E-passport services ‘safe from hackers’

Director-General of Passports Maj Gen Suleiman Al-Yahya with officials announcing the launch of new online services on Monday evening.

Director-General of Passports Maj Gen Suleiman Al-Yahya with officials announcing the launch of new online services on Monday evening.

Hackers will not be able to break into the Abshir system, said Maj. Gen. Suleiman Al-Yahya, director-general of the Passport Department, as he launched new online services, including an Abshir portal for extending visit visas of expat family members.

He said the department has issued more than 4.2 million exit and re-entry visas through the Abshir and Muqeem electronic systems since the beginning of this year.

Portals for Saudi passport renewal and iqama issuance were also launched on Monday.

“We have issued 20,000 passports and 300,000 iqamas, renewed 2.7 million iqamas and effected 165,000 transfer of service and 128,000 profession change transactions through our electronic services,” the passport chief said.

The launch of the new smart services coincides with the department’s campaign to increase awareness about its electronic services.

According to the Passport Department, the new online campaign aims to inform users of its goal of becoming a paperless service by going online and thus having no residents come in person to get their paperwork done.

The department also urged Saudis and expatriates to make use of its e-services to save time and energy and reduce congestion at the department’s offices across the Kingdom.

People can register with the Abshir system by visiting one of the department’s offices or using interactive machines available at banks such as Al-Rajhi, Samba, Riyad, NCB, Al-Jazira and Albilad, as well as at malls and international airports.

The e-government system in the Kingdom has paved the way for a paperless system, where updated information is available online and connected to mobile devices.

Citizens and expatriates have applauded the new electronic services, saying the new hassle-free service would make life considerably easier for everyone concerned.

Waddah Abdul Kader Omran, a PR manager, told Arab News on Tuesday that the adoption of the new system underscores the government’s efforts to ease paperwork procedures, which saves time and effort and averts long queues.

Mohammad Quaiser, an Indian social worker here, said that it would help expats renew visit visas for their family members without standing in long queues.

Al-Yahya thanked the Interior Ministry for supporting its sectors in achieving the shift toward e-government and in overcoming obstacles that may pose difficulties in facilitating the delivery of electronic services to citizens and residents.

He also thanked the National Information Center (NIC), the first technical supporter of Interior Ministry e-services, and Al-Elm information security company for their combined efforts in supporting the passport directorate in achieving its goal and speeding up smart governance.

Al-Yahya also thanked citizens and residents who have benefited from e-passport services for their valuable feedback to improve services.

“Their observations and suggestions were always taken into consideration,” he said.

 
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