Evolution of the Emirati passport
All UAE nationals hold the UAE passport, which reflects the spirit of the union of the seven emirates. This is as per Federal Law No. 17 of 1972 Concerning Nationality and Passports.
The UAE's passport has undergone many changes since its first launch. Al Dana Museum at the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai is one such house of history. It has a good collection of important documents, which young Emiratis must see to understand their country's past.
One of the best passports in the world
The Emirati passport is ranked as the most powerful one in the Arab world, with visa-free entry to 128 countries around the world. According to Arton Capital's Passport Index, which ranks countries based on the number of destinations their citizens can travel to without a visa or with a visa on arrival, the UAE passport holds 22nd position globally.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFAIC) recently launched the UAE Passport Force initiative, with the view to place the State's passport on the list of the five most important passports in the world by 2021 upon the directives of Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
UAE 2021 Vision aims to make the country one of the best countries in the world by the golden jubilee of the Union. It has stimulated the ministry to strengthen the State's position in the international arena, and hence, launched the UAE Passport Force initiative to enable citizens to enter all world the countries without the need for pre-entry visa requirements.
The ranking was mainly boosted from its Schengen visa waiver obtained in 2015. The UAE is the first Arab nation whose citizens enjoy a visa waiver to the 26 Schengen countries, which make up most of Europe.
The Emirati ePassport
Ministry of Interior has recently started issuing machine-readable or ePassports for citizens in accordance with the technical and security requirements issued by International Civil Aviation Organisation.
The ePassport has a microchip in the last page that contains encrypted biometric data to prevent forgery. The photograph, signature and fingerprints are printed and cannot be modified.
The first page contains a watercolour outline of the outer frame of Sheikh Zayed Mosque and the last page contains a drawing of the actual mosque with domes and columns.
Applying for UAE passport
UAE nationals can apply for a new passport, renew or obtain a replacement for damaged or lost ones through several channels. They are:
- General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs/Citizenship Departments (GDRFA)
Nationals may apply at the GDRFA customer happiness counters or through their websites. Below are links to the local GDRFA offices:
Applicants may also apply online through the Ministry of Interior's website or through the UAE eChannels portal.
- Abu Dhabi and Dubai airports
Citizens can renew their passports on an emergency basis at the Dubai and Abu Dhabi airports. This service is available 24/7. Read more on passport renewal at Abu Dhabi and Dubai airports.
If citizens damage or lose their passports abroad or if their passports have expired while being abroad, they can contact the UAE embassy in the country they are in. Read more on passport services abroad
- Passports for UAE newborns
UAE newborns are issued passports as part of ‘Mabrouk Ma Yak’ service which facilitates the issuance of all identification documents for newborn Emiratis. Read more on requirements to get the ‘Mabrouk Ma Yak’ service.
Validity of passports
Usually, the validity of the passport is five years from the date of issuance or until all its pages are fully used, whichever happens earlier. After the passport’s expiration, the applicant must apply for a new passport, as extension is not possible.
Documents needed to apply for a passport
When applying for a passport, you are required to submit:
- original and a copy of the Emirates ID card
- original and a copy of the family book
- a recent photo.
While applying for renewal of the passport, the applicant must submit his/her old passport in addition to the above documents.
Who can apply for UAE passports?
According to Dubai Government’s website, the following can apply for UAE passport:
- UAE citizens
- New born babies of UAE citizens
- wife of foreign nationality (by dependency).
For more information, refer to the links below:
*For any information regarding UAE passports application and requirements, you may contact Ministry of Interior on 8005000 or Amer Service for Dubai passports services on 8005111.