National Identity Card: A Cornerstone of Legal Identity in Sierra Leone

By Amin Kef (Ranger)

In Sierra Leone, the Biometric Identity Card isn’t merely a piece of plastic; it serves as a fundamental pillar of legal identity, benefiting citizens and non-citizens alike. Embedded with biometric data, this card offers advantages far beyond mere identification, playing a crucial role in various aspects of daily life.

One of the key benefits of the National ID Card, which is part of the Biometric ID Cards, is its role in identity verification. Holders can easily confirm their identity, gaining access to a range of Government social services. Furthermore, integration with the financial sector allows for remote Know-Your-Customer (KYC) checks, streamlining verification processes and reducing associated costs.

The electronic KYC feature not only promotes financial inclusion by facilitating efficient customer authentication but also contributes significantly to Sierra Leone’s economic and social development.

A recent development highlights the card’s significance further: the National Identification Number (NIN) is now mandatory for State land transactions with the Ministry of Lands and Housing, as well as for accessing other essential services within certain Ministries, Departments and Agencies.

For residents aged 12 and above, obtaining the National ID Card is a simple process as they can visit the nearest National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA) centers where Securitized Biometric Identity Cards are issued. Non-citizens must also apply for the Non-National ID Card for resident and work permits.

Acquiring the National Biometric ID Card isn’t merely a wish but a civic responsibility crucial for personal security and streamlined transactions. The NCRA has been stressing widespread adoption to strengthen national security measures.

It’s important to note that featuring a unique NIN, the National ID Card serves as a vital legal identity document, with the 11-digit number linking individual records within the National Identity Database. Also, the ID Card is mandated for use at checkpoints nationwide and is now required for pupils in public examination classes.

To ensure accessibility, specific NCRA offices and designated centers have been established across Sierra Leone also offering corporate services tailored for various entities to promote efficiency.

Here are the designated centers:

  1. NCRA Headquarters: 2 Walpole Street, Freetown.
  2. NCRA Office: 23B Off Kingharman Road, Freetown.
  3. NCRA Office: Kennedy Street, Freetown.
  4. NCRA Branch Office: 230 Lumley Road, Freetown (By the Round- About).
  5. NCRA Office: Waterloo along the Freetown High Way (Opposite the Police Station).
  6. NCRA Offices: Regional Headquarter Towns of Bo, Kenema, Makeni, and Port Loko.

For detailed information on these services, interested parties can contact us via the following phone numbers: +232-33-433-333, +232-30-500-000, +232-60-000, +232-78-221-812, or through email at

With the deadline of March 31, 2024, approaching for obtaining the ID Cards, both citizens and non-citizens are strongly encouraged to act promptly. Law enforcement authorities have emphasized the importance of meeting this deadline to avoid last-minute rushes.


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