Dubai: Indian expats in the UAE applying for new or renewed passports have started receiving the documents with a new design and extra safety features, Gulf News can reveal.
The Indian Consulate in Dubai confirmed to Gulf News that it has completed phasing out the standard passports (with 36 pages) with the old design and is currently issuing regular passports with the new design.
However, the jumbo passport with 60 pages continues to be issued in the old format till stocks last, a consulate official explained. The new design of the regular passport issued to citizens was introduced by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs in 2019 and it was being implemented in passports issued in India earlier.
“The old booklet of the regular passport has been phased out,” said Ramkumar Thangaraj, Consul (Education, Passport and Attestation).
“We have started issuing the booklet with the new design. We have not started issuing the jumbo passport in the new design yet as we still have stocks to clear,” he added.
The much-hyped e-passport with an embedded chip has not been introduced in the UAE yet, the official clarified.
What has changed?
Changes have only been made to the design aspects and durability of the passport. “Durability has been enhanced significantly…Security features have also been increased,” the official said.
A reverse stitching method has been used to improve the safety and durability. The dark bluish colour of the cover has been retained. However, the words ‘Republic of India’ are printed in a bigger font and on top of the cover while ‘Passport’ comes down below the emblem of India—an adaptation of the Lion Capital of Ashoka, a sculpture of four Asiatic lions standing back-to-back on an elaborate base that includes other animals. The emblem is emblazoned in the centre.
The new design of the cover page has been retained on the opening page of the passport. The declaration that “this passport contains 36 pages” has been moved to the opening page. Also, the passport number is embossed on every page of the booklet in a slightly different way.
More security features
Apart from the ghost image of the applicant (one of the most important security features last included in the Indian passport) additional symbols have been introduced to prevent counterfeiting.
As per an earlier statement of the ministry, a basket of images of lotus, peacock and other symbols of national importance are being used.
The letters ‘IND’ have been inked on the edge of all the pages. However, it can be read clearly only when the pages of the booklet are held together.
The last page of the passport, where details such as names of parents and address are given, is doubly laminated.
Earlier, these details used to be printed on the inner side of the back cover page with lamination on one side.
The changes in design have no impact on the application process or duration taken for issuing the passport.
However, the official confirmed that applicants, whose passports are sent for police verification prior to the renewal of passport, might face a delay depending on various factors.
There are certain categories of applicants whose passport renewal application needs to go for pre-police verification. This is required especially when there is a need for change of particulars such as name, date of birth, address, etc, or when some data is missing in the system.
“That is a very small number of people. We facilitate them as fast as possible. If some delay is happening, we get in touch with the police authorities to help speed up the procedures,” Ramkumar said.
“Also, we allow to convert it from pre-police verification to post-police verification in cases that deserve exemption. In case of death and other emergency conditions, we have the tatkal option for this. However, the applicants have to pay extra to get the passport on the same day under the tatkal service,” said Ramkumar.
The police verification is then done post the issuance of the passport.
If there is any concern about the criminal background of the applicant, a ‘show-cause’ notice is issued. “If we do not receive any satisfactory explanation, we have the right to move ahead with impounding of the passport,” the passport consul added.
The Indian Consulate in Dubai issues one of the highest numbers of passports outside India. In 2020, the mission issued 180114 passports while it has issued 134887 passports so far this year. For issuing a regular passport with 36 pages valid for 10 years, Dh285 is charged. It is Dh190 for a minor’s passport.
For a jumbo passport with 60 pages, adults have to pay Dh380.
To get the passport on the same day under the tatkal service, Dh570 is charged for both minors and adults.
A fee of Dh8.05 is charged for every application for contributing to the Indian Community Welfare Fund.
Another Dh9 is charged for the service of the outsourced passport processing service provider, BLS International.
Costs at a glance:
Short validity passport –Dh190
Tatkal passport –Dh570
BLS International service charge—Dh9