The National Identification Registry (NIR) said it would begin the registration of aliens and foreigners within the borders of the country.
At a joint press conference with the Liberia Immigration Service (LIS) held at the NIR head office in Congo Town on Thursday, March 21, 2019, the NIR said the plan to register all aliens and foreign nationals in the country, is not unique for the sake of people possessing identification cards, but for other reasons such as security and economic factors.
J. Tiah Nagbe, NIR Executive Director, said the issuance of the foreign resident cards will commence on April 1, 2019 in Monrovia, and will extend to the remaining parts of Montserrado and the rest of the 14 counties.
Nagbe said with a concerted collaboration with LIS, all non-Liberians will be fully vetted to avoid anyone defrauding the system of its measures to include transparency, accountability and credibility factors.
He added that the identification cards (ID) given to all those registered by the NIR are biometric and completely free of any manipulation.
“The foreign resident identification cards will have the same technical features as those of Liberian citizens, but the colors and statuses will be different,” Nagbe said.
About benefits associated with people getting the NIR cards, Nagbe said the exercise will help the government establish a clean database of aliens and foreigners residing within the border limits of the country, and will provide foreign residents convenient ID credentials to be used for travel and the conduct of business throughout the 15 counties.
“The card will make it easier and convenient for all foreign residents to travel in and out of the country,” he assured.
Additionally, Mr. Nagbe said while the provision of the government introduced national identification cards is the first of its kind in the country, everyone will come to appreciate the offer.
“We are getting there gradually, because the banking institutions and some other entities involved in business transactions as well as Immigration officers at the borders are no longer accepting voter registration cards as it used to be before. This means everyone should take advantage of this service and be a part of the country’s good records,” Nagbe said.
The issuance of the foreign identification cards, according to Nagbe, “will be done thoroughly, because applicants will have to submit to our office as well as the office of the LIS their alien resident permit each, and after that, the names of those qualified to receive ID cards will be verified against an officially approved listing of legal residents.”
He added that the LIS will help in the collection of all basic immigration information of the aliens and foreigners applying for the national registry ID cards.
Mr. Nagbe said both President George Weah and former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf have since registered and received their NIR ID cards.
“One good thing about the citizen ID Cards is that regardless of one’s position, everyone carries the same kind of the ID card with the same value and design,” Nagbe said.
He added that each citizen pays US$5 for the ID card or its equivalent in Liberian dollars, while citizens of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) member countries pay US$10. But for non-ECOWAS citizens, each one will pay US$20 to obtain the NIR ID card.
LIS Acting Commissioner General, Moses K. Yebleh, said for a peaceful coexistence, all aliens and foreigners should cooperate with his office, which is responsible to communicate to the NIR all details pertaining their stay in the country.
“We are not to discriminate in our work for anyone, but it is good for the people out there to know that the country’s immigration laws are respected, because this is a global requirement of anyone, who resides in a different country other than the one in which he/she is from as a citizen,” Yebleh said.