Kris and Amit Narang on the new app Image Credit: SUPPLIED

The Consulate General of India has launched a new mobile application for its expat population living in the UAE to ease the process of securing consular appointments and reduce a long line of queues at its premises. The app will be active come Sunday, June 23.

The app ‘QTicket’ was officially launched on Wednesday by consul general (CGI) Vipul, in a ceremony held on the consulate premises in Dubai. QTicket is currently applicable for IVS centres only and does not include services at BLS.

Currently there is no system in place to link the consulate, IVS & BLS; the app is expected to fill the gap.

Conference picture
CGI Vipul with Kris Bhargava and Amit Narang on the launch of new app QTicket for Indian expats Image Credit: Virendra Saklani / Gulf News

Last year, Indian Ambassador to the UAE Navdeep Singh Suri said the Indian migrant population is estimated to be around 3.3 million, making them the largest community of non-resident Indians living in a foreign land.

The app, currently available for download on all Android and Apple applications, will serve this population across the UAE.

QTicket is the brainchild of Kris Bhargava, a year 11 student of Dubai College, who, on one of his visits to an IVS centre in Dubai, found people waiting in queues for hours – to secure a consular appointment and have their service completed.

VLS Centre in Dubai Image Credit: SUPPLIED

“The wait time can be very frustrating. It struck me then that a digital solution could perhaps be the answer to reduce wait time in consulate premises,” he said.

Bhargava approached a Dubai-based technology company called ICC Loyalty LLC. The result, six months later, was the completion of the mobile application.

Talking us through the application, Amit Narang, founder of ICC Loyalty who has developed the app as part of the company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR), said it has been designed to deliver a seamless appointment experience for Indian expats.

“The way it works is that residents can now book an appointment at their preferred centre on a predesignated date and time (subject to availability), by logging in to the application from the comfort of their mobile, phone or computer,” he said.

New App launched to ease process of consular services at IVS centres Image Credit: Anjana Kumar / Gulf News

The services include and are not limited to attestation, power of attorney (POA) letters, passport issuance/ renewal, among others. “We expect the app will greatly reduce the wait times and multiple visits to the consulate to get a service done.”

CGI Vipul said: “QTicket is a “first of its kind” solution for non-resident Indian (NRIs) and going forward, this will provide seamless service and reduce wait times.”

Based on a survey conducted by Bhargava and Narang at various Indian consulates in the UAE, to gauge the demand for such an app, they estimated more than 1,000 people visit the consulates in a day.

“For services based on a ‘walk in’ system the wait can be anywhere from half an hour to several hours in some cases. One person said he had to stay a whole day to get [his] work done. Most people arrive early in the morning to pick up their token and avail the service,” said Bhargava.

Vipul, Consul General Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

“In fact, Indian families with children typically queue up on Saturdays, given that it is a school holiday and that increases the time. Some people we interviewed at the centre said they have to typically take half a day off from work to get their job done at the centre.”

“This can be exasperating for residents coming from other parts of Dubai and from Northern Emirates."

Bhargava and Narang then met Vipul on September 2018 along with consul – passport, Prem Chand, and consul – visa, Rahul Shrivastava, to share his idea of creating an appointment scheduling system for Indian expats. The rest is history.

The Dubai College student said it has taken six months to develop the app. He spent a number of hours at the digital solutions company working with their team to get the app ready.