Saudi Arabia Introduces e-Passport To Enhance Security & Cut Out Misuse 

Saudi Arabia has recently launched a new chip-based e-Passport. This is aimed at boosting security and easing international travel.  

The Saudi Minister of Interior Prince Abdul Aziz bin Saud bin Naif inaugurated Saudi Arabia’s new e-Passport at an event that took place at the Directorate General of Passports, in Riyadh, on February 10, 2022.  

He was briefed on the e-passport’s added values and the services it offered to citizens, residents, and visitors. In fact, he also tested its top-of-the-line security features. A visual presentation was shown to Prince Abdul Aziz, explaining the key drivers behind the establishment and development of the passport sector. 

At the Saudi Arabia e-Passport inauguration event, Prince Abdul Aziz officially signed the e-Passport inauguration document, a joint cooperation initiative between the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Finance and Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority. 

Features of the e-Passport include an electronic chip to safeguard the user’s personal information and photos. It also has a verification feature to be used at smart gates at international borders. The new Saudi Arabian e-Passport fulfils all international ICAO regulations and requirements. 

As the e-passport has a detailed design and state-of-the-art security features, it is of immense value to Saudi Arabia. Moreover, the new Saudi e-Passport is very beneficial because it is well-equipped technology-wise as well. Also, its pages are decorated with Saudi Arabia’s noteworthy cultural and historic landmarks, such as the Clock Tower of Makkah. 

Saudi citizens can apply for the new e-Passport on the Absher electronic platform, where applicants can make a follow-up appointment in the appointment section. 

The applicant should then go, in person to the nearest regional General Directorate of Passports department and present all the essential documents such as an ID card, two passport photos, and the old passport. 

The documents are then reviewed by the General Directorate of Passports and are delivered to the applicant by “SPL” Saudi Post within 3 working days. The fees for passport issuance and renewal are the same that is, 300 KSA riyals for a 5-year passport; 600 KSA riyals for a 10-year passport. The passport also includes three images of the passport holder, each containing different technology. 

Director-General of Passports Lt. Gen. Sulaiman bin Abdul Aziz Al-Yahya said his directorate has witnessed a great and rapid development over the recent years, thanks to Allah and the directives and support of King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and the continuous follow-up from Prince Abdul Aziz bin Saud, minister of interior. 

Key Features: 

  • A chip embedded in the passport will ensure the security of the passport holder’s data. 
  • The chip in the electronic passport adds advanced security features to it. That is, if anyone tries to tamper with the chip, the system will be able to detect it. 
  • The electronic passport cannot be tampered with and misuse of the passport can be prevented. 
  • Electronic passports contain all the applicants’ personal details stored digitally and signed on the chip. 
  • Also, access to information is protected in such a way that the chip cannot be read without physical possession of the passport. 
  • The memory of the said chip is 64KB, while information about 30 international movements and visits can be stored in it. 
  • Another advantage of an electronic passport is that it can be read in just a few seconds, which saves time. 

It is a part of the digital transformation process, which is one of the goals of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. 

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