and instructed to accept the digital version, the ICA said.

Residents can download a digital copy of their Emirates ID card by signing into the UAE Pass app or from the ICA UAE Smart app.


Emirates Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA)

Emirates Woman

Gulf Today

Khalee Times (check out their video on the new ID card)

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