UAE Adopts Facial Recognition for ID Verification Instead of Emirates ID Card Readers

  • Richard Marley
  • October 20, 2021
  • 2 minutes read
  • 538

Facial recognition instead of Emirates ID card readers will now verify identity.

The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (FAIC) today announced the launch of an updated facial recognition system for the digital certification portal. The upgraded system will replace the Emirates ID card reader, which was previously used for the purpose of identity verification. 

According to the FAIC, the new facial recognition system will identify individuals within three seconds. 


The launch of the updated digital certification adds to the ‘Year of the 50’ project and is also in line with the UAE’s ‘Go Digital’ programme that seeks to digitise government service centres. Earlier, the ICA had announced upgrades to the Emirates ID, with new features, including a 3D picture using laser-printing technology to show the date of birth of the cardholder.

The service has been made available for all valid Emirates ID cardholders above the age of fifteen. For verification, the facial print is activated by an individual’s passport number and Unified Identification Number (UID) – a unique nine-digit code automatically assigned to anyone who enters the UAE.

Instead of verifying the identity of individuals through ID cards and passport scans, private and public services will be able to extract Personally Identifiable Information (PII) from the face print. The digital certificate system has been made available for sectors including banking, healthcare, business sectors, government, and public entities. 

The UAE’s consistent digital transformation efforts have led to the adoption of facial recognition systems. The move is set to streamline ID verification processes, customer onboarding, and Customer Due Diligence procedures in retail, finance, security, airport clearance, and public transport among others. 

Suggested Read: Facial Recognition in UAE to Protect Private and Government Sector