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Tribune News Network
E-gate services at the Hamad International Airport will be available to expatriates free of charge soon, according to a top Ministry of Interior (MoI) official.
Colonel Mohamed Rashid al Mazroui, Director of the Airport Passports Department at the MoI, said the e-gate service is already available to Qatari nationals free of charge and work is currently under way to make the service available to expatriates, along with facilitating easy access to e-gates through activation of identity cards inside HIA.
The service would help save time and effort for passengers as they would be able to avoid queues at passport counters.
The check-in or check-out process takes only 16 seconds, making it one of the most important services provided by the MoI at HIA, the official added.
The number of subscribers to the e-gate service has crossed 60,000.
Mazroui said the department is working on several projects to cope with the increasing number of passengers at the HIA. It is taking measures to reduce the time taken to complete procedures at the passport counters, he added.
The move is in line with the MoI's strategy and Qatar National Vision 2030 in terms modernisation of entry and exit procedures.
He said transit visa is now issued free of charge and is available to travelers of all nationalities upon arrival at HIA.
He said the MoI is taking necessary security measures to keep track of all those who enter the country under different categories of visa to ensure that they leave the country in due time, according to a report in the Police Magazine.
REGARDING travellers' complaint about long queues at passport counters at the arrivals lounge, Mazroui said,"Crowding takes place in the arrival lounge at specific times when many flights arrive simultaneously. We have 48 passport counters in addition to about 10 e-gates."
Mazroui said it takes about 20 minutes to complete the procedures at the passport counters at the arrival lounge.
In the first 10 months of 2016, as many as 6 million visas of various kinds were issued by the department.
The e-gate system allows passengers to enter and exit the country with ease. Holders of the e-Gate card may bypass the immigration formalities at the HIA by punching their cards at the gate and pressing their index fingers on an electronic scanner.
The applicant will not need any written application form to get the e-gate card.
The e-gate service can be activated at the Ministry of Interior services centres for those aged above 16 years. However, those under 18 years need approval from their guardians.
Currently, fees are varying according to the card validity duration -- a fee of QR100 applies for one year validity, QR150 for two years validity and QR200 for three years validity.
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