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National ID cards in Qatar : from ID to digital government

​​​​​​​From national ID card program​..

At the end of 2007, Qatar began rolling out biometric-enabled national ID cards​.
Qatari citizens are using these high-end national Identity cards, combining built-in biometrics features and contact and contactless technologies as their national ID document.
In addition to the personal data available in usual ID documents, the microprocessor also stores the person’s fingerprint.
Using the cards, the holder can access a new range of secure eGovernment services and perform transactions in a simple and secure manner.

This smart card, based on Gemalto’s eID card, is the size of a credit card and serves as the official ID document for Qatari citizens above 16, as well as for foreign residents.

Key characteristics of the Qatari national eID card 

> New secure biometric identity document 

> Match-on-card technology to store and verify fingerprints 

> PKI-enabled secure identification and strong authentication 

> Issued to Qatari citizens as well as foreign residents 

> Used with a smart card reader for secure access to Hukoomi portal

..to Digital Government Scheme

Qatar decided to leverage its national ID scheme and developed an ambitious digital goverment program.

Central to Qatar’s remodeling of government services has been Hukoomi – an online portal providing information and e- services at the fingertips of those who live and work in Qatar. It integrates all government ministries and agencies to make it simpler, easier and quicker for people to connect and carry out a range of administrative procedures. 

Gemalto and Qatar’s Supreme Council of Information and Communication Technology (ictQATAR) began work on bringing additional simplicity and security to Hukoomi users. Gemalto’s Coesys eGov 2.0 was chosen to provide a more citizen-centric approach to boost uptake and enhance access security.

Coesys eGov 2.0 provides plug-and-play connectivity from any computer, compatible with all of the world’s most widely used browsers. 

There is more.

It requires a simple mouse click at connection to activate the secure identification process. 

Because Coesys eGov 2.0 requires no additional software, users simply use their eID card as their secure credential and input a personal code to identify themselves. 

The solution adds a layer of strong authentication for online transactions. Users can now digitally sign documents or application forms before submitting them, by using their eID with a 6 digit PIN code. 

It also offers a single sign-on to all the eservices in the Hukoomi portal​, so that once a user has logged on to the platform, s/he can access any of the various online services. The keys to success A number of elements have been key to the success of Hukoomi – not least security and simplicity. 

It delivers a trusted environment through a robust, secure and reliable platform. Now with Gemalto eGov 2.0 solution, user-friendly authentication will help boost usage while reassuring citizens on the security of online services. 

The best part.

Since its launch in 2003, the Hukoomi portal has continually increased its scope of services to citizens. Between January and August 2013, more than 2 million transactions were processed. That’s nearly as many as were processed in the whole of 2012 – proving the popularity of the platform for reducing bureaucracy and speeding interactions. 

Better serving citizens in Qatar

There is is more digital transformation ahead.

To promote awareness and educate potential users still further, ictQATAR is planning to place kiosks in government agencies, shopping malls and other public places so people can explore the range of services on offer. 

With a 75% smart phone penetration rate in Qatar 2013, next steps may include extending the program with the use of mobile PKI where citizens log on to the Hukoomi portal using either their eID or mobile phone. 

More about Qatar's eGov program​ here.

Learn more about the power of biometric identification​.