As a foreigner in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the residence number, also known as the UID or unified number, is very important. It is a 15-digit number that is like an ID card for foreigners. The UID stores information like your name, birthday, visa type, employer, and more. All residents need a valid UID number to live in the UAE, open a bank account, get a phone plan, and access other services.
Applying early for your UID makes life easier in the UAE. That’s why, this article explains to you what a UID is and why you need one. It also tells you how to apply for a UID and what information it includes. Moreover, it explains how the UID impacts daily life in the UAE.
What is a UAE residence number, or UID?
The UAE house number, or UID, is a 15-digit personal identification number assigned to all expats living in the UAE long-term. The system keeps important details about residents, like their name, birthdate, nationality, blood type, visa, and employer. The UID serves as proof of legal residency, like an ID card. All expats seeking to live or work in the UAE for over 6 months must have a valid UID number.
You can use it for many things, like accessing services, handling contracts, and opening bank accounts. It also helps with getting a phone plan, enrolling in school, renting a home, obtaining a driver’s license, and completing other official processes. The UID confirms the holder’s right to legally work, live, drive, and conduct business in the country. It must be presented along with valid ID documents like passports or Emirates IDs.
The Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs, and Ports Security (ICP or BICA) is the organization that issues UIDs. It is linked to an expat’s entry permit visa and tracks their status, sponsor, employment, and other details with the government.
Why Do You Need a UID as an Expat?
All expats planning to live in the UAE for longer than 6 months must register for a house UID number within 90 days of arrival. The UID serves many essential purposes:
Legal Residency: The UID proves an expat’s right to live or work in the UAE under their visa sponsor. It is required for visa renewals.
To use various services, you need a UID. This includes opening a bank account, getting a phone line, a driver’s license, utilities, and more.
Travel/Identification: Some airlines require a UID for boarding UAE flights. It serves as an official expat ID.
Legal documents, like rental agreements, job offers, licenses, and school applications, often require your ID number. This number is also commonly requested for car registrations.
Without a valid UID number, expats cannot access basic rights and services in their day-to-day lives. Renewing it regularly is vital. Those lacking UIDs risk fines, detention, or deportation under UAE immigration laws.
UID Application Process and Requirements:
Most expats get UAE residence UIDs from their visa sponsor employers or schools. The application rules include:
Submission Timeframe: UIDs must be applied for within 90 days of visa entry permit approval.
Sponsor Support: Employers or institutional sponsors provide approval letters to grant a UID.
You can apply for UIDs on the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship website or app. Some Emirates, like Dubai and Abu Dhabi, have their own portals.
Biometrics Collection: Fingerprints, facial images, and iris scans are needed to finish UID registration.
Minimum Age: UIDs are issued to expats over the age of 18. Those under 18 are listed on their guardian’s UID.
To apply, you must provide certain documents: your passport copy, Emirates ID (if available), your sponsor’s trade license, and pay the application fees.
Once approved, the physical UID residency card takes up to 2 weeks to receive by mail. Carrying this card plus the original passport proves legal UAE residency status.
Crucial Information Encoded in Your UID:
The 15 unique digits of UAE residence UIDs encode the holder’s key identity and status information:
The given sentence is very technical and difficult to understand. It contains a lot of numbers and abbreviations. We can break it down into simpler sentences. They flow well together and retain all the important details and meaning. The first digit shows residency type: 1 for citizens, 2 for residents, and 3 for temporary residents. The second digit indicates the emirate of the house.
The third to sixth digits are a random serial number. The seventh and eighth digits represent the year of birth. The ninth digit indicates the gender: odd for males and even for females. The tenth and eleventh digits say the emirate of registration. The twelfth and thirteenth digits represent the blood type. The fourteenth and fifteenth digits are the nationality code.
Each string contains the resident’s visa class, location, age, gender, health data, and nationality. The physical card is not necessary for this information. To update details like visa changes, address moves, and lost passports, you need to amend this code.
How Does Your UID Affect Daily Life in the UAE?
Once issued a UID, all expats interacting with the UAE’s public or private sector need to provide this official identification:
Employment Needs: Vetting by employers, visa management, labor contract issuance, accessing worker benefits
In banking and finance, you can do a lot of things. For example, you can open accounts, apply for loans and credit cards, and make investments. You can also transfer money and do other transactions.
Housing: rental leases, brokerage listings, utility connections, maintenance requests
You need to register your vehicle and get a driver’s license. You can also use public transit cards like NOL and Dubai Metro.
Insurance Needs: Health, Automotive, Life Insurance, and Co-payments
Legal Obligations: Marriage/divorce certificates, wills, and inheritance matters
Telecom Plans: Landline, mobile, or internet packages all need UIDs.
Government Interactions: For taxes, social program benefits, residency visa services, and public school registration
Travel/Immigration: Airplane tickets must match the UID name. Port authorities verify UIDs routinely.
In short, the UAE residence UID facilitates life as an expat from arrival until departure. Updating and registering it on public and private platforms helps make daily life in the emirate more efficient.