The Ministry of Interior (MoI) has opened biometric data activation centres at the departure and arrival lounges of Hamad International Airport to ease the usage of e-gates by expatriates to exit and enter the country.
Foreigners and their children over 18 who hold Qatar's residence permit (RP) can avail the e-gate service using their ID cards. The service is free.
Colonel Mohamed Rashid al-Mazroui, Director of the Airport Passports Department, said the activation centres at both the departure and arrival lounges have five self-service machines to help e-gate users who have not activated their biometric data.
The ministry has introduced "the most-modern" software that enables passengers to update their biometric data in less than a minute, the official said.
According to Col al-Mazroui, most of the residents have been registered in the ministry's database with either their eye-scan or fingerprint. "The e-gates can be used with biometric data of eye scan or fingerprint or with both."
E-gates help passengers bypass the "immigration check/passport control" section of the airport.
The activation office will work round the clock and a technician will be at hand to help passengers who may encounter difficulties while trying to update their data.
The Ministry plans to increase the number of e-gates to 35 at both the lounges in the next phase.
Explaining the benefits of the service, the official said that after check-in, passengers can complete their travel procedures through the e-gates and go to the boarding gate, without approaching any staff at the immigration section.
The Director of the Airport Passports Department has called upon the residents to use the e-gates at HIA to complete their travel procedures, without waiting in long queues before the immigration counters to have their documents validated and the passports stamped.
He added that there were special counters adjacent to the e-gates for those who wanted their passports stamped while departing or arriving in the country.
Major Khalid Muhammed al-Mulla, head of the Airport Passports section said the e-gates at HIA are accessible to residents with electronic (chip-enabled) or normal ID cards. The e-gate works in two steps.
"A passenger has to place the ID card on the e-reader at the e-gate, which will read the biometric data stored on the card and verify them. The first glass barrier will open if he has got the leave notification (exit permit) as well.
"At the next part of the e-gate, the machine will match the data obtained from the travel document and the scan of the eye and fingerprint. If the data matches, the device will open the final gate, enabling the passenger to move either to the boarding gate or baggage collection area (as the case may be)."
He urged the residents who renew their passports to update their data through biometric data devices or at any Service Centre in the country. "If the new passport details haven’t been updated in the Passports Directorate system, the e-gate service will show the passport as expired."
He added that in addition to updating the biometric data, travellers can verify the validity of their ID, passport, residence permit and driving licence through the self-service machines.