Kuwait Leads Initiative, Unified GCC Biometric Fingerprint Linkage on the Anvil

Biometric fingerprinting data will aid in identifying dual nationality holders

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Staff Writer, TLR

Published on March 25, 2024, 16:17:47


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As Kuwait moves forward with the implementation of mandatory biometric fingerprinting for both its citizens and expatriates, a collaborative initiative is unfolding among the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states to establish a unified fingerprint system, as reported by a Kuwaiti newspaper.

The Kuwaiti Interior Ministry has set a three-month deadline, commencing on March 1, for the mandatory biometric fingerprinting process. Failure to comply will result in restricted access to ministry services, including residency permit (iqama) renewals and driver's licence procedures.

Reportedly, approximately 1.7 million individuals in Kuwait, out of its population of 4.8 million, primarily comprising expatriates, have already undergone biometric fingerprinting, according to informed sources cited by a newspaper.

"The accelerated implementation of fingerprinting in Kuwait and the establishment of a three-month deadline resulted from coordinated efforts among the Gulf countries," stated the sources, though specifics were not provided.

Some nations have advocated for expeditious security linkage implementation and data exchange. Completion of this process is expected to automatically address issues related to dual nationality.

"The establishment of a biometric fingerprint database will significantly enhance security cooperation with other countries, including Interpol, Arab states, and particularly the Gulf nations," remarked the sources.

They further elaborated that this initiative would facilitate the identification of individuals wanted in security cases and curb attempts by individuals using forged passports to enter Kuwait.

Collaborative efforts are underway among GCC countries to resolve challenges associated with dual nationality, which impose financial and social burdens. Biometric fingerprinting data will aid in identifying dual nationality holders who may utilize various identity documents while traveling.

"Biometric fingerprinting will establish an official identity reference database, a requirement for entry and departure in numerous countries," concluded the sources.

The Kuwaiti Interior Ministry affirmed that personnel are actively conducting biometric fingerprinting procedures for Kuwaitis, other GCC nationals, and expatriates at Kuwait's border points, including the Kuwait International Airport and designated centers nationwide.

In addition to Kuwait, the GCC comprises the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain and Qatar.

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