Sunday, February 13, 2005

ID Cards To all Nationals and Expatriates In U.A.E

The UAE identity authority will preserve confidentiality as it gathers information and issues ID cards in six months. "The authority will ensure personal information of individuals is kept confidential and may only be accessed by authorized staff at the authority," Dr Saeed Khalfan Al Daheri, director-general of the Emirates National Identity Authority, told Gulf News yesterday.

"The system will track every access to information, reasons for this and approval for it. Any staff member who misuses information will face legal action. Members of the public can also sue other private or government organizations for misuse of their personal information."

Dr Al Daheri said registration of the UAE population would start by mid-year and continue for three years. "Every national and expatriate will be asked to register with the authority's centers to be set up nationally, but ID cards will be issued only to those older than 15. Under the unified ID card project, identification cards will be issued at 15 convenient centers nationwide within three days from the date of application.

"At the start of the project, a centre will be opened in Abu Dhabi to be followed by another in Dubai. In a later stage, remaining emirates will have their centers. Eventually, the authority will have 15 centers in the country over about 20 months from the start of the project.

"The authority will keep a population register that will be updated continuously. For security reasons, cards will be produced in the authority's headquarters in Abu Dhabi. They will be delivered to the address specified by the applicants.

"In the second stage of the project, after three years, the Emirates National Identity Authority will be linked to government and non-government organisations eligible to use the authority's database in decision-making. Eventually, all access to government services will be linked to the ID card," he said.

ID cards will be produced using the latest technology including micro-lettering, ultraviolet ink and holograms. "The ID cards will have as many as nine security features which make their forgery next to impossible. These features outmatch those used in credit cards. These cards are regarded as the most secure ID documents. They are protected by the latest state-of-the-art anti-forgery technologies.

"The cards will be valid for five years before they have to be replaced. During this time, personal data can be updated on a card chip. If a resident's visa is cancelled, his or her card will be deactivated automatically.

"On having a new visa, the card can be activated or renewed," Dr Al Daheri said. The suggested cost is Dh300 for expatriates and Dh100 for UAE nationals, but Dr Al Daheri said a decision on fees has yet to be issued.

Each card, bearing a special number, will include the individual's photograph, name, date of birth, sex, nationality, signature, blood group, fingerprints and other biological characteristics
"It will be an alternative to many personal cards being used by citizens and residents, including the labour and health cards, the driving license and even ATM and e-dirham cards.

"This vital project will help the UAE in strategic planning and provide a ready population census." The Ministry of Interior entered a deal worth about Dh195 million with France's Sagem company to produce the cards in August 2003.

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