Sophisticated eIDs and electronic passports prepare Iraq for a promising digital future

Berlin, September 12th  2022 – Veridos supports the country’s transition to an electronic system to meet all aspects of identity verification

When Iraqis headed to the polls in the country’s recent parliamentary elections, many voted using biometric voter cards, requiring thumbprint verification. Specifically, Iraq’s election commission announced that turnout for the election would be calculated based on the number of voters with biometric voter cards, not on the number of eligible voters.

The move to the biometric system aimesto verify voter identity and combat any attempts at electoral fraud by ensuring that nobody can vote on someone else’s behalf or more than once.

Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi urged people to get their biometric voting cards, saying their votes were a responsibility that shouldn’t go to waste.

As a result, before Iraq elected a new parliament on October 10th, 2021, of the about 25 million eligible voters, just over 66 percent had applied for biometric registration, according to data published by the United Nations.

Iraq embraces eID technology

The move towards biometric voting cards reflects the Republic of Iraq’s dynamic approach to innovative technology and its transition towards electronic identification. This particularly appeals to a population that is one of the youngest in the world. In 2020, nearly 60 percent (56.9 percent) of Iraq’s population were aged under 24.

Furthermore, the adoption of technology such as biometrics and electronic identification builds up the essential trust between citizens and the authorities, which is a vital building block to establish a robust joint electronic future.

All Iraqis will soon have a new eID card

Underlining its eager adoption of electronic identification technology, the Iraqi government aims for all Iraqi citizens to have a new national electronic ID (eID) card by 2025. These polycarbonate cards with an embedded chip have been progressively rolled out across Iraq’s 190 districts since 2016. In 2021, 15 million Iraqi citizens already had a card. Based on a reliable, consistent national register, the eIDs now makes up Iraq’s strong eID backbone.

Overall, Veridos has played an active role in supporting the country’s transition to an electronic system to meet all aspects of identity verification appropriate for the digital age. After the eID’s introduction in 2016, Veridos joined forces with the Ministry of Interior to build a new identity document factory in a highly secure compound close to Baghdad International Airport. Equipped with state-of-the-art production technology, the ISO-compliant, quality-certified factory boasts the latest security features enabling the country to produce its own ICAO compliant ePassports and other identity documents on site. Moreover, it allows these documents to be personalized.

The aim is for all passports to be manufactured locally, with Veridos supplying the raw materials. With manufacturing capability of 20,000 passports per day, so far, around 5,650,00 passports have been delivered from 2019 till 2021. The factory will continue to deliver passports in 2022.

The factory employs over 100 Iraqis and the whole document production process remains in local hands. This ensures Iraq’s sovereignty for a comprehensive range of secure official documents, such as driver’s licenses, that are already in the pipeline.

Veridos digitizes Iraqi papers

In addition, Veridos also works closely with Iraq’s Ministry of the Interior to provide a strong Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) system to improve public safety and enhance citizens’ access to government services.

As part of the project, Veridos transformed millions of relevant old Iraqi civil paper records, including hand-written family registers, into a digital register. To achieve its goal, it set up 2,500 data acquisition stations.

In short, by providing highly secure, sophisticated automated information and communication technologies, Veridos is helping to accelerate the country’s shift towards the new digital era.

As the country prepares to enter the next chapter of its history following the recent parliamentary elections, security documents such as eIDs and electronic passports can make Iraq fit for a promising electronic future. And the country’s young population will be especially thankful.

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