Stragglers panic as time runs out to hit ID card deadline
Residents complain of trouble registering for ID cards, report Abdu Baasit and Ali Al Shouk...
Others told 7DAYS they had experienced a technical breakdown in their electronic application system.
Some applicants who had left it to the last minute to sign up said they started queuing as early as 5am at various typing centres in Dubai and were shocked when they were told to go elsewhere either because the system had frozen or due to centres having a backlog of applications.
“I came to this typing centre very early but my application was rejected because the centre had to give priority to applicants who had queued up earlier than me. They were here by 5am,” said Dubai resident Steve Mitchell at a typing centre in Knowledge Village.
Mitchell said he was forced to queue up in order to avoid paying late registration fines.
“But as I can see it, the fines are inevitable since no typing centre is willing to take my application,” he added. Another resident, Lillian Kami, said yesterday that for the past two days she had tried to register online to meet the deadline but was unsuccessful.
“When I inquired with Emirates ID customer care I was told that the system was fine from their side, but I am wondering why it is not working. I hate paying late fines but I also want my convenience,” said Kami.
A number of typing centres that 7DAYS visited yesterday in the Al Quoz and Barsha areas said their systems had experienced technical problems for the past two days and all applicants were being advised to visit centres in Karama and Rashidiya.
“All typing centres in this area cannot access the system, it is frozen,” said Abdul Kalam Musa, an attendant at Kanal Typing Centre inside Al Khail Mall in Al Quoz.
An official at Al Mabroor Typing centre in Abu Hail said the centre was not receiving any new applications until Saturday because they needed time to clear their backlog in order to ease the pressure.
A number of typing centres listed on the Emirates ID website also said that they had stopped offering services for ID application. Some residents called on Emirates ID Authority to extend the registration deadline since the existing structures meant to take care of their applications lack capacity.
However, a spokesman for Emirates Identity Authority said there had not been any problems with the system. He told 7DAYS: “Everything is normal despite the increase in people who want to register for the scheme to prevent the penalties which will start on June 1.”
Anyone who has not begun the registration process for an ID card face fines of Dhs20 a day up to a maximum of Dhs1,000. Some residents, though, are willing to pay the hefty fine rather than enduring the trouble of applying for the card.
“The fact it is mandatory for my visa renewal means I will have to get one eventually. However, I plan on taking the hit of the Dhs1,000 fine and getting a card in my own time,” said Brit expat Mark Daniels.
Registration in other emirates finished earlier this year.
Authority is ‘coping with demand’
Thousands of people have flocked to register for Emirates ID cards over the past couple of days as today’s deadline to sign up for the scheme in Dubai loomed.
A spokesman from Emirates Identity Authority said: “We had a big rush because many people waited until the last minute.
“On Tuesday there were 53,874 registrations for both new IDs and renewing cards. This all in one day across the UAE, which is the biggest number of registrations in a day in our history.” To cope with the demand of processing all the applications the authority said it had employed more staff to enable registrations to be completed.
“We have brought in more staff and more machines to be used in finishing the procedures of the registration process to cope with the last minute rush,” the spokesman said. He added that capacity to finish processing applications was 23,000 a day but this has been increased to 26,000 per day.
He added: “Emirates ID deals with the whole UAE population. We have eight million and we are doing our best to meet their needs.” The authority said it is using social networking sites to keep in touch with customers and people can contact them through the internet.
The spokesman said: “People can ask us any questions through our Twitter and facebook accounts.” He added: “We have also activated the online service though our website where people can register. This has been operating since February.”
The authority added that 35,000 ID cards are being delivered to people through Emirates Post offices each day.