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Saudi to introduce fingerprinting for visas

Full face photographs and fingerprints will be needed for all visa applications.

Saudi Arabia will introduce fingerprinting for visa applicants from next year to improve security and curb identity theft, it has been reported.

International firms have been invited to bid for the tender to set up a network of biometric centres across the Kingdom to process the new visas, Arab News reported.

Prince Khaled bin Saud, undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said biometric centres will be established in major cities from next year. He did not reveal the exact date of when the visa system will come into effect.

“This important initiative has been taken to strengthen the Kingdom’s security and improve services to visa applicants,” he said.

“The centers will not only receive visa applications but also take fingerprints and full-face digital photos of the applicants,” the Saudi Press Agency quoted the prince as saying.

Saudi has already begun taking fingerprints and digital photos of foreign holidaymakers and workers.

Long queues are reported at airports and other entry points as foreigners wait to have their fingerprints and photos taken.

The new visa process is expected to stop these queues and speed up the entire visa process, Prince Khaled said.

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