The Emirates Identity Authority (EIDA) has announced that expatriates will be given new identity cards from February.
'Resident Identity Card' will be stamped on the new versions in a bid to distinguish them from those of non-United Arab Emirate (UAE) citizens.
It will only be when current ID cards have expired that expats must have them replaced with the up-to-date document, so the new cards will be phased in.
EIDA said in a statement: "The change is in line with a recommendation by the Federal National Council to differentiate between cards given to UAE nationals and expatriates."
ID cards are used as a basis for decision-makers to understand the demographic of the country and develop strategic planning in an appropriate manner.
Anyone moving to the UAE should be aware that they will need to register for an ID card and that they should keep it on their person in case the authorities ask to see it.