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Kuwait to share biometrics with Interpol, Gulf countries for regional security network

Kuwait to share biometrics with Interpol, Gulf countries for regional security network
 

The Kuwait Interior Ministry says that all citizens and expatriates must register their biometric fingerprints before the June 1 deadline. The country also plans to share the biometric data as part of a regional security network. Noncompliance with this security measure will result in restrictions on certain ministry services, including residence permit renewals and driver’s license renewals.

This announcement comes after the earlier news that the biometric data registration countdown began on March 1. As of now, it is reported that about 35 percent (around 1.7 million) of the population have already completed their biometric fingerprint registration.

The State of Kuwait has initiated the collection of biometric data to tackle the challenges related to dual nationality and enhance security measures. Additionally, this will enable the automatic detection of individuals using fraudulent passports to enter the country.

Sources told Gulf News that the government intends to collaborate with other countries, including Interpol, and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, to establish a robust security network. This is expected to solve the problems of dual nationals who may use multiple identities and documents while traveling between countries.

The GCC includes Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The publication also refers to Arab states as part of the collaboration, but does not specify if that means the Arab League, or individual neighboring countries like Iraq.

It has been reported that Kuwait is set to adopt biometric fingerprinting as an official means of identification. Individuals can submit their biometric data at various Kuwait border outlets, including the Kuwait International Airport and designated centers throughout the country.

For the convenience of Kuwaitis and expatriates, fingerprinting appointments can be scheduled through the Sahel mobile application. However, individuals under the age of 18 are exempted from this security measure.

The implementation of this security measure may be rooted in the fact that Kuwait’s population of 4.8 million comprises around 3.2 million foreigners, many of whom may hold dual citizenship or are residing in the country on temporary work visas.

The collection of biometric information for visitors is dependent on the volume of incoming flights to the airport. However, it is mandatory for all expatriates and Gulf citizens to undergo biometric fingerprinting, which typically takes less than a minute.

Kuwaitis returning from abroad are not obligated to undergo this procedure. However, those who have not undergone the fingerprinting process must complete it upon their return if they wish to travel again.

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