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Digital ID needed for passport, residence, work permits in Sierra Leone

Digital ID needed for passport, residence, work permits in Sierra Leone

A new policy coming into force in Sierra Leone from 1 June, 2022, requires all foreign nationals applying for residence and work permits from the government to include a national identification number (NIN) in their application files.

According to a recent alert from Fragomen, the digital ID requirement was announced by the National Civil Registration Authority, the Immigration Department and the Ministry of Labor and Department of Social Security.

The alert states that from 1 June, all foreigners applying for residency or work permits must first obtain the digital ID (NIN) before submitting their application to the National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA).

According to a government document shared by Berry Appleman and Leiden LLP, the requirement, agreed in March, also applies to passport applications. The move is intended to remove duplicates and prevent fraud.

Details concerning the documents needed for this exercise are yet to be released, and the move is intended to ensure that the identity information of foreign nationals in the country is fully registered for purposes of security, the Fragomen alert indicates.

NINs are required, including by foreigners, in countries such as Nigeria for many purposes, one of which is the identification of SIM cards.

Sierra Leone has been working over the years to bolster its digital ID system, working with partners like MOSIP to enable the Sierra Leone government to deliver services and social assistance programs more conveniently.

The country is also building a biometric voter identification system to help with voter registration for general elections next year, a move which has proved controversial.

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