‘Some who need to make use of the visa fine waiver scheme may not have a valid passport’
Indian nationals, who do not have a valid passport and whose UAE visas have expired before March 1, are advised to avail a free emergency travel certificate (EC) from the Consulate General of India in Dubai, announced a top Indian diplomat on Thursday.
Consul- General of India to Dubai Dr Aman Puri told members of the media that the mission will soon launch a programme for distressed Indians wherein a one-time use emergency travel document will be issued for those without valid passports.
“Some who need to make use of the visa fine waiver scheme may not have a valid passport. This is for those whose UAE visas have expired before March 1,” said Dr Puri.
Consul for Press, Information, and Culture Neeraj Agarwal told Khaleej Times, “Those who wish to avail the EC only need to produce two passport size pictures, a copy of their old passport, or a passport number. The application can be made at their nearest BLS Centre.”
However, a special verification process will be followed for those who do not have a copy of their passport to ascertain they are Indian citizens. “We are also working on providing assistance in getting local immigration clearance for all people who are issued EC, so that they can return to India before the October 17 deadline. Such cases can also provide a copy of their election card or any other valid Indian ID,” explained Agarwal.
“So far, the mission has issued approximately 1,000 such emergency certificates in the month of July-August,” he added.
Dr Puri also said the Mission was issuing approximately 30-40 EC’s per day and the mission is doing this to ensure all stranded Indians can avail the visa waiver scheme from the UAE government before the travel deadline of November 17 this year. The Consul- General added, “More details about this service will be announced shortly.”
375,000 Indians leave on Vande Bharat Mission
Vande Bharat Mission, at least 375,000 of distressed Indians who have registered on the Indian missions’ websites have left the UAE, said Agarwal during the briefing.
He explained, “From Dubai and the Northern Emirates, at least 320,000 Indians have returned. We are also witnessing a reverse trend of Indians returning to the UAE as well. We encourage Indians returning to India to register on the Air Suvidha web portal.”
Commenting on the financial support extended to distressed Indians during this time, Jitendar Negi, Labour Consular and MADAD said, “The mission has used the Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF) to provide at least 600 tickets to those wishing to travel on VBM. We also extended our support to those wishing to send the mortal remains of their loved ones’ back home to India. A Covid19 control room was set-up for three months as well and food was supplied to severely distressed as well.”
‘Consular camps’ for Indian expats
Furthermore, the Consul- General also announced new ways in which the Consulate will be reaching out to distressed Indians across Dubai and the Northern Emirates.
Due to the ongoing pandemic, the Consul-General said the monthly ‘open house’ system has been put on hold. “Instead, we are going to slightly different model called ‘consular camps’ – where senior officials from the Missions will travel to labour camps located in different Emirates to engage with distressed Indians” explained Dr Puri.
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