Egate cards in Dubai and UAE
Dubai e-gate card, or egate card, information about application, services, renewal. The egate card allows UAE visitors and residents to smoothly enter Abu Dhabi, Dubai, at the airport without having to wait in long passport queues by presenting the card and your fingerprint at special egate reader or scanning machines at immigration and passport control depart from and arrive in Dubai or Abu Dhabi, and maybe Sharjah.
At some point during or after 2010, this information might become very out of date, depending on the Emirates ID card process. The Emirates ID card might replace the e-gate card, or it might not, or it might change, or ... and so on. Which is SOP for the UAE. An October 2010 report said that an Emirates ID card could be activated as an e-gate card at one of the EIDA centers by paying AED 150. Update October 2011: it appears as if your Emirates ID card can be activated as an E-gate card by taking it to an E-gate center (bring passport, money, old e-gate card if you have one, and it should be a quick and easy process).
- Other cities in the UAE are in the process of implementing the e-gate system, and land borders are expected have an e-gate system also. Eventually.
- From 2006, the Dubai goverment was apparently requiring all Dubai residents to obtain an e-gate card when they apply for new or renewal of their residence visa. Unknown how rigidly this is enforced, if at all.
- The e-gate system was launched in August 2002. Dubai International Airport was the first in the Middle East to implement the e-gate system, and the third airport in the world to do so.
Egate card in Dubai information and application
- Expatriate residents (with UAE residence visa) and UAE nationals are entitled to apply for a UAE e-gate card. GCC nationals and visitors from the 33 visa on arrival countries can probably apply for one. Visitors from other countries probably not, but rules can change so check with the E-gate department at the DNRD.
- You should still carry your passport with you. If you have a problem at entry or exit, there is always a customs official there who will assist and perhaps check your passport manually rather than send you off to the non-e-gate queue. They're usually quite friendly and helpful.
- Cost was AED 150 dhs until June 2006, then 200 dhs. Bring an extra 100 dhs to allow for variations or increases. Egate card is valid for a period of 2 years. You must be physically present at one of the issuing offices to get one along with your passport (not expiring within the next 6 months). Bring cash. The sign outside said credit cards are accepted but they would only accept cash when we tried.
- Photos are not necessary - they'll take one there.
- If changing from resident to visit visa status, you need a new card for which there is no fee but it's renewed until until original expiry date.
- If changing from visit visa to resident status, you will need a new card and you have to pay the 200 dh fee. Validity is until original expiry date.
- If you are on a visit visa status you can use the card repeatedly at Dubai airport but after a land border crossing, you'll have to go to the e-gate office to update your card afterwards since your file number changes. This may change if the e-gate system is implemented at land borders. There is no fee for the update.
Tip 1: if your e-gate card has expired, try the e-gate anyway. It might work, and even if it doesn't, the immigration official at the gate might let you through, saving a long wait in the immigration queues. Be polite, s/he will be perfectly entitled to tell you to go through the cattle gate.
Tip 2: If you're travelling with someone who doesn't have an e-gate card, take them with you anyway. The passport controller at the gate might let them through after checking their passport. This is more likely to work if your companion is husband or wife (or boyfriend/girlfriend - but say husband/wife if asked), and they're from one of the get a visa on arrival countries. It's not going to work if you're travelling with a stag party or football team and you're the only one with an e-gate card - it's more likely to prompt the opening of a box of rubber gloves.
E-gate card application locations
- Abu Dhabi International Airport - egate shop in Terminal 1? More detailed information and contact details not supplied, try Abu Dhabi Airport telephone +971-2-5055000)
- Al Ain International Airport (information not supplied)?
- Dubai International Airport, two locations - opening hours approximately 1000 to 2000 according to the e-gate website, but the e-gate office told us they are open 24 hours. Above tel nos from DNRD website might not work. Try +971-4-2245555 or direct +971-4-2161597. Another telephone number seen (unconfirmed) is +971-4-2162388.
- In the arrival terminal near Dubai Bank (or National Bank of Dubai?) just before passport control (tel +971-4-2061598) - after you take the travelator journey and go up the stairs/escalator.
- Near the food court upstairs in the departure terminal (tel +971-4-2061597).
- DNATA Holiday and Airline Center (tel +971-4-3166966) on Sheikh Zayed Road opening hours 1000-1800 Sat-Thu. Another phone number is +971-4-3166465 (not confirmed)?
- Immigration and residency departments in Dubai - supplied information not clear about which locations - Abu Hail and Jebel Ali only?
- Immigration and residency departments in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain? But not other emirates? Supplied information not clear.
- Sharjah International Airport - e-gate can be used but not applied for?
E-gate card issue at Dubai Airport arrivals terminal
- April 2007 update - the e-gate application facility before passport control on arrival at Dubai Airport Terminal 1 might only issue e-gate cards for people with a residency visa, at least that's what it sounded like when we asked someone there.
- If you're a visitor, and there's a long queue at immigration, try and get an e-gate card anyway. Rules in Dubai are often applied inconsistently.
- There was another story that e-gate cards would no longer be available for visitors from any of their offices but we don't know if that's correct.
- If you've tried, please tell us your experiences in the e-gate topic in the forum. Thanks.
E-gate card in other emirates - Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah
- According to a Khaleej Times report 12 June 2006, the egate cards can be used at all UAE airports (apparently not correct as of February 2010). Lieutenant Colonel Khalid Lootah, Assistant Director of DNRD for Information Technology and Quality Affairs, was reported as saying: "The UAE gate cards issued by any naturalisation department in any emirate can be utilised by passengers at any of the international airports in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah, Al Ain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah,"
- The Dubai Government information website, www.dubai.ae, says "The eGate Card, issued by the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs - Dubai (DNRD), in association with the Department of Civil Aviation, allows passengers quicker access through the immigration process at Dubai Airport, Abu Dhabi Airport and Al Ain Airport. More UAE airports will be added later." which indicates Fujairah (FUJ), Ras Al Khaimah (RKT), and Sharjah (SHJ) airports are not included in the list of UAE egate airports (last checked February 2010).
- No egate information found on Sharjah Airport website (www.shj-airport.gov.ae) indicating egate cannot be used or applied for in Sharjah (last checked February 2010). But there are e-gate entry and exit points at Sharjah Airport so you might be able to use your e-gate card there by the time you read this.
Emirates ID card egate card activation
- Emirates ID cards can, in theory, be activated as an egate card. Update: this seems to be possible from about October 2011 ... at least in Dubai.
- To activate your Emirates ID card as an e-gate card, bring you Emirates ID card, passport (with at least 6 months validity), money (300 dhs should be plenty - in theory it costs 150 dhs or so) to one of the Service Addition Centers.
- Service Addition Centers according information supplied by Emirates ID are:
- All UAE Naturalization and Residence departments (but we're not sure if that means all of them now or eventually)
- All UAE airports (but we're not sure if that means all of them, or just Abu Dhabi and Dubai).
- Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ADCCI)
- DNATA Center Sheikh Zayed Road
- DNATA Center Deira
- DNATA Center Abu Hail (Abu Heil)
- Dubai Media City Passport Center
- Dubai Internet City?
- Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC)?
- Jebel Ali Free Zone Passport Center
Emirates Airlines Skywards members e-gate card
- Skywards frequent flyer members with silver or gold cards can have their membership cards activated as an e-gate card. However, this is restricted to UAE residents (expat and Emirati), GCC nationals (but not expat residents though?), and nationals of UAE visa-waiver countries (not clear if this includes Canada or not since the UAE Canada dispute about airlines and visas - the EK website says Canada is included but check with them directly).
- Cost of e-gate card activation is free for Gold members and 5,000 Skywards Miles for Silver members (as of March 2012). Plus an additional 10 dhs administration fee for both levels.
- To activate Skywards e-gate cards, gather up you passport (still valid at least 6 months), a passport photo, Skywards e-gate card, normal e-gate card if you have already been issued one, your DNRD muber (should be on your residence or entry visa stamped in your passport). Take them to one of the e-gate offices in these locations: DNATA Holiday Travel Center on Sheikh Zayed Road (tel +971-4-3166966), Dubai Airport e-gate office near the food court in terminal 1 (tel +971-4-2061597), Dubai Airport e-gate office in the Arrivals Immigration Hall (Terminal 1?), Jebel Ali Port Passport Office (tel +971-4-8818777), Dubai Municipality (tel +971-4-2064055).
- According to Emirates Skywards information, the card can only be used at Abu Dhabi and Dubai airports, not Al Ain, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, or Sharjah (as of March 2012) - "We are delighted to announce that your Skywards Gold or Silver card now supports Dubai Immigration's e-technology providing e-gate privileges at Dubai and Abu Dhabi International Airports." Which sounds odd since we thought the e-gate card could be used at any UAE airport with the e-gate facilities in place.
Etihad Airways e-gate credit cards (HSBC, ADCB, ADIB) and frequent flyer membership cards (Etihad Guest Program)
- 01 October 2010 - HSBC to cancel all Etihad Airways MasterCard credit cards - undated announcement from Etihad says "Etihad and HSBC have jointly decided to discontinue the HSBC Etihad Guest Credit Card effective, 01st October 2010." Instead, Etihad have partnerships with Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) but no information supplied about whether or not an e-gate card is part of the package (there appears to be no E-gate functionality with either bank credit cards or Etihad's own frequent flyer club cards).
- 30 October 2006 (press release) - HSBC, Etihad Airways, and Mastercard partnered to launch a credit card with UAE e-gate functionality. The press release said "HSBC ... in association with Etihad Airways ... and MasterCard Worldwide ... today announced the launch of 'HSBC Etihad Guest MasterCard Card'. ... Other travel related key benefits ... the UAE e-Gate functionality, allowing fast track immigration at airports in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Al Ain. There are plans to enable acceptance at eGates at other UAE airports in the future." But no information supplied on the procedure for obtaining or activating the e-gate card.
Last update Wednesday 30-Jul-2014