x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

No more UAE visas without new Pakistani passports

Pakistanis without new passports will not be able to renew their UAE visas or enter any other country in the world.

ABU DHABI // The Pakistani mission has ended its campaign of replacing passports with machine-readable documents.

The process began in the UAE in June 2008 and wrapped up on December 31.

Illegal immigration and human trafficking prompted countries worldwide to issue secure travel documents, replacing often handwritten certificates.

Those without the new passports will not be able to renew UAE visas and are unlikely to be granted entry visas to other countries.

Jamil Ahmed Khan, the Pakistan ambassador, said that after the deadline the mission would not be able to issue any personal, handwritten documents.

Only machine-readable passports (MRP) would be available.

"In the past four years we have achieved a big milestone of replacing all manual passports with MRPs of Pakistanis who are residing in the Emirates," he said.

A small fraction of the community may not have the new passports, Mr Khan added, for a variety of reasons. In those cases, the embassy would make arrangements.

"We have given some concession in emergency cases," Mr Khan said.

The mission issues 350 passports every day at the embassy, and more than 400 at the consulate in Dubai.

Not all passports have been replaced, Mr Khan said, but the number outstanding is low.

"There are still certain passports being carried by the Pakistan nationals," he said. "But they are all encouraged to replace it as soon as possible. Otherwise they will not be granted visas by any other countries of the world."

According to the embassy, there are about 1.2 million Pakistanis living in the UAE. All are required to produce machine-readable passports when renewing their UAE visas.

"I would say that the majority of Pakistanis living here have already changed their old passports with the new machine-readable passports," Mr Khan said.

anwar@thenational.ae