Fingerprinting declared compulsory in Saudi Arabia

The deadline for fingerprint registration for the renewal of iqamas is Jan. 21, 2015

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Fingerprint registration for male and female expatriates will be completed by Dec. 23, 2014, for all Passports Department (Jawazat) services except the renewal of residence permits (iqamas), Jawazat spokesman Lt. Col. Ahmed Fahd Al-Luhaidan said on Sunday.

The deadline for fingerprint registration for the renewal of iqamas is Jan. 21, 2015.

Expatriates will not be able to use any Jawazat services if their fingerprints are not registered.

Lt. Col. Al-Luhaidan called on all male and female expatriates who have not registered their fingerprints to do so at the earliest to ensure obtaining Jawazat services at any time, especially in emergencies.

Such services include obtaining exit/re-entry visas, which will not be processed unless the expatriate has registered his/her fingerprints.

Expats can check whether they have registered their fingerprints by logging in to the Ministry of Interior website www.moi.gov.sa, and then clicking on e-services.

They should click “Passports” in the template and select “Public Query FingerPrint Enrollment.” The fingerprint registration status will appear if they feed their iqama numbers.

Earlier, biometric data was mandatory for expatriate women only for obtaining a work permit, and it was optional for all other women.

The fingerprinting system was there for expatriate women for the issuance of new iqama and a final exit since long time but it was only optional.

The Jawazat made it mandatory for issuance of new iqama and final exit effective from March 23 this year.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on December 15, 2014.