x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Indians in Dubai issued 2-year passports 'in error'

The Indian ambassador said there was a 'mistake' in communication between the Indian consulate in Dubai and the external centre that handles applications.

DUBAI // India yesterday said that passports will be issued by its missions for 10 years even if nationals failed to provide marriage certificates at the time of renewal.

The decision was taken after applicants complained they were being given passports valid for just two years in Dubai, instead of the customary decade, in the absence of marriage certificates attested by officials back home.

"The embassy wants to clarify that there has been no change in rules regarding the process of updating marital status in Indian passports," said a spokesman at the embassy.

Indian passports are generally valid for 10 years but officials can issue them for a shorter duration - one to two years - if government requirements are not met.

While applying for a new passport or renewing an old one, Indian citizens have the option of including their spouse's name. To do this, they have to provide marriage certificates attested by relevant Indian authorities.

Yesterday, the Indian ambassador said there had been a "mistake" in communication between the Indian consulate in Dubai and the BLS International Visa and Passport Services, the external centre that handles applications.

"It was brought to my attention that short-validity passports were being issued in Dubai," said MK Lokesh, the Indian ambassador to the UAE. According to Mr Lokesh, passports will be issued for the full term, if other conditions were met.

Mr Lokesh said he did not know how many such passports had been issued but said the missions would look into any cases.

The Consulate will now stop issuing short validity passports if applicants are unable to furnish their marriage certificate.

The issuance of short validity passports due to non-production of marriage certificates, duly attested by concerned the Home Department, have been in place for more than a year.

The Consulate will reissue fresh passports with full validity if they apply and pay the prescribed fee.

However, the embassy urged applicants to provide documents attested by Indian authorities if they wanted to include their spouse's name or delete it, in the case of a divorce.

"Indian nationals are advised to endeavour to keep updated personal information, including marital status, in their passports to avoid any inconvenience," said the spokesman.

"In case requisite documentary proof is not enclosed with the application, the reissued passports will continue to reflect marital status as per entries in the previous passports.

"However, the above will not have any effect on the validity of thus re-issued passports which is normally 10 years subject to fulfilment of other conditions."

pkannan@thenational.ae