Kazakhstan Introducing Compulsory Fingerprinting Program

Kazakhstan (EAN) – Kazakhstan’s Interior Ministry has said it plans to create a national fingerprint database that would include details on all the country’s citizens by 2021. Deputy Interior Minister Rashid Zhakupov said on November 15 that the initiative will cost 36.8 billion tenge ($107 million).

Submitting fingerprints within the coming four years is to be made compulsory, news website Vlast.kz reported.

“Including fingerprints in identification documents will allow for 100 percent certainty in identification. This will facilitate passage through border controls,” said Serik Sayinov, head of the Interior Ministry’s migration department.

Kazakhstan is drawing on the experience of the European Union, where member nations of the Schengen zone are required to provide fingerprint information to obtain travel documents. In 2009, Kazakhstan introduced biometric passports that included basic information and a digital signature of the passport holder. Under the new rules, the chip incorporated in the document will also include prints from two fingers.

All citizens of Kazakhstan above the age of 16 will have to submit biometric data to receive their IDs. Children between 12 and 16 will need to give consent before their fingerprints can be taken. The rules will also apply to foreign citizens living in Kazakhstan.



DNA registration, meanwhile, will be mandatory for people convicted of serious crimes and those with immediate relatives that have gone missing.

Zhakupov said that refusing to register details will be punishable by a fine. Anybody refusing to submit their fingerprint will not be granted documents.

The cost of completing all this work — including creating centralized servers, installing communication equipment and putting personnel in place to manage and maintain the system — was initially estimated at 24 billion tenge ($70 million).

The technical requirements have driven up costs, however.

“The bulk of the money is needed to bring the technical aspects up to date. Reequipping the border services and additional DNA equipment for forensic labs and the Justice Ministry,” Zhakupov said.

This report prepared by  Aktan Rysaliev for Eurasianet.