News Column

Ministries implement fingerprinting system

May 4, 2014

Arab News, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

May 05--DAMMAM -- Several government authorities, including the Interior and Justice ministries and the Passport Department, have begun implementing a fingerprinting system for citizens wishing to renew their passports or ID cards and seek other government services.

Justice Minister Mohammed Al-Issa launched the biometric system at Riyadh'sGeneral Court on Sunday. The system is expected to be implemented soon across courts in the Kingdom.

The move is expected to create more confusion with the increasing pressure on Civil Affairs to issue national ID cards to women, which became mandatory this month for renewing or issuing passports.

Mohammed Al-Jaser, Civil Affairs spokesman, said services have not been affected and that appointments can still be made online.

"Online notifications stating that there are no appointments are only technical kinks," he said. "This has nothing to do with the new system and the website accepts appointments up to two months in advance for ID issuance or passport renewal."

The statement comes after several citizens complained that they were unable to secure appointments to issue their national ID cards and passports ahead of the school break.

Demand is also expected to increase on passport e-services ahead of the summer months.

An official source at the Justice Ministry has said that courts and notaries will stop using identifiers and instead use the fingerprinting system to put an end to the false impersonation phenomenon.

Citizens wishing to file a lawsuit can visit the Civil Affairs Department to be issued their IDs and activate the fingerprinting system, said the official.

An official circular also states that passport authorities can issue passports without recording biometrics in emergency situations.

The Passport Department, meanwhile, has stipulated that citizens must record their fingerprints to have their passports issued and that citizens who want to use the electronic service, "Abshir," must be in possession of a valid national ID.

Abshir users must also have their photos attached, paid their traffic violations and be residing in the Kingdom.

Men and women over the age of 15 must record their biometrics at the Interior Ministry, after which they can request passport issuance online, said the department.


(c)2014 the Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)

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Source: Arab News (Saudi Arabia)

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