Bahrain launches two major electronic residency services

BAHRAIN has launched two major electronic residency services, bringing the country closer to its digitalisation goal.

Citizens can now apply for passports online, while expatriates’ residency will be reflected in a QR code and no longer ‘stamped’ on their passports.

The new hi-tech services will cut down in-person visits to facilitating centres by 50 per cent, while also helping the country go paperless.

The announcements were made by the Interior Ministry’s Nationality, Passports, and Residence Affairs (NPRA) Under-Secretary Shaikh Hisham bin Abdulrahman Al Khalifa at a Press conference, held at the Officers’ Club in Gudaibiya yesterday.

The facilities are part of 24 initiatives announced by the Cabinet, led by His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince and Prime Minister, in line with the national economic recovery plan.

“These two services are among nine initiatives that were completed during the first quarter of this year,” said Shaikh Hisham.


Until yesterday, Bahrainis could renew their passports through the national e-government portal, but they had to visit the NPRA to apply for a new passport.

The new initiative will allow them to apply for the document online – for both adults and children. Adults can use their ‘e-key’ (an individualised, secure access code to all e-services in the country), while a newborn’s application can be processed using his/her father’s e-key.

With a valid CPR, the e-key can be generated from the official website

“An individual can apply for a new Bahraini passport through the electronic government portal using the e-key. They need to attach the required documents listed on the NPRA website,” Shaikh Hisham explained.

“This means the person only needs to visit the NPRA office once – to collect the passport – as opposed to multiple visits required in the past.”

Meanwhile, Shaikh Hisham called the digital residency a ‘paradigm shift’ – describing it as a service that allows easy viewing of residency data via a QR code that can be downloaded on a mobile phone or saved as a copy on an e-mail.

“Residents will be able to enter the country more easily through the ports, and officials will be able to verify the data by reading the QR code,” Shaikh Hisham told the GDN.

“The benefits of this change are numerous, including a reduction in the number of visits to service centres and the ability to renew residency from within or outside the kingdom.

“Individuals can also verify the validity of their residency from anywhere, at any time.

“It allows people to travel freely while also permitting other countries to assess the security situation.

“When you get a work permit from the Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA), instead of a sticker on your passport, you will now see a QR code. Residents will no longer need to bring their passports to service centres.

“This will save us approximately a million stickers and reduce our workload by 50pc.”

Shaikh Hisham noted that the launch of these services reflected Interior Minister Major General Shaikh Rashid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa’s keen interest in developing all sectors of the ministry, particularly the NPRA, which serves both citizens and residents.

Shaikh Hisham was joined by Information and e-Government Authority (iGA) chief executive Muhammad Al Qaed and NPRA visa and residence department director Shaikh Ahmed bin Abdulla Al Khalifa.

“We are developing a package of services which will be launched in the second quarter of this year, while the rest of the initiatives will be completed over the next few months,” said Mr Al Qaed.

“The goal is to eliminate papers and replace them with electronic documents, and one of the major initiatives in this line is digital residency,” he said, adding that the change required a re-engineering of procedures as well as the development of a hi-tech electronic system.




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