No iqamas without fingerprints


The Passport Department has warned citizens and expatriates that it would not issue new or renew residence permits unless all foreign workers and dependents over 15 have registered their fingerprints.

Maj. Ahmad Fahd Al-Luhaidan, spokesman of the department, said on Tuesday that the public has until Jan. 21 to comply with the directive. If people fail to do so, the department would cut off all access to online passport and other services.

“The department is the government agency assigned to collect all the fingerprints of residents in the Kingdom. We have carried out this assignment systematically and gradually, by aligning the issue of iqamas for newcomers at the airports with the registration of their fingerprints,” Al-Luhaidan told Arab News.

He said the department had introduced the measures gradually over the past three years because it did not want to disrupt the lives of citizens and expatriates. This is the final phase of that process, he said.

On Sunday, the department linked fingerprint registration with three services including the issue of re-entry visas, change of profession, and information transfers, he said.

On Tuesday, the department started sending out text messages reminding citizens about what they need to do.

Al-Luhaidan said the department has set up passport offices in all major cities and towns in the Kingdom, and deployed mobile units. Fingerprinting of female employees was first introduced on March 31, 2012.

He said residents can check whether they have registered their fingerprints on


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