Saeed Agha, Assistant Director of Passports, Pakistan Consulate Dubai (right), during the Launch of the 10 Years Validity Passport Ceremony at Consulate General of Pakistan, Dubai. Image Credit: Arshad Ali/Gulf News

Dubai: Pakistanis in the UAE can now apply for a passport with 10-year validity, which costs around 80 per cent more than the standard five-year passport, a senior diplomat said.

Previously only five-year passports were issued by the Pakistani embassy and consulate in the UAE.

On Sunday, Javed Khattak, Pakistan’s consul general in Dubai, announced that the 10-year passports represented “a means of convenience offered by the [Pakistan] government to its people”.

He told a press briefing the development means applicants “won’t have to visit the consulate for 10 years”. And, with a 100-pages option, “you’ll have space for all the visas. It’ll be easier for you to travel”.

However, services related to the 10-year passport — such as number of pages or urgency of issuance — are up to 80 per cent higher than five-year passports.

A normal-issue, 36-page passport valid for 10 years costs Dh272; the same passport valid for five years costs Dh151.

Khattak said: “Now all the passport fees have been revised. There is a revised schedule — whether you want an ordinary or urgent passport, or one with 100 pages. It is up to 80 per cent higher.”

This is not the first time a 10-year passport has been launched. The option was made available previously but was discontinued after a few months.

“There was a slight issue. There were some restrictions on who could apply, and so there were some variations and discrepancies.”

The first Pakistani in Dubai to apply for a 10-year passport on Sunday said the move will be welcomed by the community.

“People will not have to worry about passports, about visiting the consulate, for 10 years,” said Chowdhary Abdul Hamid, chairman of the Ravi restaurant group.

Responding to media queries, Khattak said the consulate will be expanded to cater to all applicants. The basic structure of the consulate has not changed since its opening in the early 1980s.

“I can’t promise when it’ll be done but people are already working on it. We’ll expedite it as much as possible,” he added.

Khattak also said mobile consular units are being restarted to cater to Pakistanis in the northern emirates.