Indian passport
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Dubai: The Indian Consulate in Dubai on Tuesday announced that it will partially resume passport services from an outsourced centre in Sharjah from Wednesday, offering relief to Indians concerned about their passport expiry during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The move follows the closure of all the outsourced agency BLS International during the disinfection and national sanitisation drive in the UAE.

The mission took to Twitter on Tuesday afternoon to post an advisory on partially resuming the passport services “keeping in view of various emergencies of Indian applicants.”

“It has been decided to resume passport services partially through BLS Sharjah Centre (office no 11, mezzanine floor, Abdul Aziz Majid Building, King Faisal Street from April 15,” stated the advisory.

Speaking to Gulf News, Consul General of India in Dubai, Vipul, said: “We have got some requests [for passport renewal] which we found difficult to process from the Consulate in the current situation. So we decided to provide emergency passport renewal services through the BLS Centre in Sharjah as 24x7 movement restrictions continue in Dubai.”

He urged applicants from Dubai and northern emirates seeking the service to follow the safety guidelines issued by the local authorities while leaving their homes.

Who can renew passports and how?

Initially, the mission said, applications for renewal of passports will be accepted only for those passports which have already expired or going to be expired by April 30.

The process for accepting applications will be as follows.

The applicant should send an email to the consulate at passport.dubai@mea.gov.in with a copy of the passport and explaining the emergency.

The consulate will then give an appointment at BLS Sharjah Centre for submitting the application.

“The applicant will prepare his application online and attach all the requisite documents before going to the BLS Centre at his or her appointment time,” the consulate said.

It also clarified that an Indian passport can be renewed up to three years after its expiry under normal procedure.

“After three years of expiry of passport, it can be renewed only with prior police clearance from Indian authorities,” the mission explained.

Changes in Embassy’ services

Meanwhile, the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi also announced an advisory regarding changes in passport and attestation services.

“Further to our advisory dated March 25, regarding passport and attestation services following measures to maintain social distancing to avoid the spread of COVID-19 would continue until further notice,” the mission said in a tweet.

The Embassy said it will, till further notice, only process those passport applications of applicants, whose passports have either expired or will be expiring by May 31.

The mission added that it will continue temporary suspension of normal attestation services. If someone has an emergency attestation requirement, he or she could scan and send the documents, explaining the emergency through email on cons.abudhabhi@mea.gov.in

The Embassy said it will reply to all the emails received up till 4pm on all working day and if approved, will provide attestation service on the next working day.

Helpline numbers

The Indian missions had earlier opened 24x7 helpline numbers for Indian nationals to approach them in case of emergency.

Those in Abu Dhabi can reach the Indian Embassy on 0508995583

Those in Dubai and northern emirates can call the consulate on 0565463903/ 0543090575.

The consulate has also started telemedicine consultation and counselling related to COVID-19 for Indian nationals from 9am to 6pm on the numbers 054 3090 571 and 054 3090 572.