View of part of the Fujairah Corniche and the Hajar Mountains in the Background

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Deadline for New UAE National ID Card Should Be Extended

The rules and regulations for residents getting a new ID card are on this portal of the Dubai government as well as this Gulf News link, as are associated articles about threats to employers, pressure on people to ‘get a card or get out’, confusion and concern.

Most people are not negative about the concept but there is widespread angst and anxiety about the process.

People are having problems with:

1. Obtaining the right information and completing actions on the web site. People are finding the web site difficult to load.

2. Getting adequate customer help via the telephone—there seems insufficient people available to give customer service.

3. When people get through on the phone they are usually encouraged to visit the post office to purchase a form for Dh40 (which seems excessive unless people are also paying for a process).

4. People are having difficulty with post offices running out of forms.

5. There is still widespread confusion and mixed messages from official sources about whether it is only professionals that need to reach the end of year deadline or every resident.

6. While people have been told to make appointments for the process and card to be issued, many are reporting that no more appointments are available before the deadline of 31 December 2008.

7. As no more appointments are available people are being advised to get in a queue and hope for the best. People are reporting that the waiting in queues is taking between three to six hours!

This process is not good for many of the above reasons. Why is the 31 December 2008 deadline so important?

The ID Card process is causing high anxiety and concern for people who work hard for the United Arab Emirates.

The convoluted process, confusion over regulations and the threats and pressures over deadlines is being noted with disdain by international observers.

The ‘can do’ culture of the United Arab Emirates is up for serious scrutiny and questioning over the many problems in processing the new National ID Cards.

Delay the Deadline
The authorities should delay the deadline for all concerned and work harder to communicate any changes in the process and new services to assist people.

This lifting of the deadline is not stalling for time but treating people as human beings not as animals to be herded and tagged.

What has been your experience in seeking a new National ID card?

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: A happy man with his new ID card.