Refugees Biometrics

Do you know how UNHCR uses your biometric data?

As the UN agency mandated to protect refugees and safeguard their rights and well-being, UNHCR Jordan collects biometric data (iris scan) to record and protect the identity of refugees and asylum seekers as well as to prevent fraud.

All data is treated as confidential and UNHCR does not share biometric data with anyone. Other – non-biometric data – which is collected during your registration interview may be shared with partner organizations following refugees’ consent. All refugees have the right to object to the processing of biometric data.

If you are interested in learning more about how UNHCR uses refugee biometric data, click here.

Document Return for Syrian Refugees in Jordan

Since 2014, UNHCR and SRAD have been successful in delivering 95% of all documents retained in Raba Sarhan Centre. In order to retrieve your retained document in Raba Sarhan Centre, you will need to place a request though one of the below:

  • UNHCR Helpline 064008000
  • UNHCR Registration Centres in Zaatari and Azraq camps
  • SRAD offices

Please make sure you have the following documents with you when placing a document return request:

  1. UNHCR Asylum Seeker Certificate or proof of registration
  2. Service card issued by the Ministry of Interior for Syrian refugees
  3. Pink receipt (if available)

Once you’ve submitted the request, UNHCR will process your request, and you will receive an SMS from UNHCR at a later stage requesting you to approach one of the delivery locations designated in each governorate to receive your document(s). When receiving your document(s), please be sure to present the following:

  • UNHCR Asylum Seeker Certificate or proof of registration
  • Service card issued by the Ministry of Interior for Syrian refugees

All UNHCR services are provided free of charge.

Gradual Reopening of UNHCR Registration Centres

In line with the recommendations issued by the Government of Jordan, and in compliance with COVID-19 prevention measures, UNHCR Jordan is partially opening registration centres in Amman, Mafraq and Irbid for in-person processing of a limited number of persons of concern. UNHCR will send SMS appointments with indicated time of interview to persons of concern. Please strictly adhere to the mentioned time, as you will not be able to enter the registration centre earlier or later, to avoid crowding, as social distancing must be maintained at all times. Please come with all family members registered in the same file, and bring your identity documents and expired Asylum Seeker/Refugee Certificates. Should you have been married, divorced, had a new born child or a deceased family member since your last visit to UNHCR please bring documents confirming those facts as well.

Please note that UNHCR will continue carrying out the majority of its activities remotely in all its offices (Amman, Mafraq, Irbid), thus it is exceptionally important that you maintain your primary phone number with UNHCR active. When you receive an SMS from UNHCR with an appointment for renewal of Asylum Seeker/Refugee Certificates, please read it carefully to understand if that appointment is for a face to face interview at the registration centre, or a remote interview through the phone. Refugees processed remotely will be sent an appointment SMS to approach registration centers to pick up their renewed Asylum Seeker/Refugee Certificates as per the established practice.

UNHCR Jordan is monitoring the situation and works closely with the Government of Jordan and World Health Organization to take the necessary measures to protect its Persons of Concern from COVID-19.

In order to avoid rumors and fake news, make sure that you receive your information from an official source. Follow UNHCR Jordan on Facebook and Twitter, and visit the Help site ( for constant updates. Should there be any changes to the working modality of registration centres, or activities carried out at the Community Support Centres, UNHCR will inform Persons of Concern.

Access to UNHCR

If you are in Jordan and wish to seek international protection with UNHCR, or have a question about the assistance and services provided by UNHCR and its partners, you can call the UNHCR Helpline (064008000). Should you have an urgent request, you can approach UNHCR at any of its locations (Amman, Mafraq and Irbid) and request to access the reception/filtering area. Working days are Sunday to Thursday. At reception, you will be received by a UNHCR staff member who will identify what you need and refer you to the unit that can help provide you with an answer.

If you do not live near a UNHCR office, you can approach UNHCR at one of our Helpdesks and they will be able to help you find the answer to your question. You can also approach one of our partners or Community Support Centres and if they are unable to answer your question, they will refer your question to UNHCR.

You can also submit a petition in any of the blue petition boxes and these will be shared with the relevant units for further action.


Registration is the first step in the relationship between asylum-seekers and UNHCR. If you cannot return to your home country because you fear for your life, and wish to seek international protection with UNHCR, you must first register. At registration, UNHCR records information relating to you and your family, as well as why you had to leave your home country.

In order to register, call the UNHCR Helpline and request a new registration appointment.

Please note that:

– If you live in the governorates of Karak, Ma’an, Tafilah, Aqaba and Ruwaished, please do not come to Amman, Mafraq or Irbid to seek an appointment. Please call the Helpline or approach our Helpdesks in these locations and request an appointment for the next mobile registration mission;
– Please do tell the reception or the staff you speak with at the Helpdesk or Helpline if you need an interviewer who speaks a specific language or dialect;
– If you have a family member who is in hospital, unable to leave the house because of disability, pregnant and the baby is due soon, or because they are old or suffer from a medical condition, you can approach any of our Helpdesks and request a home or hospital visit. Please explain clearly why you or your family member cannot come to the office for an interview;
– You do not need to bring your family when you come to request an appointment, but you need to bring all your family members for registration and bring all your documents, including:
1. Identity documents: passport, national ID, driving license
2. Ministry of Interior Service Card (for Syrians only)
3. Family and military booklets
4. Marriage or divorce certificates
5. Birth certificates for children
6. Education and employment certificates
7. Work permit in Jordan
8. Medical certificates
9. Custody/guardianship documents

Please note that if you only have one or two of the documents listed above, this is absolutely fine; bring what you have. You can register with UNHCR even if you do not have any documents. You will be asked why you do not have any documents, and then registration will continue. Please inform reception if this is the case.

Once you come to register, you will need to fill out a registration form. Spouses and adult family members (over 18 years) will have to fill in separate forms. The form includes questions relating to your name, date of birth, nationality, place of birth, family members and the reasons you left your country.

It is very important that you provide full and correct, information, to the best of your knowledge, while registering. If you have entered on an alternate identity or have any information to disclose that you are scared might negatively impact your case with UNHCR, please note that all information shared with UNHCR is confidential. It will only be shared as needed and will not be shared without your permission. You will be asked to sign a document to confirm the truth of your statements and provide a telephone number or address at which you can be contacted.

To ensure your protection in Jordan, UNHCR is obliged to share names of asylum-seekers and refugees, their date of registration, their arrival date, and their point of entry in Jordan with the Jordanian authorities. At your first registration appointment you will be fully counselled on this obligation  and your consent will be sought.

At your registration, UNHCR will seek your consent to share your basic biodata (including name, date of birth, country of origin) and in some cases minimum information about your assessed vulnerabilities with other humanitarian actors for the purpose of providing you with assistance. You have the right to enquire further about which humanitarian actors will receive your information, the precise purpose for which your personal data is to be shared and what personal data will be shared. Should you decide not to give consent, UNHCR will not share your data with anyone. You may also withdraw your consent at any time.   All other information you provide to UNHCR remains confidential. No information related to your claim or reasons of flight from your country of origin or your fears of return are shared with anyone without your written permission, including the Jordanian authorities. At no point of time will UNHCR share information about you with your country of origin. Please note that all your personal data are collected and stored in UNHCR servers ensuring the highest security standards.

Providing your most recent contact detail will allow UNHCR to stay in touch with you and keep you informed about changes in your case. If you do not have a phone number, please share the phone number of a friend or relative who can help us contact you. Please keep your phone number updated in UNHCR records.

The registration interview, what to expect?

Before the registration interview begins, the UNHCR staff member will explain the purpose of the interview, the type of questions and the steps that are to be followed.
Should you prefer an interviewer or interpreter of as specific gender, please request this.

During the interview, you will be assigned a case number for you and your family, as well as an individual number for each family member. These numbers relate to your record with UNHCR and serve as a reference within UNHCR as well as with external entities. You will be provided with an Asylum-Seeker Certificate at the end of the interview and both numbers will be recorded on your Asylum-Seeker Certificate.

During the interview, the registration staff member will gather appropriate information about you as well as all your family members. This means that the interviewer will need to speak not only to you, but to everyone in your family who is present with you in Jordan, including your children and your spouse. An individual photograph will be taken of all your family members. As part of UNHCR standard registration procedures, biometrics (scan of your iris) will also be collected for each person aged 5 years and above. UNHCR collects biometric data to enhance identification, registration, and documentation management. Biometrics are used to strengthen the integrity of your identity. Please note that your biometric data is stored in secure servers; only UNHCR has access to that data which is not shared with any third party. Limited and excrypted one-to-one identity verification is enabled by UNHCR authorized partners and for the sole purpose of assistance delivery [see more details under “Utilization of biometrics for assistance delivery”].  Should you have a valid reason for not wishing to allow UNHCR to scan your iris, or in case you have a health condition or permanent trauma to the eye, please inform UNHCR registration staff.  Please note registration process will be completed even if your iris is not scanned. All the documents that you present in the interview will be copied and placed in your file; originals must be returned to you.

The information you have shared will be reconfirmed before the interview is closed. Please do ask any questions you might have at this time.

There are small shops selling snacks in the centre, however we encourage you to bring food with you for yourself and your family as you may be in the centre for 3 to 5 hours. Water is available for free at water tanks. Restrooms are available in the registration centre, there is also a breastfeeding corner for mothers with babies as well as a playing area for children.

At the end of the interview, you are provided a UNHCR Asylum-Seeker Certificate that includes information about you and all family members and confirms that you are now a ‘person of concern’ to UNHCR and are under the international protection of UNHCR in Jordan. Please, ALWAYS carry it with you.

The UNHCR document is important as with this you can enroll your children in public schools. You can also present it to the police or other Government officials to confirm your registration with UNHCR. This does not replace the residency or a work permit.

The UNHCR Asylum-Seeker Certificate must be renewed every year in order for it to remain valid. In order to renew the document, you need to request an appointment with UNHCR at least one month prior to the expiry date of the document. To make an Asylum-Seeker Certificate renewal appointment please contact the UNHCR Helpline. If you do not have access to a phone you can request a renewal appointment at any of UNHCR’s urban registration centres or Helpdesks if you live in the governorates of Karak, Ma’an, Tafilah, Aqaba and Ruwaished.  For the renewal interview as well, you need to come with your entire family and bring all the documents that you have.

Utilization of biometrics for assistance delivery

When accessing financial assistance provided by UNHCR or other partners, you may be entitled to use your iris scan to validate your withdrawal.  Within this system, please note that your biometric data is not shared with anyone. Rather a system is in place that validates your identity for the financial provider by matching your iris scan and returning a result to the provider. This use of iris scans in assistance distribution ensures, that no-one but you can access and withdraw your assistance. If you are eligible for assistance but do not wish to use your iris scan please inform UNHCR by calling the Helpline. UNHCR will assess other assistance delivery modalities with you. Please note that UNHCR and humanitarian actors in Jordan provide assistance to refugees based on relevant criteria. Bbiometric enrollment is not  part of this eligibility determination process. Thus, it is important to note that in case you decide not to allow the use of your iris scan for  assistance delivery, you will remain eligible to be considered for assistance. UNHCR makes use of  the use of biometrics for cash assistance withdrawals as it provides more effective protection for refugees ensuring no one else can access your assistance. In times of pandemic where the distribution of cards and PINs as well as in person verification is challenging, UNHCR and partners can continue to include new families to assistance programmes as no verification nor token needs to be distributed in-person to beneficiaries

Please note that ALL services provided by UNHCR, including registration, are provided for FREE. For more on reporting fraud, abuse and exploitation, please check our site.

See also

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