Govt. Bulletin

Fingerprints to be collected upon entry to China

CHINA will take the fingerprints of foreigners entering the country starting Friday, the Ministry of Public Security announced Thursday.

The new system will first be tested at Shenzhen International Airport starting Friday, before being gradually rolled out across China by the end of this year, according to an announcement on the ministry’s website.

An officer from Shenzhen’s exit and entry inspection office told Shenzhen Daily that 10 fingerprints will be collected.

All foreigners aged 14-70 are required to leave their fingerprints when entering China, the ministry said, without adding whether other biometric data would also be collected. Those holding diplomatic passports or under reciprocal conditions are exempt.

The ministry said that the collection of fingerprints has become common practice for border control authorities around the world, adding that the move will improve exit and entry management.

Authorities will ensure that the new system is efficient and does not result in unnecessary delays, the ministry said.

Other countries that already collect foreigners’ fingerprints include the United States, France and Japan.

Chinese authorities counted more than 76 million entries and exits by foreigners last year. The visitors were primarily from South Korea, Japan, the United States and Russia.

Shenzhen’s airport announced in January that 2.23 million foreign passengers had arrived at the airport in 2016, an increase of 34 percent over 2015.

There were 27 international routes available at the airport by the end of 2016 after it largely expanded its international business last year.

Shenzhen has been voted by expatriates to be among China’s top 10 most attractive cities for foreigners for six consecutive years, according to a survey by International Talent Magazine.

The expats polled included Chinese Friendship Award recipients, foreign scholars and scientists selected for the Recruitment Program of Global Experts, and other foreign professionals working in China. Those polled suggested many ways for Chinese cities to become more appealing destinations for global professionals.