March 2009 saw the announcement that Gemalto will continue to deliver its ID cards to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia over the next three years as well as supplying support and maintenance to the Riyadh personalization center.
The credit-card sized ID documents are mandatory for all citizens aged 15 and over.
According to the Ministry of Interior, the national ID cards are valid for 10 years.
National eID card scheme
The ID cards contain the holder’s digital information such as demographics, facial image and fingerprints and can also be used as a travel document. They feature a bar code and optical stripe to ensure enhanced security, and offer a digital signature through a PKI application.
Saudi Arabia’s eID program was launched in December 2007. Gemalto has already delivered a first phase of cards and its secure Coesys Issuance personalization solution as well as installing the centralized card personalization system in Riyadh.
The national ID card is seen as a secure, simple provisioning means of credentials and a secure, efficient physical and
electronic identity verification tool.
The ID card contains several data fields for:
- Biographic information
- Health information
- Family information
- Finger Print
- Driving License
- Emergency contacts.
Biometric technology in KSA
The Ministry of Interior started to implemented the use of fingerprints for the national ID card in 2005 following a decision by the council of ministers.
In Janaury 2016, to protect national security, the Saudi Ministry of Interior announced that buyers of SIM cards will be fingerprinted.
This is resulting from a new legislation drafted by the country’s Communications and Information Technology Commission and all Mobile Network Operators in the Kingdom must now collect the fingerprint biometrics of new subscribers.
Fingerprints will be shared with the kingdom’s National Information Centre to verify the identity of buyers.
Fingerprints of foreigners living in the country have been captured as well. According to
Arab News of 08 May 2018, nearly all of the estimated 12.2 million foreigners Arabia have had their fingerprints taken.
biometrics in Saudi Arabia in our June 2018 web dossier
Gemalto Provides National e-ID Cards to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia