Smart ID cards for expats launched

May 18, 2011 - 1:36:35 am

The minimum fee for a smart card is QR100, the same charged for the old ID cards. However, to avail of the various electronic

DOHA: The Ministry of Interior yesterday launched smart ID card for expatriates allowing the holder to avail of various government services such as renewal of driving licence as well as residence permits online.

Residents can apply for the new card from today, which will be available at the Immigration Department in Al Gharafa for two weeks and later at all service centres of the Ministry.

The smart ID card, however, has not been made mandatory for expatriates, senior Ministry of Interior officials said at a press conference yesterday.

Director of the Information Systems Department Brigadier Saleh Khamis Ghanim Al Kubaisi, Assistant Director of Borders, Passport and Expatriate Affairs Brigadier Mohammed Al Atiq and Assistant Director of Public Relations Department at the Ministry, Lt Col Mohammed Majid Al Sulaiti attended the press conference.

The new card allows the holder to enter into transactions with the government online. Residents can use the card to obtain exit permits and renew residence permits online for those sponsored by them.

The smart ID card will be more helpful to owners and authorised representatives of companies to complete the visa and residence permit procedures for their workers and to obtain exit permits.

The new card comes with an electronic chip where personal data will be stored. The data can be accessed only by entering the personal identification number (PIN) or through a fingerprint matching.

Those holding a valid ID card can replace them with the smart card on request. They may also obtain a smart card while applying for a new card or while renewing the old card.

The minimum fee for a smart card is QR100, the same charged for the old ID cards. However, to avail of the various electronic services, the applicant should pay QR250 for a period of up to three years, depending on the validity of the residence permit. The fee for replacing a lost or damaged card has been fixed at QR200.

The smart ID card can also be used at the e-Gate available at the Doha International Airport. Using the e-Gate card that is incorporated in the smart ID card, passengers may bypass the immigration formalities at the airport by punching their cards at the gate and pressing their index fingers on an electronic scanner.

To avail of the e-Gate service through the ID card, the applicant must pay a fee of QR100 for one year, QR150 for two years and QR200 for three years.

The applicant should specify the services required while applying for the card. Residents already holding an e-Gate card will be able to transfer the validity of their card to the new smart card, explained the official.

Using the new card, residents can avail of the various services of the Ministry of Interior at the self-service kiosks at various shopping complexes. Heealth services will also be incorporated in the smart ID card at a later stage. The Smart ID Card project costing approximately QR40m was developed by the Mnistry in collaboration with local companies specialising in the field.

The Peninsla