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Monday, June 14, 2021

Citing security reasons, Qatar mulls law to put addresses on ID cards

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Qatar identity cards may soon include the residential addresses of their holders’, in an apparent bid to step up security in the state.

During its weekly meeting yesterday, the Cabinet approved a draft decision by the Interior Minister to determine the information on the ID cards for Qataris and expats, and the documents required to produce them, Qatar News Agency reports.

The news comes as the Ministry of Interior’s General Directorate of Nationality, Borders and Expatriate Affairs announced that during this week’s Milipol military expo in Doha,  it signed a QR9.9 million contract with Itqan Technologies for smart ID cards.

Details of the deal have yet to be disclosed.

Almost all adult residents of Qatar are required to have ID cards. They do not legally have to carry the ID with them at all times.

However, failure to produce an ID card when demanded by a law enforcement official (not necessarily on the spot) could lead to a fine of up to QR10,000.

Nevertheless, most residents frequently carry their ID cards with them, as they are often required to produce them to gain access to residential compounds, apartment blocks and some clubs.

MOI also undertakes periodic spot-checks around town, stopping cars and asking residents to show their ID cards.

Card details

Most residents are currently issued traditional ID cards, “smart” cards are also now available. These cards, which feature biometric data such as fingerprints and eye scans on an embedded electronic chip used to verify the cardholder’s’ identity, were introduced in 2011.

Smart cards can be obtained when residents register for e-gate – which fast-tracks them through passport control queues at Hamad International Airport.

According to the Peninsula, the idea to put home addresses on ID cards is one way Qatar hopes to improve internal state security, by making it easier for authorities to track down residents.

The newspaper added that all residents are already required by law to inform police of their most up-to-date postal and home addresses – although this is not strictly enforced.

“But from the interior ministry’s draft decision approved by the Cabinet yesterday it is obvious that it is now going to enforce the law quite seriously,” the Peninsula quotes local lawyer Mohsin Thiyab Al Suwaidi as saying.

Al Suwaidi added that the presence of addresses on ID cards would assist courts in summoning an individual relating to a legal case.

Including home address details on an official card is not unusual internationally, with many countries such as the US, Canada and the UK requiring this information on drivers’ licenses.

But the potential move raises questions about personal security. For example, if an ID card is lost or stolen, the holder’s home would be easy to find.

Also, as many expats move frequently, it could put a considerable administrative burden on the individual to inform authorities of the change, and also the ministry to issue new ID cards.

Address system

Al Suwaidi also cited safety reasons for including the physical address on ID cards, saying it would help many people who do not know how to describe to first responders where they live in the event of an emergency.

blue address plate

Qatar’s lack of a formal street name and house numbering system can lead to confusion about the precise location of a particular address.

The Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning has been trying to tackle this problem by posting blue address plaques outside commercial, residential and public properties.

These list the building, zone and street numbers and serve as public addresses.

They can be used to navigate the country via an online service that helps residents locate places based on the information listed on the plates.

Thoughts?

11 COMMENTS

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MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

Haha,

“Al Suwaidi added that the presence of addresses on ID cards would assist
courts in summoning an individual relating to a legal case.”

My address is the Qatar Embassy in Belgium and I can’t be bothered to turn up for a court case in Qatar to which I have been summoned. Even if you convict me, after I can eventually be bothered to turn up, I’ll just go back to Belgium representing the State of Qatar as a convicted criminal and serve no jail time.

taurz
taurz
6 years ago

“They do not legally have to carry the ID with them at all times.” ???

You mean, “They HAVE to legally ………”

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
6 years ago
Reply to  taurz

Did you click the link in the sentence?

“It is not a crime punishable with a fine if an expatriate does not carry with him his Qatar identity (ID) card, a senior official from the Ministry of Interior has clarified.”

http://thepeninsulaqatar.com/news/qatar/244620/official-clarifies-id-fine-confusion-

brorick
brorick
6 years ago

1st of all, half the low rise towers in Qatar dont have a known address (it was fun setting up my internet..I even had a copy of my house contract and they couldnt find my address)
2nd Many, Many people here move houses at least once a year ( I know many who have moved two to three times in the past year)

Howard
Howard
6 years ago

Why not record the address on the card electronically? Then no requirement to change the card, but address could be easily updated using a terminal, at for example a police station, where your ID/address could be checked in a few mins.

This would be easy and also provide security as it could be accessed by a casual thief

Deepak Babu
Deepak Babu
6 years ago
Reply to  Howard

That would mean training the beat cops to use electronic devices and that would certainly mean extra expenditure. Might have to send them to attend a course in the UK or US.

Mukunthan Iyer
Mukunthan Iyer
6 years ago

A QR Code of the GPS co-ordinates could help an emergency responder locate the residence with much ease.

Expat_QTR
Expat_QTR
6 years ago

what happens when i change my house due to increase in rent and move to a new house. do i have to go through the same headache of changing address on my ID AGAIN and AGAIN. in past 3 years i have moved thrice as the rents have increased. So every year i have to do the same process. rather than diong this mumbo jumbo, y not make the house rents stable so that WE dont keep changing houses and inturn ID’s.

Grantley
Grantley
6 years ago

I love the photo of the Ministry of Interior with 6 employees and 2 members of the public. In reality, that will be 2 employees – one refusing to give out any more tickets at 9.30am and the other drinking tea and looking busy whilst not actually doing anything – and 40 members of the public crowded around the desk………

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
6 years ago
Reply to  Grantley

I’m also assuming that the photo is used as a sort of recruitment tool. It sends the subtle message that nationals don’t have to worry about being faced with expats – there is an expat hired to serve the expats.

Osama Alassiry
6 years ago

Entered the 3 numbers above in the “Inwani” (my address) GIS address system at http://geoportal.gisqatar.org.qa/myaddress/index.html ..

It’s in Al-Mirqab, not too far from the corniche:

ZONE NO : 6
STREET NO : 109
BUILDING NO : 42
ELECTRICITY NO : 1004331
WATER NO : 904499

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