UAE’s multi-biometric entry/exit programme enables seamless crossings

Posted: 31 January 2020 | | No comments yet

With one of the fastest growing economies in the Middle East, an effective and efficient border control is a matter of both national security and economic growth in the United Arab Emirates.

A modern state with a high standard of living, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is regarded as one of the world’s most important trade and business hubs. As a result, the country experiences a constant stream of people crossing its borders daily. With the government targeting economic diversification and promoting the UAE as a centre for global trade and tourism, effective and efficient border management is more vital than ever.

The UAE, a global pioneer of innovative technology

Charged with maintaining the country’s border security, the Ministry of Interior (MoI) has always been one step ahead, having deployed iris biometric solutions for nearly two decades. In 2011, the MOI and IDEMIA, through the joint venture EIMASS , launched the world’s first multi-biometric eBorders project at Abu Dhabi Airport, to increase border security while improving passenger experience and throughput.

The UAE’s eBorders project marked the very first deployment of a comprehensive border management solution with a multi-biometric entry/exit system by a sovereign nation. The success of this landmark project led to its extension to the country’s four other international airports in 2014. 

A quick and convenient passenger journey

As a global pioneer in innovative technology, the MoI wanted to include face, iris and fingerprint biometrics in the UAE’s eBorders project to ensure maximum security at the border while offering a seamless experience to travellers. With its proven technologies and long-standing history as global leader in biometrics technology, IDEMIA was the only company capable of implementing a contactless multi-biometric entry/exit solution.

IDEMIA defined four key components for UAE

The group developed eRegistrations stations for increased throughput and convenience: Located in dedicated offices across the country, the eRegistration stations allow multi-biometric capture, identity verification and background checks for citizens and residents who wish to register to use Automated Border Control (ABC) eGates but have never used the eCounter at the airport. The pre-registration at an eRegistration station is only required once and greatly increases passenger throughput and convenience at the airport.

The IDEMIA ABC e-Gates allow passengers to walk quickly and effortlessly through border control without the need for human inspection. IDEMIA’s world-leading Iris-At-a-Distance recognition technology and biometric algorithms enable rapid, touchless biometric data capture and high matching accuracy, allowing border crossing eligibility to be checked against national law enforcement databases in a matter of seconds.

In addition, eCounters are semi-automated border control counters at the airport used to register all passengers and make them eligible to use ABC eGates in the future. To cross the border, all unregistered passengers must pass through eCounters for multi-biometric capture, identity verification, background check and eligibility check. The registration process is remarkably fast and required only once.

Last but not least, a cutting-edge back-end system manages the data flow between eCounters and eGates. The back-end system also monitors and administers the entire entry/exit system. With an integrated traveller database, it interfaces with the MoI’s systems for background checks in national law enforcement databases. The system is replicated locally at each airport to guarantee 99.9 per cent availability at all times.

Taking care of global travellers and different cultural norms

The UAE wanted the border crossing experience to reflect the warm welcome and hospitality of the country to its many kinds of visitors. With contactless biometric capture and accessibility features at each step in the process, the chosen technology provides a hygienic, touchless solution that complies with many cultural norms while being accessible to children and people with reduced mobility.

Morphowave can capture four fingerprints at once in less than one second with just a wave of the hand, while iris-at-a-distance requires passengers to merely look at the tower to capture face and iris biometrics. ABC eGates are designed for families and people with reduced mobility, allowing everyone to pass through, from children aged six and above to passengers in wheelchairs.


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