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Mar 29 2013

Saudi Arabia outsources visa processing in UAE

By Waheed Abbas New visa processing centres open in Dubai and Sharjah for Saudi travel permits
Saudi Arabia's foreign ministry has signed a deal with VFS Tasheel under which businessmen can apply for Saudi visas at the company's offices in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi.

Speaking to Emirates 24l7, VFS Tasheel Chief Operations Officer Mahesh Anchan said visa processing will start from Sunday March 31 in Dubai and Sharjah.

The Sharjah office can process 300 applications daily while Dubai and Abu Dhabi offices can handle 450-500 applications a day. Dubai and Sharjah offices are spread over 14,000 sq ft and 12,000 sq ft respectively. Abu Dhabi office will be operational in the first week of June, Anchan said.

He said to begin with visas would be processed only for businessmen and visas for Hajj and Umrah pilgrims will be processed at a later date once the biometric (facial and fingerprint) processing begins at the VFS Tasheel centres.

Commenting on the timeframe for biometric processing, Anchan said the deal with Saudi foreign ministry includes biometric of the applicants but he declined to disclose the time frame. Biometric registration of visa applicants at VFS Tasheel Centres will help reduce waiting time at the Saudi border especially at the peak of Hajj and Umrah seasons.

"The new visa centres are packed with more conveniences and comes with a large number of service counters, a large reception area, premium lounges, and an artisan café; all to enhance the experience and add value to the processing of visa applications. The centre will be open for extended hours speeding up the visa procedures for entry permits to the kingdom," said Zubin Karkaria, Director of VFS Tasheel.

Saudi Arabia's Ambassador to UAE Osama bin Ahmad Al Sanousi Ahmed opened the visa service centres.

© Emirates 24|7 2013


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