Centralizing the management of a country’s land, air and sea borders
The seaports of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are international and regional hubs that are essential for driving economic growth and facilitating economic diversification. Ras Al Khaimah (RAK), home to key maritime gateways for import, export and touristic activities, is one of the seven emirates of the UAE. In 2018, RAK welcomed over a million visitors from domestic and international markets.
2018 has been another remarkable year for the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah in terms of milestones accomplished, primarily exceeding our target of one million visitors. With the current robust visitor demand […], Ras Al Khaimah is on a mission to further assert its position as the fastest-growing tourism destination in the region […].1
The UAE’s image of modernity and opulence has enticed many people from all around the world to be a part of its success. Visa restrictions and employment regulations have seen individuals try to obtain fraudulent documents to enter and work in the country. In 2017, the Ministry of Interior and IDEMIA, through the EIMASS joint venture, implemented IDEMIA’s multi-biometric Entry/Exit system at five international airports. The system significantly increased border security while maintaining a fast flow of passengers. However, the government quickly realized that stricter border control checks at the airport led ill-intentioned travelers to seek other means of entering the UAE, particularly via seaports. Therefore, in addition to tighter security measures at airports, the government extended the eBorders program to RAK seaport. The seaport is the first port in the region to use such a high-tech Entry/Exit solution.
Until recently, travelers entering and exiting RAK seaport were processed manually. The lack of electronic systems to record the movements of travelers left the border open to potential security breaches. Additionally, the absence of self-services at the border meant that there were longer queues, especially as there were no separate terminals for arrivals and departures. To address these challenges, the authorities needed an efficient Entry/Exit solution that did not simply record travelers’ alphanumeric information, but also captured their biometric data, notably the iris. Biometrics are the securest way of verifying a person’s identity and preventing the use of modified and fraudulently obtained identity documents. The single terminal for arrivals and departures highlighted the need for a two-way Automated Border Control gate (ABC gate).
IDEMIA equipped RAK seaport with an end-to-end Entry/Exit solution that included ten bi-directional automated eGates integrating the OneLook™ iris and face recognition device, four multi-biometric eCounters and a complete back-end system. OneLook™ performs on-the-spot identity verification by capturing face and iris biometrics in a single device. It is the fastest multi-biometric solution of its kind, taking high-quality images and confirming biometric matching in less than two seconds.
With the number of travelers steadily increasing, the government of the UAE has set the wheels in motion to modernize the way travelers cross its borders, not only for airports, but also for seaports. RAK has paved the way for other seaports in the region and around the globe, by acting as a border control pioneer.
The government of the UAE has been so impressed with IDEMIA’s reliable high-tech solutions that in 2019, they also awarded the eBorders program at Zayed Port in Abu Dhabi to EIMASS joint venture for the implementation a similar suite of technology.
¹ https://gulfnews.com/uae/ras-al-khaimah-Legends: exceeds-target-of-a-million-visitors-in-2018-1.62026319