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01 March 2024

BLS Out? Indian Embassy to appoint new firm for visa and passport applications in UAE

By Joseph George

Indians living in the UAE might soon have to deal with a new agency for their passport and visa applications. The Indian Embassy in the UAE has called upon fresh applications for a new tender.

Currently BLS International is responsible for all passport and visa services while IVS Global with an office in Oud Metha is responsible for attestations and other consular services.

"The old contract for BLS International is set to expire and therefore we have started the process inviting tenders from companies," says Indian Ambassador to the UAE TP Seetharam.

The new contract will be issued for the next four years, he says. The news comes amidst increasing complaints about inordinate delays in the issuance of passports.

The tender application calls for bids for expression of interest to select appropriately qualified and adequately experienced companies to act as the service provider to enter into a contract with the Embassy of India to provide visa, passport and consular support services across all emirates.

The bidding company must have at least three years of experience of operating a centre for visa, passport consular services on behalf of a diplomatic mission of the government of India or a foreign government dealing with 200 applications per working day or three years experience in e-governance projects of the government of India or ten years experience in tourism, travel or other related services industry with 'demonstrable capacity'.

The notification also requires that the bidding company should also have a minimum net worth equivalent of $5 million (Dh18.35 million) and with an average annual turnover of at least $500,000 (Dh1.835 million).

Emirates 24l7 spoke to several representatives of various associations across the UAE who were highly critical of the current state of affairs.

"All these days the contracts were issued and renewed without anyone's knowledge. Do not be surprised if the contract with BLS is renewed again. They are actually hiring new additional staff," said a source from KMCC in Dubai.

According to him, the time for issuing a passport to a new born has increased from ten days to one month. "An ordinary passport takes almost three months," he adds.