All UAE citizens to receive e-passports from next year: MoI

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Major General Khalifa Hareb Al Khaiaili, Acting Assistant Undersecretary of the Ministry of Interior (MoI) for Naturalization, Residency and Ports Affairs, stressed the Ministry’s keenness to provide outstanding services, conforming to the best of international standards, to enhance public confidence and customer satisfaction with such services. This approach falls in line with the UAE Government’s directives aimed at nurturing a high quality of life for the UAE society and embodies the MoI’s customer satisfaction strategy.

He said this measure is taken to keep pace with the latest global developments and leverage modern technology, in keeping with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), who issued a deadline for countries to transition to e-passports.

He said: “The UAE began issuing e-passports for citizens in 2011 and the majority of passports will be replaced with new e-passports by the end of this year.”

Adding further, Major General Al Khaiaili said: “Citizens whose passports have expired, or who wish to be issued with new passports, can submit their applications with the required documents. The e-passports will be issued in record time after processing their information. The e-passport is a document containing an electronic chip with the passport holder’s encrypted biometric data that cannot easily be decoded. It also contains the fingerprints, signature and photo, together with security features and specifications that prevent any fraud attempts. They are also very difficult to duplicate, as data found in the passport contains highly sophisticated security features, compared to standard passports.”

Furthermore, he confirmed that the e-passport will be granted to all UAE citizens without exception and their expired passports will be replaced with the e-passports according to their renewal dates, through the nationwide naturalization departments.

He added that normal passports expire on 31/12/2016, after which date all UAE citizens will receive e-passports; pointing out that UAE citizens living abroad can refer to the UAE embassies for the renewal and replacement of their old passports.

“Citizens whose passports have expired can visit one of the service centers to renew their passports, to avoid any embarrassment when they travel. We have two centres in Abu Dhabi and Dubai Airports that provide emergency passport renewal that are available 24-7 and during holidays for all citizens leaving the country,” he said.

Major General Al Khaiaili also confirmed that the UAE passport is particularly important, as it is a symbol of the country and the official document for UAE citizens.

“The passport should be kept even if it has expired, to make sure it won’t fall into the hands of anyone who might use it illegally,” he advised.

He pointed out that holders of expired or replaced passports that still carry valid visas can retain them, but should guarantee to safeguard these documents and submit them to the General Directorate of Naturalization after the visa expires, or after they have completed the visa transfer procedures to their new passport.

He also noted that there are no new fees when issuing the e-passport, as the current fees are the same.

“The same documents are required and procedures will be applied for issuing e-passports to replace the old ones. In the case of lost or damaged passports that need to be replaced, a fee of Dh300 will be charged to replace it,” he added.

He pointed out that the process of issuing passports through the smart applications is quick to complete through the MoI’s website (www.moi.gov.ae) and the passport is delivered to its owner’s named address.

The passport is issued through service centers all over the country within 48 hours, and can be collected from the issuing center.

Major General Al Khaiaili called upon citizens to apply for their new e-passports to speed up their procedures, especially if travelling to countries that use e-passports.

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