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Effective this year, expatriates can apply for three official documents — residence visas, labour cards and identity cards, with a single visit to an authorised typing centre, a top official has told Gulf News.

"About 200 typing centres in the country are already helping expatriates to process the application for residence visa and labour card, and they will have a greater role in the new system. A single application form will be introduced for residence visa, labour card and ID card as part of integrating various official documents with ID card by fourth quarter of [this] year", said Dr Ali Al Khoury, Acting Director General of Emirates Identity Authority (EIDA)."A card [ID card] will serve the purpose of three documents," he said.

The residence visa will be integrated into the ID card by the fourth quarter after linking residence visa issuing and renewal, with ID card registration, Al Khoury said.

"Instead of showing the visa page of your passport [for any official purpose], you can produce the ID card," the official said.

During the next stage, the labour card will be integrated into the ID card, he explained.

"For those who are seeking to issue new residence visas or renew them, there will be only one application form to fill out at the typing centres for the residence visa, ID card and labour card. This is a very logical move since all three application forms include duplicate biographical data such as names, nationalities, gender, marital status, etc." he explained.

He said it is also a part of a total revamp of the ID card registration system whose pre-registration application process will be moved to typing centres.

"To maximise our enrolment capacity we need to be where the people are… or visit... Therefore, we will introduce new registration channels and not rely on our centres only," said Al Khoury, referring to the opening of more than 25 registration centres in health centres across the UAE which conduct visa medical tests (as previously reported by Gulf News).

"We are a service provider ... our primary objective is to focus on the authority's mandate, and is to enrol the UAE population, so these [steps] attempt to increase the present capacity of 5,000 registrations a day to 15,000 a day," the official explained.

"With the pre-registration application process in typing centres, applicants don't need to download pre-registration application software from websites and fill out an application form.

A British immigration officer checking a passport "Instead, existing typing centres that are doing the residency application forms will be equipped with the new application form to fill it out, scan in any required documents such the passport, and also accept payments. EIDA centres will just take the fingerprint and photo to complete the process,"


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