Umrah service to resume in near future with limited domestic pilgrims

News Network
September 14, 2020

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Jeddah, Sept 14: The resumption of Umrah service will begin in the near future with only a limited number of domestic pilgrims being allowed to perform the ritual in the initial phase, Okaz/Saudi Gazette has learnt from informed sources.

The Ministry of Interior announced on Sunday partial lifting of travel restrictions from Sept. 15 and the total lifting of the restrictions effective from Jan. 1, 2021. The ministry stated that a plan to lift the suspension of Umrah service will be announced gradually in light of the developments related to the pandemic.

According to the sources, domestic pilgrims will be allowed to perform the pilgrimage provided they fulfill certain terms and conditions. It will be mandatory for the pilgrims to carry with them a medical certificate to show that they are tested negative for the coronavirus.

The opening of the door for Umrah will be made in line with the coronavirus precautionary measures and preventive protocols. The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah will announce soon the terms and conditions in this regard, the source pointed out.

The source confirmed that there will be a mobile application that specifies the date and time of performance of the pilgrimage by each pilgrim and that a permit to perform Umrah will be issued by the concerned authorities to those fulfilling the terms and conditions.

Deputy Minister of Hajj and Umrah for Hajj Affairs Dr. Hussein Al-Sharif confirmed to Okaz/Saudi Gazette earlier that the ministry will work to evaluate the experience of the exceptional success of the last Hajj. He said that the ministry will take advantage of this successful experience in implementing high-quality health and regulatory measures for the coming Umrah season.

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News Network
October 20,2020

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New Delhi, Oct 20: UAE Ambassador to India Ahmed Albanna had a telephonic conversation with Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat on Tuesday in which they discussed areas of defence cooperation between the two countries.

"HE @drahmedalbanna [Ahmed Albanna], UAE Ambassador to India had a telephone call with General Bipin Rawat, Chief of Defense Staff of India," the UAE Embassy said in a tweet.

"Both discussed defense cooperation areas between two countries and explored new partnership for joint defense production," the tweet read further.

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Gulf News
October 28,2020

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Dubai, Oct 28: Indian expats in the UAE and elsewhere can now provide their local address abroad to be added in their passports, Gulf News can reveal.

Siddhartha Kumar Baraily, consul, Passport and Attestation, at the Indian Consulate in Dubai said the Indian government had decided to allow its overseas citizens to add their local address in their country of residence mainly to aid those who do not have permanent or valid addresses in India.

“We understand that many people who have been staying for a long time in the UAE don’t have a valid address in India. They may add their local UAE address in their passports,” he said.

Change in address cannot be made in existing passports, the official clarified. Indian passport holders have to apply for a new passport in which the change in address can be made.

The facility can be availed by Indian expats living in both rented or self-owned accommodations. Those wishing to give their UAE address should provide certain documents as proof of residence at the time of applying for a new passport for changing the address from India to overseas.

Baraily said either the electricity and water bill [from Dewa/Sewa/Fewa] or rent agreement/title deed/tenancy contract will be accepted as proof of residence in the UAE. Changing their address may help applicants to get quick police verification from India at the time of passport renewal.

As first reported by Gulf News on Tuesday morning, police verification is now mandatory for the passport renewal of all Indian expats as per a change in the policy of India’s Ministry of External Affairs implemented since September.

However, the diplomat clarified that police verification of Indians abroad does not require verification of the address of the applicant. “This [police verification] is just to verify the identity of the applicants as Indian citizens and that there are no criminal cases registered against them since the time of the last police verification done on them,” he explained.

The mission is, however, encouraging Indians without a valid address to change their address, whether in India or locally.

Change of address in India

If applicants wish to change their address in India, any of the following documents may be accepted as proof of residence at the time of applying for a new passport for change in address:

i. Aadhaar Card/ e-Aadhaar/ Letter containing the unique Aadhaar number. [Aadhaar is India’s national identity card which has not become mandatory for Non-Resident Indians yet].

ii. Allotment letter of the government accommodation issued by the Estate Office/Public Works Department of the Central/State Government in respect of their employees

iii. Applicant’s current and valid ration card

iv. Driving licence

v. Duly certified/attested extract of the service record/book of the government employees (serving/retired) or the bona fide certificate issued by the employer in respect of serving Government employees

vi. Election Commission Photo ID card

vii. Electricity bill

viii. Employer Certificate on letterhead from reputed and widely-known companies

ix. Gas connection bill

x. Income Tax assessment order

xi. Marriage Certificate issued by the Registrar of Marriages along with address proof of spouse in respect of newly married women

xii. Parents’ passports and parents’ address proof in case of minors (if address is different)

xiii. Parents’ passports in case of minors (if address is the same)

xiv. Passport of son/ daughter in case of dependent parents (if address is the same)

xv. Passport of son/ daughter in case of dependent parents and address proof of son/ daughter (if address is different)

xvi. Photo Passbook of running Bank Account (Scheduled Public Sector Banks, Scheduled Private Sector Indian Banks and Regional Rural Banks only)

xvii. Proof of Address (POA) issued by the India Post, Department of Posts

xviii. Rent agreement

xix. Spouse’s passport copy (first and last page including family details mentioning applicant’s name as spouse of the passport holder provided the applicant’s present address matches the address mentioned in the spouse’s passport)

xx. Spouse’s passport copy (if address is different) with spouse’s address proof

xxi. Telephone (landline or post-paid mobile bill)

xxii. Water bill

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News Network
October 17,2020

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Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, met members of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, the organization working on constructing the first Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi, earlier this week.

Pavan Kapoor, the Ambassador of India, was also present at the meeting held in Al Alin.

During the meet, discussions were held on on global harmony, universal values and the historic BAPS Hindu Mandir upcoming in the UAE. In an Instagram post, BAPS wrote: “In these challenging times of the Covid Pandemic, such a project of global harmony will regenerate faith and hope, celebrating the unique friendship of India and the UAE and their dedication to progress and peace.”

Sheikh Abdullah also learned about the progress of the temple, whose foundation stone was laid in April last year.

On behalf of Mahant Swami Maharaj, a golden memento of the Mandir was gifted to Sheikh Abdullah.

The one-hour meeting, wrote BAPS, ”speaks volumes about The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, HRH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan's vision and commitment for a more inclusive, more peaceful and harmonious future.”

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