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Consul General of India in Dubai Vipul, during the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas celebrations at the Indian Consulate on Thursday Image Credit: Antonin Kélian Kallouche/Gulf News

Dubai: Indian expats in Dubai and northern Emirates will now be able to get passports issued on the same day under certain conditions, including a higher fee.

Consul General of India in Dubai Vipul on Thursday announced that the Indian Consulate in Dubai will start issuing tatkal passports (issued in emergency cases) on the same day.

Vipul made the announcement during the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (Non Resident Indian-NRI Day) celebrations at the consulate.

He said the same day issuance service for tatkal passports can be availed only if the application is submitted before noon at the office of BLS International, the outsourced service provider for Indian passport and visa applications, in Al Khaleej Centre in Bur Dubai.

“We already issue tatkal passports in 24hours. We are going one step beyond that. We are going to issue tatkal passport on the same day if it is applied for before 12 noon. By evening, we can issue the tatkal passport.”

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Indian Ambassador to the UAE Pavan Kapoor (third from left) and Consul General of India in Dubai Vipul (second from right) honour former Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awardees at the Indian Consulate on Thursday. Image Credit: Gulf News

Speaking to the media later, he said the consulate had made an arrangement with BLS to provide the new service from Sunday, January 12, at its main centre in Al Khaleej Centre. Passports will be ready for collection by 6.30pm.

Under the tatkal scheme, passports can be availed with a fee of Dh855 for 36 pages and Dh950 for 60 pages.

Regular passports are issued at Dh285 for 36 pages and Dh380 for 60 pages.

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The initiative is expected to benefit those requiring emergency issuance of passports, including those rushing back from the airports after realising that their passport had either expired or do not have enough validity for their travel, said Consul Passport Prem Chand.

Vipul said the regular passports are being issued within two to three days after the integration of the interface of the mission with that of the passport authority in India.

The fast delivery of regular passports has contributed to reducing the number of tatkal applications from 40 a day to between 15 and 20, said Prem Chand.

The mission receives about 850 passport applications daily.

Last year, the consulate issued more than 200,000 passports, over 2500 emergency certificates [one-way travel document], over 2,800 police clearance certificates and provided 72,000 attestation services including registration of births and deaths, Vipul said.

Vipul urged the community members and associations to help the mission in spreading awareness against suicides. As many as 140 Indians committed suicide under the jurisdiction of the consulate in 2019, he revealed.

Through the Indian Community Welfare Fund, 630 air tickets were issued to people in distress including prisoners and workers who came and didn’t find a job.

More than 500 Indians distress, mainly after their companies ran into trouble, were helped with sustenance allowance for a specified number of days.

The Indian community supported the consulate in helping 28 students from families in distress.

Open house at PBSK

The open house held on the last Friday of every month at the consulate, which had to be discontinued since April due to the restrictions at the diplomatic enclave, would now be held at the Pravasi Bharatiya Sahayata Kendra (PBSK), at JLT, Vipul said.

The monthly meeting of the community volunteers, which used to be held along with the open house, would now be held at the mission during working days.

The Consul General said the mission would also implement a system to issue genuineness certificate for educational documents through its website.

Indian Ambassador to the UAE Pavan Kapoor and the Consul General honoured the former Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awardees and six young achievers.

The students’ awards have been named after Bharat Bhai Shah, a former Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awardee who passed away on May 25, and Maghanmal Jethanand Pancholia, who died as the oldest Indian business leader on September 2.

A panel discussion on community issues was held. Community members from different walks of life attended the ceremony and also witnessed the livestreaming of a speech and interaction with the diaspora by the External Affairs Minister of India Subramanyam Jaishankar.

Since 2003, India observes January 9 as Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) to celebrate the Indian diaspora across the world. The day commemorates the return of India’s Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi from South Africa to Mumbai in 1915.