Friday, January 7, 2011

Lost Passport in Dubai (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly)

Thanks to bil* for being my guardian, driver, spoke person and for having to go through all the troubles I've brought to their (him and sister) lives because of my carelessness. Also to mbl** for putting up with my grumpiness, for being my stress-absorber, and for not giving up on me esp. during my "bitchy" times.

The Good: 
Losing my passport have taught me a lot, i.e. don't carry around your passport  (police might catch you  and jailed you for not having any identification but it's better compared to losing your passport), and be extra-careful, mind everything and pay attention to the smallest details (taxi roof color, taxi side number, or get the receipt because no matter how much you memorized the taxi color or number, believe me, you will automatically lose your memory later, lol) .

The Bad: 
Sat night (25Dec2010) You can call all the taxi company and give all the details you remember, they will accommodate you and all but don't be so positive that they will give you feedback afterwards or send you SMS as they promised coz they won't. You won't hear anything from them unless you follow it up. 

According to Mr. Ali Alsaloom (again, shukran sir!), when I asked him via Twitter about my lost passport..
"No worries, report that asap to a near police station, and try to remember if u know the taxi colors that you were in and call the taxi company as I'm positive it will be in their founding dept. But its important u report it to the police as that where it will be reported from the taxi company. And later it will be reported to ur country embassy. God bless"

 The Ugly:
After being so positive that my passport will end up in a lost and found department of some taxi company.. I finally gave up and admit that I really need to stop hoping and start the inevitable replacement process.

Police Station
Tue morning (28Dec2010) — I went to the nearest police station. Approached the woman at the information counter. She gave me a piece of paper wherein everything was in Arabic except for a list of  the required documents and told me to go directly to Counter 3 (their queue ticket dispenser was not working).  At Counter 3, bil told the policeman I lost my passport then we showed him my passport copy, he typed something into his PC then stamped it and asked us to go some blahblah section (sorry I forgot because I was hoping  they had  found my passport), went there, showed my passport copy to the policeman, he asked us to wait, while waiting we were really hoping that my passport is with him. But then called us, took my passport copy, typed  something then said NO and wrote something in my passport copy then we returned to Counter 3. Unfortunately, Counter 3 was serving someone else already, so we were asked to sit and wait. After 10-15 minutes, the policeman called me  (yay! my time),we showed him my passport copy then he asked us to provide some documents, since I only have 1 passport photo (they need 2 copies) with me and I don't have bil's passport copy (he's my visa sponsor). We decided to go back next day to submit the documents because bil needed to go to work. We told the woman at the information that we'll come back tomorrow because we don't have all the required documents. She said "Okay, no problem. You can come tomorrow, or any day. No problem." LOL

Wed morning (29Dec2010) -- having all the requirements, we returned to the police station, we went directly to Counter 3 (queue ticket dispenser is still not working), submitted the documents to him, he filled up 1-page form (it was in Arabic so I don't know what was it) while his colleague (police#2) was laughing while reading bil's name then saying "what kind of name is that?".  We all laughed anyway. After that,  he then started encoding my details using 1 finger that took him more than half an hour due to phone call and his colleagues were disturbing/asking him for something I don't know (they were talking in Arabic).  He was apologetic by the way and offered me his tea. After printing the 1-page paper, he stamped and signed it, and called bil. We were told, in broken English, to go to three places (Dubai Immigration, Dubai Court and Dubai Prosecution), then policeman asked police#2 (the same colleague sitting beside him who was laughing at bil's name) to tell us what to do, he (police#2) told us to go to the 3 places (mentioned it in different order) and get my paper stamped. When bil asked which place should we go first, the reply was "ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME? (I think he's cocky coz his English is good compared to other police guys there) Go to ... (he repeated the 3 places in different order again)." Then told me "tell your (pointing to bil in which I replied "brother in law" to complete his sentence)... tell him where to go, and then come back here, ok?"

So okay to save us from another "humiliation", I googled "lost passport in dubai" and found this from 
"If you are a visitor and you have lost something, just go to the nearest police station. Depending on the item, they will either re-direct you to the police headquarters or investigate directly from their police station. It is important that you notify the police, so that the details of your documents can be entered into official databases to prevent misuse and further loss, if any." Read the requirements and procedures here.
We stalled again for 3 more days, we were STILL hoping that someone would call for my passport so no need to go to through the pains..

half of the Immigration sticker (130dhs)
Sun morning (2Jan2011) — At the information counter, main entrance of Department of Naturalisation and Residency Dubai (DNRD) or the Immigration Department, we were told to go to Section 15, straight then right, outside. We reached another information, he said Section 15, outside. At Section 15 (external bldg of the Immigration) Information guy told me to go to Ladies section, there I found 2 ladies chatting, showed them my paper, and I was asked to make a full set copy of my paper. Went out and had it photocopied, went back to the Ladies section. Again, the lady there said you go to the "Bank" counter and pay AED 130 (US$ 35). It shocked me, they didn't mention it on the website. Anyway, at the "Bank" counter, the Egyptian (I think) guy was busy telling some story to his Emirati colleagues.. "blah blah blah ... so he said, I know your boss. I told him, okay go to him. But if I see the boss I will run. hahaha... blahblah".  I waited for him to finish his story so he can accept my 130 dirhams.  He looked so annoyed accepting my payment. So I went back to the "Ladies" section to the same Emirati woman who asked me to pay the fee, I handed her out my paper and the "sticker" the "Bank" guy gave me. Unfortunately one local guy (a colleague) came and sit beside her. She then got preoccupied with him, they were whispering in Arabic while she keep on fixing her shayla and touching/cleaning her undereye. Again, I need to wait (ugh... if I hadn't lost my passport..). Finally after 10-15minutes, they were done, alhamdullilah. She typed something and asked me "you come visit?". I said, yes madam. Then she put the sticker on the paper, stamped and signed and said "Okay you go back to same place.. to Court."

Again we needed to do it the next day as bil had to go to work

Courts' queuing ticket
Mon morning (3Jan2010) — Parking in front of the Dubai Court was difficult, we were lucky as bil's car was dirty and so the "carwash-boy" helped us to get one good parking. It was my second time to get inside the Dubai Court bldg. (don't worry, I never got involved into some criminal case before, it just that my sister and bil got married there in Sharia Court last September 2004), and it looks different, there were a lot of people or maybe we used a different entrance before. So anyway at the information, I told the lady there "lost my passport" and she gave me a queuing ticket number, no "Ladies" section there. Went straight to the toilet (it was cold so I had to do what I supposed to do, lol) downstairs. Then went back to the information to check if I really need to wait that long, found a Filipino guy who works there, asked him and he ushered me to Immigration room downstairs. I waited for my turn, Immigration guy "yes madam". I told him I lost my passport I want to know the procedure, showed my paper. He said, "Go back to the front upstairs, straight right, you already have gone to the Immigration, no need for another Immigration here." So went back and waited  for my number to be called, glad they're working faster here (except for their other colleagues who only comes to their counter to chitchat and disturb working people, grrrrrr!). The lawyer (at the counter) just asked me, "you lost your passport?" Me, yes sir, last 25th Dec in the taxi.. Christmas (I know it's not necessary to emphasize that it was Christmas, I just dunno what to say, lol). He laughed. Typed something, stamped my paper, signed and said "go to next building" which is the prosecution building. I thanked him and he said "welcome" with smile. I hope government people works fast  and nice like him. So anyway, at the next building..

Prosecution's queuing ticket
Told the Information counter, lost passport, guy gave me a queuing ticket number and asked me to proceed to the left side.  (Sorry, no ladies section here too.) The pain of waiting. People here work the slowest, I think. After a decade of waiting, a guy in khandoura took my paper from bil's hands and another paper from the guy in front of me and brought it to the counter and said something in Arabic to the guy (he must be the boss). Guy immediately stamped and signed my paper. (Thank you sir, whoever you are!). Bil asked what's next, they told us to go back to the police station.

It was the longest day and I had consumed bil's half-day of work.

Police Station
Police station queuing ticket
Tue morning (4Jan2010) — I thought it was going to be faster but turned out not. The queuing ticket dispenser was working so I couldn't go directly to the counter and no "Ladies" section also, only Ladies waiting room. Anyway, after centuries of waiting, finally, my number... young police guy (beside Counter 3) had his brows crossed after seeing my papers (I think he doesn't know what to do) then approached Counter 3 policeman (same guy) in Arabic and passed my papers to him. When I was going to stand up to go and wait for my turn at Counter 3 as he was assisting someone else, young police guy said, "No, no madam, pls sit." then he left his post... smart move, LOL.  Then my turn (real turn), Counter 3 policeman did some typing and said "Madam, 20 dirhams (US$ 5).  Then printed something, attached my pic to it then stamped and signed. While he was giving it to me he said, "go consulate". I asked if that was the "police report". He said "yeah go consulate". {Holding the police report, I felt like balloons and confetti were falling down like rain on me while everyone shouting "2alf mabrook" to me!} LOL
Police report (20dhs)

It's in Arabic, when I showed it to mbl he laughed. He translated it to me, bil's name was written in a funny way and mine was in a wrong way too. (Yeah despite of the passport copy, the policeguy typed it based on how it was pronounced.)  Mbl said the police report was like saying "an Indian guy with a funny name has lost a Filipina passport" So, anyway, I've sent it to some translation office to get it translated to English, of course, as it's one of the consulate's requirements to replace my passport. I'll get the English translation Sat. morning and I'm going to PH consulate Sun. morning and that would be another story.

* bil — brother-in-law
** mbl — my baby love