Indian expats in UAE can now renew passports up to a year prior to expiry

Indian passport holders in the UAE will now not be required to wait until the very last moment to renew their expired passports, an official with the Consulate General of India in Dubai has said.

“We can renew passports up to a year before it expires. A lot of people wait till after it expires to renew the travel document. It is recommended that they plan their renewal well in advance to avoid last-minute hassles,” Ramkumar Thangaraj, consul – passport, education and attestation said.

The consul said the Indian e-passports, with an embedded microchip, are yet to debut in the UAE.
The consul said the Indian e-passports, with an embedded microchip, are yet to debut in the UAE. Photo courtesy: MEA

Thangaraj said the mission has been working to ensure that the travel document is delivered within a maximum of two working days for applicants who do not need pre-police verification.

The Indian mission in UAE reinstated the protocol of police verification for the renewal of passports in September 2020.

“Applicants need to undergo police verification if there has been a change in particulars such as an address, name, or any other change in details,” Thangaraj said.

Renewals that have no change in particulars fall into the no-police verification category, the diplomat explained.

"Once the application is submitted to BLS, we process and issue the passport in two working days. Sometimes proximity can be an issue for passports that come from places such as Fujairah and RAK," he said.

“We are trying our best to deliver our services as quick as possible. There is no pendency from our side. As soon as the application comes through, we are processing it, and we’re dispatching it,” he stated.

For passports that require police verification, the attestation needs to be completed by a maximum of 30 working days.

“This is a very small category of applicants. If people want to travel urgently, we are following the matter up with the concerned Regional Passport Office (RPO) in India and issuing the travel document,” said Thangaraj.

In some emergency cases, the applicant can convert the pre-police verification into post-police verification in cases that deserve an exemption. Applicants can also apply for renewal via Tatkal by paying an additional fee.

The police verification is done once the passport is issued in such cases. If there is a pending criminal case against the applicant, a ‘show-cause’ notice is issued. “Only in cases where the applicant is unable to provide a valid explanation, we have the right to move ahead with the impounding of the passport,” he said.

Thangaraj also confirmed that the mission has been rolling out passports with enhanced design and safety features.

The government of India launched the new design features for the Indian passport in 2019; however, the missions began rolling them out in January 2021, and the old booklets are being phased out.

“The jumbo-sized passport, used by frequent travellers, will still come in the old design,” said Thangaraj.

The consul said the Indian e-passports, with an embedded microchip, are yet to debut in the UAE.

Former spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Raveesh Kumar first revealed details about the new design features of the Indian passport back in 2019. He said the passports' enhanced design and security features were meant to identify fake passports.

Kumar had said, “India’s national symbols, including lotus flower and peacock, would be embossed on the pages. Other than these two, other national symbols will be used on rotation and at random. The national symbols used in the passports will be closely connected with India.”

While the cover of the booklet remains navy blue, a ‘reverse stitching’ method has been employed to ensure the passport is more durable.