Can a company ask me to deposit my Emirates ID? ICA clarifies

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Emirates ID donor
Picture used for illustrative purposes only.
Image Credit: Gulf News archives

Dubai: If you are visiting an office building or applying for a bank procedure, you may be asked to present, or, at times, even deposit your Emirates ID in exchange for accessing the premises. However, is it an acceptable practice? And can you refuse to deposit your Emirates ID?

According to the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA), an Emirates ID cardholder should present the ID to any entity where the transaction requires identity proof.

“Certain authorities may request the customers to deposit their own Emirates ID for access to their premises to be granted through a visitor access card as a two-fold precautionary measure. That is, this measure is aimed at verifying the identity of the customers and also ensuring that the visitor access card will be returned. ICA believes that these are normal security procedures and are not considered as a deposit or a pledge in exchange of funds or services and the like. Once the visitor access card is handed over, the Emirates ID card will be returned. However, a driving licence or any other official identity verification card may be requested instead of the Emirates ID, as the case may be,” ICA said in a statement to Living in UAE of gulfnews.com.

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“Please note that the legal regulations regarding the population registry and identity card system stipulate that the card holder shall keep his card with him at all times and shall show the card when required by law. The regulations also stipulate that anyone who finds an identity card, which legally does not belong to him, shall immediately deliver the same to the nearest customer happiness center, or the nearest police station. Accordingly, keeping an identity card, and its possession by someone other than its owner, shall be considered a violation of the legislation,” the statement added.

The laws around Emirates ID

The provisions and articles concerning the UAE Population Register System and Emirates ID Card state the following:
● ICA shall issue a card called the Identity Card for anyone registered in the Population Registry System. Such card shall exclusively constitute the official identity proof as prescribed by the UAE Cabinet.
● Cardholder shall carry this ID card at all times and present the same upon request under the provision of the law.
● In the event the ID card is lost, the cardholder shall immediately notify the ICA through any of its registration centers within seven days of the loss date, and he shall apply for issuing a replacement for lost card and pay the prescribed fees. In case the card is found after notification of loss thereof and before issuing the new replaced card, he or she shall keep the card provided and he or she shall inform the concerned registration center for the proper action to be taken in this case. However, if a replacement card is already issued for such person, he or she shall notify the concerned registration center of the same and hand over the old card to be cancelled.
● Whoever finds an Emirates ID Card that he/she does not have the right to keep it by virtue of law, he/she shall immediately handover the same to the nearest registration center or police station.
● Additionally, the UAE Cabinet Resolution No. 201/1 of 2007 was issued on Circular to all governmental, semi-governmental and private entities (federal/local) to activate the Emirates ID Card as the official identity verification proof for all cardholders.

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Earlier this month, the ICA also informed all sectors in the UAE that if a resident is waiting for his or her Emirates ID to be issued, they can accept the electronic version of the Emirates ID, which is available through the ‘ICA UAE’ app. 

Certain authorities may request the customers to deposit their own Emirates ID for access to their premises to be granted through a visitor access card as a two-fold precautionary measure … ICA believes that these are normal security procedures and are not considered as a deposit or a pledge in exchange of funds or services and the like.

– Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship

Precautions to take with your Emirates ID

The ICA also provided advice to readers on the precautions they should take when it comes to handing over their Emirates ID to others:

1. The cardholder shall not hand over his or her ID card to others, especially in cases where the person’s face is covered, as in the current situation of wearing masks, because the ID may be badly exploited in impersonation of the cardholder in this particular case.

2. Should any cardholder lose his or her Emirates ID and does not know where it is, he or she shall report to the nearest police station or ICA Customers Happiness Centre in order to apply for issuing a replacement for lost ID Card.



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