By Sanaullah Ataullah / The Peninsula
The Ministry of Interior has activated free e-gate service for expatriate passengers at the arrivals and departures terminal of the Hamad International Airport (HIA).
Expatriates and their children aged above 18 years can now avail of the service using their ID cards or passports without need for any prior registration.
“Expatriate passengers can use their ID cards or passports at e-gate of HIA’s arrivals and departures terminal free of charge,” said Colonel Rashid Al Mazroui,” Head of the Airport Passport Department at the Ministry of Interior said in a statement yesterday.
“Nineteen e-gates have been installed at the departures terminal and 16 e-gates at the arrivals terminal. The e-gates are now open. The newly added service can be accessed using ID cards of expatriates and their children, aged above 18 years. Passengers need only a valid ID card and no prior registration or fees are required to avail of the service,” he added.
The new service comes under the “smart passengers” project inaugurated by the Prime Minister and Interior Minister H E Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani early this year.
The project aims at enabling passengers to complete their travel procedures using automated machines based on smart technology without visiting the immigration counters dealing with expatriate passengers.
The e-gate service will speed up travel procedures for expatriates as they are no more required to wait in queues for the immigration officers to check their personal details and put the entry/exit stamp on their passports.
These procedures will be completed through e-gate using automated machines in a record time ensuring safety and privacy, said the statement.
The new system will also help the passengers save the pages of their passports by avoiding frequent exit and entry stamps put every time they travel to and out of the country. Major Khalid Mohammad Al Mulla, Head of Airport Passport Section said that e-gate is very easy to use as the passenger is only required to put his/her ID card or passport on the card reader machine installed at e-gate.
The machine will read the data stored in the document and after confirmation the system will direct the passengers in Arabic or English language.
The system will then cross-match the data obtained from the travel document of the passenger by taking finger print and eye scan (retina scan). If the data matched, the system will open the door for final exit.
The passenger can cross the gate to board the flight or head to the carrousel to collect the baggage. The whole procedure would not take more than two minutes for the passengers on arrival or departure.
It is mandatory for all expatriates to produce their ID cards at the airport, check posts, check-in counters, and whenever they are asked by authorities concerned.
The authorities concerned all over the world have been notified about the new residency permit in Qatar, said the statement. Airlines have also received directives in this regard. Airlines can confirm the validity of the residency permit and the passenger’s data online at the website of the Ministry of Interior.