Dubai: The Indian Consulate in Dubai has addressed questions by Indian expats on adding their UAE address in their passports as several property owners welcomed the move and tenants and workers sought clarifications.
As first reported by Gulf News on Tuesday, Indian passport holders can now provide their overseas address to be printed in their passports.
Veteran Indian expat Dr. Ram Buxani, chairman of ITL Cosmos Group, who is also one of the first Indian businessmen to receive the UAE’s Gold Card for 10-year long-term visa, said he already has his Dubai address in his passport.
“In my passport, I have had only my Dubai address for more than 30 years because we have been domiciled here for decades. This facility used to be given for longtime residents domiciled here on a selective basis. It is good to hear that it is now an option for all Indians residing here. There would be many people with no proper address in India. Many people stay in hotels when they visit India. This will be a good option for them and this is likely to make it more convenient for government officials to be closer to people here. They can get in touch with people here as well as at their address in India if needed,” he said.
Sudhakar R. Rao, founder and chairman of Gemini Group, said having the UAE address in the passport is a matter of pride.
“It is another identity that I work in this country, or I do business here. Considering the bilateral relationship between the two countries, this is a step in the right direction. We have permanent address here and we are looking forward to staying here for long. I welcome this move to allow Indians to add their UAE address in their passports.”
For Shanti Khanna, a blogger and digital marketing specialist, the opportunity to have her Dubai home address in the passport is “fantastic” news.
“I have been in Dubai for five years and three years ago, we bought an apartment here. So, Dubai is my home now even though I have my family back home. We can’t get a local passport here but this option is a good opportunity to feel that we belong here. I would like to add my Dubai home address in my passport. I will feel more at home.”
Challenges back home
Dubai-based entrepreneur Saleem Javed also welcomed the move. Javed, who runs the Touch Tel smartphone distributor and trading company and Glo School, which provides online tutoring services, said: “We have been living here for 20 years. This is where I belong, where my address is and where I connect. I definitely want to be associated with where I connect. Though my parents still keep visiting India for some months every year, they are also residents here.”
But he was apprehensive of some challenges the inclusion of UAE address in his passport may pose when he visits India. “When I travelled to Bangalore, the immigration officials questioned me on why I went there as I have my Delhi address in my passport. I don’t know how such officials will react when they see a Dubai address instead. Also, I don’t carry any other documents in India. That is another challenge. If our address in India is not given in the passport, will it create any problem?” he asked.
Though she wouldn’t mind having her Dubai address in her passport, restaurateur Jismy Shanavas of Golden Fork Sea Food Restaurants also raised her doubts about its future implications.
“When we visit India we usually use our passport for all the documentation works or official purposes there. But I don’t know if we can do all that with a Dubai address in the passport. What if this is not accepted by entities in India?” she asked.
Since majority of Indian expats live in rented properties, tenants like Raseena Pazhanthotta had a set of questions.
“In an important document like passport, the information should remain valid. But, most of the Indian expats here including myself, live in rented apartments. They may shift depending on their needs. What will happen then? They can’t keep changing the passport. So, is it better to retain our Indian address which is valid?” asked the food safety manager.
Bhaskaran Chandran, a watchman in Sharjah, wanted to know if people like him will be able to benefit from the option as he does not have any proof of residence here.
“Most of the Indian workers here live in accommodations provided by the companies or in shared accommodations. They won’t be able to provide proof of residence here. But I think it will be beneficial if everyone is able to add their local address along with their Indian address in the passport. Having our local address can help the consulate and others find us quickly in case of any emergency.”
Gulf News posed these doubts and questions raised by readers to Siddhartha Kumar Baraily, consul, Passport and Attestation at the Indian Consulate in Dubai.
Clarifying that having the UAE address printed on the passport is an optional service and not a mandatory requirement for Indian expats, he reiterated that the Indian government had decided to allow its overseas citizens to add their local address in the country of residence mainly to aid those who do not have permanent presence in India.
“Those who want this optional service need to do it after thorough thinking and analysing as they need to get a new passport for adding the local address and they may not be able to keep changing it,” he advised.
The diplomat made it clear that it is still mandatory for applicants to provide an Indian address while submitting their passport application online.
“The government of India has given an option for printable address of that of foreign address, for ease of the applicants. But that does not mean that an Indian address is not required. Both the addresses will remain in passport database for future references. Only the address preferred for printing will be shown in the passport. An Indian address is necessary to initiate Police Verification (PV) as PV cannot be initiated in the case of UAE address. Please note that PV is mandatory for any passport re-issuance or fresh issuance and PV is initiated either in pre-PV or post-PV mode, depending upon certain criteria.”
Responding to the queries on the feasibility of address change when people shift from one rented apartment to another, he said: “The applicant may change their address in the passport depending upon their urgency to have that address in the passport. But for every change in address in passport, online form has to be submitted and it will be treated as passport reissuance application and necessary documentary proof of the new address has to be provided. Upon processing the application, fresh passports will be issued.”
Asked if having the UAE address will pose difficulties in accessing services or any other documentation works in India, Baraily said: “This ties to our previous answer where we have said that having the UAE address on their passport is not compulsory and only those Indian nationals who really require the UAE address need to apply.”
However, the diplomat skirted the question related to potential questioning by immigration officials at Indian airports. “The matter pertains to the Indian immigration authorities and the consulate cannot comment on it,” he said.