Why National Biometric ID Cards is Important for Every Sierra Leonean?


By Amin Kef (Ranger)

Sierra Leone is urging its citizens to prioritize acquiring National Biometric ID Cards in 2024, considering it a civic responsibility crucial for bolstering personal security and streamlining local transactions. This concerted effort aims to ensure widespread adoption of these identity cards, contributing significantly to the nation’s security measures.

The National ID Card serves as a legal identity document for both citizens and non-citizens residing in Sierra Leone, featuring the National Identification Number (NIN) as a vital security element. The NIN, comprising an 11-digit randomly assigned set of numbers, links an individual’s records within the National Identity Database, serving as a key tool for identity verification.

The initiative, spearheaded by the National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA), advocates for the adoption of these advanced identity cards equipped with cutting-edge verification systems. These cards, introduced earlier in the year, signify a pivotal step toward fortifying safety and simplifying daily interactions across the nation. Beyond mere identification, they act as secure repositories for personal data, promising improved access to essential services while safeguarding individual rights.

The NCRA has mandated the use of these innovative cards at checkpoints nationwide, ensuring seamless and secure transactions and offering convenience to all cardholders. The authority strongly encourages individuals to obtain their National ID Cards from strategically positioned branches across Sierra Leone.

Crucially, the National Identification Number (NIN) is now a compulsory requirement for pupils in public examination classes (NPSE, BECE, and WASSCE), underlining the significance of these cards in the educational sector.

Those aged 12 years and above can apply for the National ID Card by visiting their nearest NCRA Office in their respective districts. To facilitate the application process, specific NCRA Offices and designated centers have been established in key locations across the country.

The NCRA has also tailored corporate services for various entities like Ministries, Departments, Agencies (MDAs), Foreign Missions, and Financial Institutions. Interested parties can access details about these services by contacting specific numbers or via email at idverification@ncra.gov.

To simplify the application procedure, specific NCRA Offices and designated Centers have been established in key locations:

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.

The implementation of biometric national identity cards aligns with the Government’s commitment to fostering a safer, more efficient, and accessible environment for all Sierra Leoneans. Citizens are strongly encouraged to prioritize obtaining their ID cards from designated centers, recognizing their vital role in individual identification and national participation.


  1. One way to get majority people to get their NIN is to get mobile companies involved. I live in Tanzania and I would tell you that in 2019, the National government instructed all mobile companies to register the clients using their NIN. A cut off date was given after which numbers that were not registered with NIN became obsolete. It was effective and by the before the cutoff date almost 95% of sim card holders had their NIN and SIM card upgraded to biometric system. The National Civic Registration center authorities made it smooth for people as the as they received their NIN they were issued with their ID cards. Sierra Leone should copy these kinds of efficiencies, remove bottle necks (including middle men) to ease the process. Since every one with NIM has to be electronically Thump printed middle men are discourage from the process. The government should followed it up by penalizing any mobile company that issue SIMCards that are not biometrically registered (thumbprints and NIM number).


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