A new law in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) requires all residents in this Gulf nation citizens as well as expatriates - to hold a national identity card for conducting all everyday transactions.
From banking transactions to registering cars, all regular services can be availed of only when a person holds a national identity card.
"Without the cards, expats won't be able to register cars, transfer ownership of vehicles or do banking transactions," Darwish Al Zarouni, director general of the Emirates Identity Authority (EIDA), told the Gulf News newspaper.
"They will face problems dealing with all sorts of transactions, including banking, in case they don't get the card," he said.
He added that UAE nationals without identity cards would not be able to receive any service from government, semi-government and even private organisations from the beginning of next year.
While it has been made compulsory for UAE nationals to hold such national cards by Jan 1 next year, expatriates have till Dec 31, 2010, to get these cards.
According to the newspaper report, among the estimated total population of 835,000 UAE nationals, 285,000 have not yet registered.
The new card, according to Al Zarouni, is meant to eventually replace labour cards, driving licences, health facilities and travelling to Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries this one for UAE nationals only e-payments and an e-gate card, which provides a fast-track immigration clearance using smart technology and a fingerprint scan.
He said that although obtaining an identity card was optional for children below 15 years, registration with the population register was compulsory.
A service charge of 500 dirhams ($136) has been fixed per family, apart from the registration fee, provided all family members are registered in the same family book or under one sponsorship, in addition to 10 dirhams ($2.72) per family member.