Symbol speeds UAE visas

Visa applications for UAE nationals are being streamlined through the deployment of web based and barcode solutions from Symbol and local partner DCS

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By  Mark Sutton Published  December 5, 2000

The UAE Department of Naturalisation and Residency has launched a new initiative to streamline visa applications by UAE citizens. The new system, which was installed by Data Capture Systems, Symbol Technologies UAE business partner, uses a mixture of web technology and 2D barcoding to drastically cut the amount of time it takes to apply for tourist, work or residency visas.

The system was deployed as part of the UAE’s drive to e-government. Under the new system, travel agents, companies or individuals can go to the Department of Naturalisation and Residency’s website, and complete a visa application online.

All the information that is entered on the form is also encrypted and stored in a two-dimensional (2D) barcode, that holds up to 2Kb of information. The applicant can then print off the form, complete with barcode, then sign it and send it to the department along with any other necessary documentation.

When the department receives the form, immigration officers can simply scan the barcode to download the data to the central system, eliminating any data entry errors. This data is then cross-checked against the online data, and the supporting material. It is now possible to process a tourist visa application within a day rather than two. With up to 3,000 visa applications per day at peak times, the system has proven invaluable to the department.

“This new system has radically reduced the amount of time taken to process applications,” Major Rashid Bakhit al Jumairi, chief of the Entry Permit Section explained. “The staff of eight has been reduced to four, and from a two-day turnaround, we can now process an application for a tourist visa on the same day. We have improved the efficiency of our processes through using the Internet and barcode technology, reducing costs and improving our responsiveness to our customers: the people of the UAE.”

Symbol and the Department of Naturalisation and Residency have a long history of working together. In 1996 Symbol and DCS provided the barcode scanning system for all UAE ports and airports that are used to check entry visas for the UAE. The new system has been undergoing development by the department, with assistance from Symbol and DCS, since 1998.

“We feel very comfortable working with Symbol and DCS, because of their professionalism, support and technical expertise,” said Major Khalid Lootah, head of technology at the Department of Naturalisation and Residency. “The new system w ehave implemented makes it very much faster and simpler for the citizens of the UAE to apply for any type of visa – tourist, residence, work — and we have eliminated much of the delay that clerical error can cause. The technology is easy to work with, and easy to integrate with other computer systems — and it is also extremely reliable, which is critical for an operation such as ours.”

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