• Contact Mail: info@nir.gov.lr

Frequently Asked Questions about the National Identification Registry




Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  1. What is the National Biometric Identification System (NBIS)?

The National Biometric Identification System is a program of the Government of Liberia under the National Identification Registry (NIR) that produces the national ID card which is used as an official document to identify all citizens of Liberia and legal permanent foreign residents of Liberia.

  1. Why introduce a National biometric Identification System at this time?

The National Biometric Identification System helps the Government of Liberia to:

· Reliably identify members of the population, ensure public safety, enhance the delivery of public benefits and control immigration

· Create an enabling environment for all Liberians and legal residents to play active role in the process of national development.

· Provides confidence in the business environment of Liberia by ensuring that all transactions are secure, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. What are the goals of the National Biometric Identification System (NBIS)?

Some of the goals of NBIS are:

· To improve public confidence in our official documents and strengthen our security

· To ensure free public services are only used by those entitled to them;

· To enable easier and more convenient access to public services;

· To tackle illegal working and immigration abuse;

· To discourage the use of false and multiple identities by criminals and terrorists;

· To help protect against identity fraud


  1. Does the National Identification Registry issue only ID cards?

No. The issuance of National ID is one function of NIR. Other functions include the following:

· NIR generates a random National Identification Number (NIN) that accompanies each ID card issued, and it is unique to each individual.

· The NIR will help to generate population-related data/information which it will make available to various agencies of government and corporate private sector for the purpose of proper planning and implementation of national development agenda.

· NIR will also provides services related to personal identification matters (identification and verification of IDs, etc)

  1. What is the National ID Card?

The National ID Card is a government-issued ID that is used as an official document to identify all citizens of Liberia and legal permanent foreign residents of Liberia.

· The National ID card contains biometric data and other information which is basic to the individual. It contains security features that are unique and fake-proof.

· The ID card provides holders with an easy and secure way of demonstrating their right to live in Liberia and ascertain their place in the community.

· The ID card is linked to the person to whom it is issued by a unique biometric identifier. This, together with more traditional security checks, makes it virtually impossible to enroll into the NBIS more than once even if using different identity documents..


  1. How useful is the National ID Card?

· Existing methods of documenting, establishing, and verifying identity such as birth certificates, driver’s licenses, passports, immigration and naturalization documents, etc. are not standardized such that a government inspector can readily establish the genuineness of these documents. These documents are not strongly linked to the bearer, leading to the use of a single identity document by several people or one person using multiple versions of the same identity document. The national ID card, conversely, is easily verifiable using our e-verification system and it is required to obtain some of these identity documents listed here.

· The ID card should also be required for banking transactions. Personal details required by Banks to support their Know Your Customer (KYC) drive are readily available on the card. Banks can readily and reliably verify the identity of a customer by using our e-verification platform.


  1. At what age does one become eligible for registration?

· The minimum age at which an individual becomes eligible for registration is 6 years. This is because the fingerprint (widely used as a unique identifier) normally completes formation by age 6.

· The births and deaths Registry will sustain the registration process by recording births of children under six years of age after the NIR’s mass enrollment. The information provided by the birth and deaths Registry will be used by NIR to build identity information on the children under six years by issuing unique identification numbers. At age six, the fingerprint of the child would be taken and an ID card will be issued to the child, while the death registry will be useful for census purposes and acquisition of public benefits.


  1. Why will NIR issue National ID cards to persons at the age of 6 years and above?

Age 6 is considered the minimum lawful school age in Liberia. NIR adopted this age so that all children of school going age can easily be identified.

  1. Will foreigners be issued with ID cards?

All legal, permanent resident foreigners in Liberia will be registered and issued Resident National ID cards.

· Liberia is a member of the United Nations, and it is a requirement of the UN International Convention on Human Rights for Member Nations to protect the rights of both citizens and foreigners.

· There are foreign residents who have genuine investments or are working for international organizations and institutions in this country and are therefore, contributing immensely to our developmental process. These people deserve to be identified and protected.


  1. What will NIR do about the identity cards already issued by some organizations?

The identity cards issued by organizations are just to enable them identify the members of their organizations but not as Liberian Citizens or Legal Resident Aliens.

· The National ID Card, however, helps to establish the true identity of the individual as a Liberian or other National.

· Institutions and organizations may, therefore, issue their own employer identity cards

· The National ID Card currently serves as the only government-issued and readily verifiable identity card in Liberia and has a variety of uses.



  1. Will it be possible to synchronize numbers issued by the National Social Security & Welfare Corporation (NASSCORP) and the National Elections Commission (NEC) with NIR’s National Identification Number (NIN) so as to facilitate transactions?


NASSCORP and NEC have different statutory mandates. Any organization or institution may choose to internally generate and use its own customized ID numbers for its staff or customers.

However, NIR’s NIN assigned to each individual becomes the basis for linking the individual to every transaction in the public or private sectors and various organizations would have to adopt it for their business transactions. NIR’s NIN would be used to cross check the true identity of clients across the different sectors of the economy.



  1. What information may be held on the National Identification Registry data base?

The information that may be held on the identity cards scheme is strictly limited.

· Personal information-such as name, address, date and place of birth and biometric data- such as fingerprint and photograph.

· Sensitive personal information-such as medical records, religious affiliation or ethnic origin will not be included.


  1. Will personal information be opened to the public?

No. All personal information collected will be kept strictly confidential and regulated by various access control regimes. Such personal details may only be released upon a Court Order.

  1. What measures have NIR put in place to ensure that the entire system is protected from abuse?

NIR is a security-driven organization and has put in place mechanisms to forestall unauthorized access, disclosure, and abuse. NIR has developed security guidelines for its staff and data Protection Regulations by which both staff and non-staff shall abide. NIR shall strictly enforce the guidelines and Regulations. Only authorized NIR officers and those granted access shall have access to different categories of data.


Any person who breaches the regulations shall be prosecuted according to the law. The National ID card, the only physical product that would be in the public domain, cannot be forged because it contains lots of security features. Any counterfeit card cannot be verified by our robust e-verification platform.



  1. What provisions have been made to prevent Governments from using the system to victimize some group of people?

NIR DOES NOT capture an individual’s religious or political affiliations and ethnicity during the registration process. This makes it impossible to identify any person in the database as belonging to any particular group. In addition, NIR has developed data Protection Regulations that effectively limits access to the database by unauthorized persons.

  1. Will the National ID Card be attractive to fraudsters and organized criminals?

Yes, just as current identity documents are attractive to criminals. This is precisely the reason why NIR utilizes cutting-edge technology that incorporates several layers of security features to make the card tamper-proof and protect personal information stored on the card.

  1. How will NIR avoid registering foreigners who enter and exit Liberia daily via the borders?

For registration, the individual is required to provide some identity proof such as birth certificate/resident permit. The individual will also be interviewed jointly by NIR staff and LIS Officers using a structured questionnaire to help determine eligibility.

· NIR will register only those foreigners who are legally permitted to reside in Liberia on a long-term basis.

· Those foreigners who enter the country on a short-term basis would not be eligible to register. Information about them will be captured by the Liberia Immigration Service (LIS) at border entry points.

  1. What mechanism is being put in place for demarcating places and streets?

The NIR recognizes street naming as one of the important components to establishing credible National Identification System. However, it is not the mandate of NIR to demarcate areas and name streets. It is the work of the Ministry of Public works to demarcate areas, name street and number houses.

However, NIR expects that each individual should endeavor to provide street names (if applicable), name of community, house numbers, and other address components to help them effectively complete their registration. It is important that we all provide accurate addresses during registration.

  1. What are the modalities in place to register persons with disabilities?

NIR recognizes that there are people with different types of disabilities. In order to register them, NIR is currently considering including biometric technology options that will make it possible to conveniently register anyone with any form of disability.

  1. How long will it take for one to get through the registration process in order to obtain the Identity Card?

The registration process is seamless but meticulous in order to avoid double registration and or data entry errors. The system compares each fingerprint to millions of other fingerprints in the database to eliminate duplicates and create each person’s unique identity. After completing registration, it takes three (3) business days for a client to receive his/her card.

  1. Given the high rate of illiteracy in the country, how will NIR ensure that cad bearers easily commit their National ID card numbers to memory?

There is no need to memorize the number. The most important thing is to keep the card safe and produce it when required during various transactions.

  1. How will the NIR ensure that persons who deliberately change their ages are exposed?

An enrollee’s age taken at the time and point of registration shall be considered the legitimate age and shall not be changed afterwards. People who do not remember their birth dates shall be guided by s list of historical events to determine their birth dates or age.

  1. If there is a change of address and residence, how does one handle the situation?

The database will be updated periodically. Therefore, when one changes his/her location, it is important for that person to inform NIR staff at a district or regional office about such changes for the appropriate update to be carried out.

  1. Can one have his/her name change in the future?

Yes, but in order to do that, one has to follow prescribed procedures and provide the appropriate legal documents to back such a request. However, the person’s original name shall still be retained. Women, for example, will have their maiden names retained after marriage in addition to their husband’s names which they may want to use. Retention of previous names or maiden names would ease cross-referencing when the need arises.

  1. What measures are there to prevent multiple issuances of ID Cards?

NIR will use Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) to check duplication of information. For example, one’s fingerprint will be matched against tens of thousands of other fingerprints within a matter of seconds (using the computer) to ensure that there is no duplication before the card is issued.

  1. For how long will an individual’s picture be kept in the database given that one’s facial features change with age?

For now the first set of cards are renewable after five (5) years. This five-year renewal period could be changed when the next set of cards are being issued. This will provide an opportunity to update one’s information including his/her photograph.

  1. How can an individual’s identity be determined if he/she died through accident but did not have the National ID Card at the time?

The victim’s fingerprint would be taken, scanned, and cross-checked with those registered in the database and his/her true identity might be determined.

  1. How will NIR help track down a person who has committed a crime and run away? Will the information capture on the identity card help in arresting the culprit or will NIR wait until that person is caught and the fingerprint is taken before coming out with the detailed information about that person?

The security agency in-charge may produce latent fingerprints of the culprit and NIR will help produce probable candidate for the security service to conduct further investigation. The latent prints will be matched with ALL the fingerprints in the database and the identity will be established. NIR could, therefore assist the security agencies establish the identity of the culprit.

  1. Will NIR fingerprint database be used by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of The Liberia National Police?

Basically, NIR will be used for civil application purposes. However, if the police, in their investigations, encounter problems in establishing the identity of a crime suspect, they would be assisted by the NIR to enable them solve the problem.

  1. Suppose a person accidentally gets burnt beyond recognition, will NIR undertake a DNA test to determine his/her identity?

NIR currently does not include the use of DNA for identification purposes.

  1. Will the ID card be used for voting purposes?

The National ID can be used to identify individual as citizens and therefore, it could be used to establish eligibility for voting purpose.

  1. Will registration be free or attract a fee?

Yes. Registration and issuance of a card currently costs Five United States Dollars (USD5) or its equivalence in Liberian Dollars. This price may be changed by the NIR Board of Registrars.



 Allision Street, Behind YWCA Congo Town

(231) 881-490-759 / +231-(0) 770-490-759


Mon - Fri: 8:00 - 4:00PM

Useful Links

 Executive Mansion

Ministry of Internal Affairs

 Ministry of Justice

 Ministry of Health





Recent Documents

Recent Documents

2019 NIR Annual Report
MOU with MNO for the use of the NIR Card to register SIM