About eKey

What is eKey?

In the past, you were required to enter a mountain of information simply to identify yourself to the eService you wish to use. The Information & eGovernment Authority (iGA), recognizing this inefficiency, has launched the eKey which will allow the users of eServices to identify themselves in a single, simple and secure manner.

Best of all, it is absolutely free!

The eKey is currently offered in two levels:

Standard eKey

The Standard eKey offers a good level of security, requiring the user to enter only the personal number and password when accessing eServices.

This type of eKey can be created online and will be available for use instantly. However, due to the lack of fingerprint verification, only a limited number of services will be accessible with the Standard eKey. You may upgrade to Advanced eKey at any time by visiting the nearest eGovernment eService Center.

Advanced eKey

Registering for the Advanced eKey ensures the highest level of security and allows access to all eServices including highly confidential eServices requiring the verification of the user's ID Card and biometrics (fingerprint).

To complete the registration process, users need to visit one of the eKiosks or any eService center once only, with the need to bring their Identity card.

How we started

The electronic key (eKey) is the Kingdom of Bahrain’s national authentication system, which allows citizens to easily register and verify their identity for unified and secure access to various government services. The system was launched in two phases:

Phase 1: Launch of the eKey system

Officially launched on 5th April 2012, the eKey is currently available at two levels: Basic, which allows registration through the website, and Advanced (fingerprint verification), which requires a visit to one of the service centers affiliated with the Information & eGovernment Authority (iGA) to complete the automated verification process.

The iGA started began using the eKey since its launch on the National Portal, bahrain.bh It served as a necessary authentication tool to access 13 government eServices. Initially, this feature was limited to Bahraini users only, with 1,321 Bahraini users promptly registering on the eKey platform. The total number of system users eventually reached 235,952. Additionally, 11 government entities were directly integrated into the system.

In 2015, the eKey registration and authentication feature was extended to include citizens of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, with number of registered GCC users reaching 156 individuals.

Phase 2 of the eKey

To accommodate the growing number of eKey users, the system underwent several improvements and updates, becoming more accessible to users through the deployment of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and featuring an enhanced user interface and innovative design. The system then introduced a one-time password (OTP) verification feature, ensuring secure profile updates. To facilitate OTP delivery for users residing outside the Kingdom, or those unable to receive SMSs, email functionality was later added to user profiles.

eKey Updates during the COVID-19 Pandemic

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the iGA implemented social distancing measures at eKey service centers. These centers took effective steps to enhance services and reduce waiting times, including:

  1. The introduction of eGovernment kiosks

  2. On November 3, 2021, eGovernment kiosks were introduced to provide users with more convenience and seamless access to various services. These kiosks facilitated advanced registration, password resets, and profile updates using devices available at select iGA branches.

  3. Identity verification through video calls

  4. To accommodate individuals under quarantine and those unable to visit eKey service centers for other reasons, the eKey Customer Service Unit introduced identity verification through video calls.

Following the launch of the second phase of the eKey and related updates during the pandemic, the total number of registered users of the system reached 674,092. Additionally, seven new government organizations were integrated into the Basic eKey system, bringing the total to 18 entities.

The National Portal, bahrain.bh expanded its services, and now offers 146 services that are accessible through the eKey. The number of services continues to grow gradually as more are added to the system.