Anbar recently opened its first centre for the issuance of the new unified national identity card at the Fallujah Citizenship and Civil Status (CCS) department.
Ahead of the opening, the office was furnished and equipped with all the necessary equipment and systems, and a number of officers and associates received training on the issuance of the unified card.
This will ensure cards are issued based on personal data stored in a database, said Brig. Gen. Amer Mohammed al-Dulaimi, director of the CCS department in Anbar.
"Issuing the national card to Fallujah residents will help solve the problem of similarity of names among residents, while reducing the number of personal identity documents," he told Diyaruna.
The new card replaces the personal identification and citizenship documents with a unified card that contains personal information, including retinal scans and fingerprints, he said.
"The staff at Fallujah's CCS department has now begun receiving citizens and issuing them the national ID card based on alphabetical lists and CCS register numbers," he said.
Every effort is being made to ensure Anbar residents do not experience delays during their appointments with the department, he added.
'Major achievement for the province'
"The opening of the national ID card centre in the city is a major achievement for Anbar," said Col. Mohammed al-Jumaili, director of the CCS department in Fallujah.
It is a sign that life has returned to normal in the province since its liberation from the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) and the return of displaced residents, he told Diyaruna.
"All official records, registers and documents of the CCS department in Fallujah were protected from sabotage and manipulation" during the ISIS era, he said.
ISIS was unable to find these documents, "because they had been moved to a safe location before the group seized control of the city", he said.
"The cadres of the CCS department in Fallujah, including officers and associates, were trained three months ago on how to issue a unified national ID card and how to enter data and information in the computer system," al-Jumaili said.
This is linked to the main system in Ramadi and Baghdad, he said, adding that once the application has been submitted and processed, the card should be issued within 10 days.
The new card includes the holder's name, date of birth, place of residence, fingerprints, retinal scans, spouse's name and other information needed to visit governmental and security departments in Anbar and Iraq, he added.
'A modern and advanced service'
"Fallujah is one of the largest cities in Anbar and has a large population that is growing steadily every year," Fallujah mayor Issa al-Sayer told Diyaruna.
"The opening of the national ID card centre will contribute to providing a modern and advanced service to citizens," he said.
"The next phase requires the opening of additional national ID card centres in the districts of Karma, Saqlawiya and al-Ameriya to alleviate the pressure on the CCS department in Fallujah," he said.
Fallujah also needs passport department offices, he added.
To this end, the city's local government has issued an official request to the governor of Anbar and concerned authorities to ensure citizens do not experience delays by having to apply for passports in Ramadi, he added.
"The ID cards carried by a large number of citizens are very old," Fallujah resident Adel Salah told Diyaruna, noting that the new card is both smaller and contains more information.
Greater accuracy, less bureaucracy
"The problem of similarity of names with wanted individuals is very prevalent due to the use of only a tripartite name in the old ID cards and lack of a surname in many of the personal documents," Salah said.
The solution lies in the unified ID card, he noted, which will hold all personal information and thus solve the problem of name similarity.
Every citizen has four kinds of personal documents: ID card, certificate of citizenship, housing card and ration card, said Hana Ayad, a teacher from Fallujah.
Completing paperwork with government departments for each of these cards "is a burden on citizens and employees, and the unified card will put an end to this problem", she told Diyaruna.
"We hope the government of Anbar will provide more services, particularly the addition of another unified ID issuance office and the opening of a driver’s license office in Fallujah," she said.
This service is currently restricted to the office in the Kilo-7 area west of Ramadi, which requires much effort and time to reach from far away districts.