Online appointment system at Pakistan Consulate in Dubai
In a significant move, the Pakistan Consulate General in Dubai on Sunday started online an appointment system for passports, ID cards and visas, saying goodbye to long queues.
The new facility will not only help reduce the massive rush of applicants visiting the mission but also help solve the parking problem, Samar Javed, Acting Pakistani Consul General in Dubai, told Gulf News. Currently, applicants stand in queues as early as 4am outside the consulate in Dubai.
Javed said that the online appointment system for the consulate became operational on Sunday. Pakistanis living in the Dubai and northern emirates can now visit the website, www.mofa.gov.pak/Dubai, and book the appointment to apply for passports and NICOP (National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis).
Also, those who want to visit Pakistan can book an appointment online to apply for their visas at their convenience.
Those living in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain should visit the Pakistan Embassy website, www.pakistanembassyuae.org/, to book appointments online.
Appointment time will be from 8am to 2pm.
“The new online appointment system will provide huge relief to the community in the UAE as they no longer have to stand in queues for hours to get their passports and ID cards renewed,” Javed told a press conference at this office on Sunday.
He said around 1,500 people visit the consulate which has the capacity to accommodate only 400 people. This leads to a massive rush inside and outside the building. “Some days it is so chaotic that it becomes tough to handle such a huge crowd,” he noted.
According to t consulate statistics, around 1.4 million Pakistanis live in the UAE.
Out of 1,500 visitors, some 700 to 800 come to the consulate to apply for passports, 250-300 come to apply for NICOP, 60 to 70 people come for visa services while the rest come for other services such as attestation of documents, affidavits, etc.
“We hope the daily visits will reduce by 50 per cent after the launch of the online appointment system. It will also be very convenient for women and children and those applying for documents for newborns,” said Javed.
When it was pointed out a large number of Pakistanis in the UAE are blue collar workers and it would be tough for them to book appointments online, the acting consul general said that the consulate would continue to accept applications from walk-in applicants but priority would be given to those who book online appointments.
He added that the consulate is in talks with the Pakistani associations and centres in Dubai, Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah to offer such services at their premises. “We have asked them to set up dedicated services in their premises to help people book appointments online,” he said.
He, however, added that the online appointment system is very simple and anyone even with basic computer knowledge will be able to use it.
Javed advised applicants who book online to reach the consulate 15 minutes before the appointment time and said it would take maximum 30 minutes to complete their procedure, which also involves taking biometric details and photographs.
He said that the consulate has introduced a number of facilities recently. The consulate has started a regular bus service from the Pakistan Community Centre in Ras Al Khaimah to the Pakistan Consulate in Dubai to solve the issue of commuting for Pakistanis.
Javed said that Pakistan government would soon introduce online renewal of passports without the need to visit the consulate.
A software system to handle the new online process is being developed by the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA).The system is in its final stages of development and will launch soon, he said.
He also clarified that Pakistanis can also alternatively apply for their NICOP directly by visiting NADRA’s website http://id.nadra.gov.pk/ without coming to the Pakistani missions.
HOW TO APPLY
Visit the website www.mofa.gov.pk/Dubai (for Pakistani residents in Dubai and northern emirates); and www.pakistanembassyuae.org/ (for residents of Abu Dhabi and Al Ain)
Click on online appointment
Select the date and time
Fill the basic data form
You will get appointment by email
Print the email and go to the consulate or embassy