Documents and passport photo's: survival guide.

There is a tag line that I saw at the bottom of a post on a forum site that reads something like :

"Leap...And the net will appear!!! (In AD however you may need 10 signatures, 5 photo's and 6 Stamps:)"

I like it - because it's kinda true, but taken with a tongue in cheek attitude, and that attitude being the important bit.

Us showing up with the right documentation, and a preparedness to wait and to listen to what we were being told has meant a huge reduction in frustration levels experienced by others.

As mentioned previously - this blog was not intended to be definitive - but this I can tell you for sure:

Arrive with the the right stuff be polite and direct AND make sure you understand what is being told to you rather than trying to overlay an interpretation that involves what you are expecting. Do this and all things will run relatively smoothly. You'll get extra assistance and people will be more likely to offer help on your return (if you need to return at all). Your blood pressure won't suffer, and the experience will be enjoyable...Well, let's not paint it up too much - but as enjoyable as paperwork can be.

Show up and get crappy with the person behind the desk because "I don't have the right documents, I wasn't told to bring that, whatdyamean I need another photo, I'm sick of this... blah, blah, blah blah" will get the reply that is most suited to your attitude - "Go away. Come back when you have the documents." Given at this point the client will have created a crap relationship, there is unlikely to be any extra assistance directed at them.

This aspect of any bureaucratic system of public governance is the same wherever there is a department with a waiting room, a ticket, and an announcement every 2 minutes or so that calls a number to a booth. Only here, if you act like a tool, you'll be treated like one.

The documents.
Before leaving your country get these documents attested (departments involved):
Copy of marriage licence - (DFAT & UAE Embassy)
Copy of birth certificates for children (DFAT & UAE Embassy)
Copy of relevant qualifications (Public Notary, DFAT & UAE Embassy)
The docs we need regularly (for almost everything) are:
Copy of the Visa page in our passports
Copy of the photo page in our passports
Passport photos.
More attesting fun.
Thought that all the attestation had been done did you? NOPE!
On arrival - for professional purposes you'll more than likely have to get your marriage licence and professional qualifications attested again, the Ministry OF Foreign Affairs is near the Airport Road Carrefour, and is open Sunday to Thursday 8am - 1pm only. Each document to be processed costs 100dhs, and for us it was an overnight thing - dropped it all off one day, paid the fee, got a ticket, then went back the next day and collected all the newly attested documents.

Either drive yourself to Carrefour Airport Road or jump in a cab and ask them to take you, drive into the car-park and park at the end furthest away from Carrefour and the Peugeot Dealership - the "Dubai" end if you will - park and cross the little road, and it's right there.

In Australia DFAT is the unfortunate sounding acronym for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Each country has a version of this, soooo best to find out what the process of attestation is and get to it. The earlier the better, even with an expedited process (extra dollars paid) it is still a 10 day process even if all goes to plan. The last thing that anyone wants to be doing is messing around with paperwork when you have a departure date looming.

After all the attesting, we found the easiest thing to do was to buy a display folder (a binder with plastic pocket inserts that you can stuff documents into) and put each document in a separate pocket, and divided the sections (man this sounds geeky.. but nonetheless) by having sheets of passport photo's, this kept all the documents available and really easy to put your hands on.

As soon as all the aforementioned attesting and processing etc was complete we made photo copies to go into the folder as well.

If you are thinking that this is indeed not that geeky and idea (all 2 of you out there) or you are willing to put aside your aversion to advice that sounds like it is coming from someone with a whole collection of pocket protectors, make sure you make enough copies - either here in Abu Dhabi (plenty of photocopying places) or before you get here.

We now have a little scanner/printer thing at home, we bought it really cheaply at LuLu hypermarket at Al Wahda mall, not that we need to copy much now that most things are done - but still it's handy to have.

Passport Photos.
You can never have too many of them - but it's easy to have too few.
They don't need to be professionally done, but they do need to be good quality and on photo paper.
You, can do them yourself, just make sure that you attempt to take a photo with all the standards that would apply to a passport.

White background
No shadows on the face or behind the subject (on wall)
Neutral facial expression.
Bobs your uncle.
Get a reasonable photo, then simply get someone to lay it out for you, I think we've got about 12 to a page, then save that file.
Print out a sheet or two on some photo paper with your home printer and you are done.
We just cut them out as we need them.
Easy huh?
I know it sounds a bit daunting, that's why you should start the process now. You can eat a bowling ball if you take small enough bites... so start chewing on THIS bowling ball sooner rather than later.

1 comment:

  1. In our country the passport pictures are taken by the Department of Foreign Affairs personnel themselves so that it will all be the same. The lines are too long and it will take you three hours to get your passport. That's why most of our passport faces look depressed.


Andrew Webber is a writer, living in Abu Dhabi with his wife, two cats and two dogs.

His first book "Erasure" was published in June 2012 and was followed in 2013 by the Prequel to Erasure, "Broken".

In 2016 Erasure was a prize winner in the Montegrappa Writing Prize - part of the Emirates Airlines Festival of Literature.

For more information click the "Erasure" book cover on the left side of this site, or simply go to www.athwebber.com

Thanks for visiting.