US Embassy: Saudi Kingdom may begin fingerprinting Americans
The Saudi kingdom is expected to start finger-printing Americans entering the country in response to a similar measure introduced by the United States last week, the US embassy said Sunday.
"The embassy wishes to advise American citizens that in the near future the government of Saudi Arabia may start requiring American citizens to be fingerprinted as part of their visa or entry process," the embassy said in a new warden message, according to AFP.
"There also is the possibility that the duration of visas to Saudi Arabia will be shortened for American citizens and visa fees increased," the message added. New stringent US immigration checks on nationals from several Muslim countries went into effect last week.
The measures, which require Saudi male visitors to the United States to undergo digital fingerprinting and photographing, and to provide information on travel plans, has angered Saudis who decried it as discrimination.
In line with these rules, male visitors from the countries concerned, aged between 16 and 45, are required to register with the authorities upon entering the US. Such visitors are also required to appear for an interview at immigration offices if they wish to stay in the United States for over 30 days. They must notify the authorities within 10 days of any change to their place of residence.
The US embassy said the expected Saudi measures are in "response to the introduction ... of the National Security Entry Exit Registration System (NSEERS)."
Since September 11, 2001, the US embassy in Saudi Arabia has stiffened procedures for issuing visas to Saudi citizens, including students. It has abolished a system by which Saudis could submit visa applications through certain travel agencies and required that almost all applicants appear for personal interviews. (Albawaba.com)