South Africa captures biometrics on arrival

To be at every entry point by August 2016.

Passengers arriving at airports in South Africa will now have their biometrics captured.

South Africa has identified the capturing of biometrics as a key element in securing the movements of people in and out of the country.

The enhanced Movement Control System (eMCS) Biometric Pilot programme was introduced at Lanseria International Airport (HLA), in November 2015.

It is currently in place at OR Tambo in Johannesburg (JNB), King Shaka in Durban (DUR) and Cape Town (CPT), the three largest airports in the country.

At the moment the focus is on collecting biometrics of international transit passengers at JNB due to the high numbers of passengers in the South African summer peak season.

By early next year, once the peak period ends, all international passengers will be supplying  biometric data at OR Tambo.

Eventually all international passengers will be required to submit biometric data at the arrival and transit counters at South Africa’s international airports.

South Africa decided to start biometric entry and exit systems after new visa rules that require passengers to submit biometric data before arriving were blamed for a dip in tourism.

This is particularly problematic in China, where visitors need to travel to Beijing and Shanghai to obtain their visa.

The ultimate aim is to capture biometrics for all passengers upon arrival and departure from South Africa at all ports of entry.

How it works

– The first time a passenger arrives, all ten fingerprints will be captured

– Future visits will require capturing only one finger for verification purposes

– Passports will be scanned and recorded on the enhanced Movement Control System (eMCS)

Internet links

South Africa Department of Home Affairs