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Visas on mobile phones in Dubai

posted on 14/01/2009: 2456 views

In a move to simplify the visa procedures, the Dubai Naturalisation and Residency Department (DNRD) will introduce ‘M-visas' (mobile visas) wherein the applicant will get his visa in the form of a picture SMS.

Initially, only visit visas will be issued through this service. The fee for this service has not been fixed yet.

"M-visas will be issued from February and all arrangements have been made for the new mechanism,” Rahul Dalwale, System Analyst at DNRD, told Khaleej Times on Tuesday.

Rahul said with the new system, the sponsor of the visa applicant can login to and apply for an M-visa by providing the details, including the mobile phone numbers of the applicant and the sponsor.

"Once the application is accepted, the sponsor has to provide the necessary documents to DNRD officials. Once the officials approve, a picture SMS of the visa with a bar code will be sent to the mobile phones of the sponsor and the applicant abroad,” he said.

Then, the applicant can come to the country and at the airport, he can show the SMS and his passport. The DNRD officials at the airport will check the passport and the visa using the barcode. They will print the visa and let the person enter the country, he said. There will be a special counter at the airport for this service. The applicants have to specially apply for M-visa while submitting the online form, he said.

M-visas will help the customers avoid long queues at the DNRD offices and sponsors need not go to the airport to deposit the original visas, Dalwale said.

The DNRD is also providing another service to ease visa procedures. Mohammed Rashed bin Hashim, Project Manager in the DNRD, said companies and individuals in Dubai will be able to print visas and get information about the status of visa applications through ATM-like self-service kiosks that will be installed across the emirate.

UAE nationals can also renew their passports at the kiosks. There will be no extra fees for this service. The normal charges will be applicable and the machine will give options to pay the fees either by cash or credit card, said Bin Hashim.

"About 50 self-service kiosks will be installed in the emirate by February end. A machine is already in place in the Dubai Naturalisation and Residency Department (DNRD),” he said.

Once the self-service kiosks are operational, individuals who have e-gate cards and companies that have the DNRD token numbers can apply for visas online and send the documents through couriers to the department's offices.

"When they register online, a reference number will be given to them and they will be able to log in to the machine and print original visas with the DNRD seal and signature of the official concerned. Users can also know the status of visa applications they have submitted through the machine,” he said.

Currently, the company PROs or individuals have to visit the DNRD offices to collect the original visa. The self-service kiosks, once operational, will eliminate the need to visit the DNRD offices. "Our aim is to simplify procedures and give maximum service to customers,” said Bin Hashim.

The new facility will enable UAE nationals to log in to the machine with national identity card numbers and apply for renewal of passports. They can also know the status of their applications. Once the passport is renewed, it will be sent through a courier. Bin Hashim said the DNRD's aim is to minimise the waiting time and provide services to its customers in an easier manner. – Khaleej Times


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