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A comprehensive step-by-step instruction guide to setting up in the UAE, from applying for your residence visa and resident ID to renting a home and opening a bank account.


All expats living in the UAE need to register for a Resident Identity Card (previously known as Emirates ID) before applying for their residence visa. You will not be able to complete the medical tests required for a visa unless you have begun this process and have an application form certified by the Registration Centre at the Emirates Identity Authority (EIDA). Additionally, those who fail to sign up will face daily fines. Each card contains the holder’s address, photo, date of birth and fingerprints, and is now an official source of identification in the UAE.

Visit id.gov.ae/en  for the latest news about resident IDs


  • Entry permit (organised by employer) or visit visa (if on family sponsorship)
What to bring
  • Passport (original and copy)
  • Entry permit (if applying for employment residence visa)
  • Visit visa (if applying for family residence visa)
  • Dhs.200 (based on having a two-year visa, or Dhs.100 per year of validity)
  • Dhs.70 typing fee


  • First visit a typing centre with documents to complete relevant application form (or online at id.gov.ae/en).
  • Visit the Emirates Identity Authority centre to pay the fees and submit the application.
  • You will be photographed and your fingerprints will be taken.
  • You will be given your completed application form, stamped and certified by the EIDA, which you will then need for your residence visa application and medical test.
  • Once your residence visa is approved and stamped you will receive a confirmation SMS that the Resident ID card is ready for collection.
  • You, or someone on your behalf, can pick up the Resident ID at an Emirates Post Office. Your ID (i.e. passport) and your ID application form must be shown.