Saudi Arabia National ID Card

create a national ID credential that is counterfeit-resistant and has multi-applications.

HID Global


Facing the logistical challenges of protecting a widely dispersed and highly mobile population, two lengthy coastlines and borders with seven neighboring countries, Saudi Arabia implemented a secure ID program that successfully addressed the need for a highly counterfeit-resistant, multi-application credential that could be authenticated and used in a variety of settings while combating ID theft.

The Counterfeiting Problem

In the early 2000s, the growing level of counterfeiting and fraud against the paper-based ID booklet used by Saudi Arabian citizens was diminishing confidence in the authenticity of the document. The use of false documents and ID theft subjected the nation to increased security concerns at a time when the population was becoming increasingly mobile, global insecurity was on the rise, and the workload of police, immigration and customs was mounting.

Multiple Needs

The need for one legal identity per person and reliable identification extended beyond border control to government agencies and third party service providers such as banks. Saudi Arabia’s commitment to e-government services also required reliable authentication of individuals’ identities online.


The new ID system had to enhance security for citizens, residents and visitors; match individuals to their biometrics; safeguard personal data; and be predisposed for interoperability with other countries in the region. That meant deploying the most counterfeit-resistant document possible with secure portable data storage and transactional capabilities was a necessity. The combination was required to prevent fraudulent alteration, withstand ten years of use and be compatible with an all-in-one infrastructure for the provision of e-government services.

Multi-Purpose Credentials and Card Issuance Support

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia selected HID Global’s ID credential that is based on its LaserCard® optical media, HID’s digital security that has never been compromised in any program in the world. The card delivers both the highest levels of document security and secure access to government services.

In 2004, HID Global was also selected to manage the implementation of a new distributed card issuance system in twenty cities for the first phase of the program. HID Global authored the card management and personalization software; designed, integrated and installed approximately sixty personalization systems; trained the operators; and provided ongoing operational support. The system was installed on time and met all the client’s certification requirements.


Important Features for Today’s Reality

  • Counterfeit Resistance: The optical media data recording process is physically irreversible. Additional safeguards are created by the tamper-proof “Personalized Embedded Hologram.” In combination, these features eliminate any realistic counterfeiting attempts.
  • High Data Capacity: The 2.86 megabyte optical stripe has more than adequate capacity to hold all required demographic and biometric information and can be updated as needed.
  • Durability: The laminated construction meets stringent durability requirements, as certified by an independent laboratory, and supports a ten-year lifetime for the card.
  • Low Cost Solution: The combination of advanced technology, durability of construction, data capacity, and application flexibility deliver maximum return on investment.
  • Speed of Use: In just a few seconds, all card information can be read. This includes demographic data, color photograph, and fingerprint files.
  • Easy to Update: New biometrics or personal data can securely be added by authorized personnel to help prevent obsolescence and fraud.

Leading security features

  • High resolution security printing
  • Tamper-proof optical stripe
  • Portable digital images and data
  • Personalized optical variable device
  • Security micro-images