Indian embassy to outsource Visa, passport services in UAE

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Dubai, Apr 6 (UNI) The Indian missions in UAE today signed an agreement with the Empost, a wing of the UAE postal services to outsource for the first time visa application and passport services.

Under the pact, Empost will set up 12 dedicated centres to receive passsport and visa applications for Indians and visitors to India.

At present the Indian Embassy, Abu Dhabi and the Indian Consulate, Dubai together provide around 200,000 passport services and 63,000 visas in the UAE, Indian ambassador to UAE Talmiz Ahmad told reporters here.

Over 4000 people visit the Embassy and Consulate daily for the services, he said.

The outsourcing will make the services more expensive to the customers, mostly the low income blue collar Indian workers and may take more time to get the services, he added.

In addition to the normal passport and visa application fees, Empost will charge a service fee of United Arab Emirates dirham (AED) 12 for each passport service and AED 50 for each visa service, the ambassador informed.

Mr Ahmad signed the agreement with Sultan A Al Midfa Chief Executive Officer, Empost. The Dubai Consul General Venu Rajamony was also present on the occasion.

The proposed collection centres set up by Empost across the UAE would significantly reduce the inconvenience caused to the public who at present face heavy crowds at the two offices and, again, can seek services only during specific hours on working days, said Mr Ahmad.

The new arrangements would enable the public to submit applications at several centres across the country, before and after their office hours as well as on weekends, the Ambassador added.

At the dedicated centres, Empost staff would complete preliminary formalities and forward the applications to Embassy/Consulate for processing, Mr Al Midfa said.

A Call Centre would be set up to answer telephone queries and inform applicants of the status of their applications, he added.

The collection centres as well as Call Centre would be manned by persons familiar with Indian languages and the trained staff would guide applicants in the filling up of applications, he informed.

The applicants would be photographed digitally at the collection centres and hence will not have to provide photographs with their applications, said Mr Ahmad.

Further, there would be arrangements for fast-track processing of applications in cases of emergency. Attestation of documents would continue to be done at the Embassy/Consulate as before, the ambassador concluded.

UNI XC RJ PM1627

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