Paperwork DoneBy Seabee
My cancellation was easy - my sponsor did it. A bit more involved for Mrs Seabee's though, because I was her sponsor. And I'd had to pay a deposit of Dh10,000 when I arranged it, which I was keen to get back.
I actually started the process a few days ago when I went to the DNRD office in Bur Dubai, on Trade Centre Road. That's where I arranged it all in the beginning so I thought I'd go back there.
It was absolutely packed with people though, although much more orderly than the first visit because now they have the numbered ticket system. It's hardly rocket science, and it's existed in other countries for many years, but it's new here.
And what a huge improvement it is in government departments (and banks and other organisations). It replaces the chaos we always had of everyone pushing and shoving, waving papers and shouting to get the attention of someone behind the counter. Now you tell the ticket dispenser person what you're there for, he gives you a numbered ticket and tells you the counter number(s) to go to. You sit and wait for the machine to bleep and display your number, telling you which counter to go to.
Anyway, even with a more orderly crowd the size of it made me think I'd be there for most of the day. So I decided to drive down SZR and go to the smaller, less popular Jebel Ali DNRD office. It was as I'd expected, very unbusy.
Now anything you do at DNRD requires 'typing'. Generally you have no idea what's being typed, and it's in Arabic of course. But you have to have 'typing'.
I told the Information person I was there to cancel a visa. "First typing. Then any desk".
I told the typing department ticket issuer what I was there for, got my ticket and sat down. For an hour. The 'typing' took twenty minutes. Another fifteen minutes waiting at a DNRD desk until I was first in the queue (no ticket numbers for this bit, just sitting in order on the bench seat and shuffling along as the people ahead of me were dealt with).
The actual cancellation took about two minutes.
Then I took my Dh10,000 deposit receipt to the cashier desk.
I was told that as it was issued in Bur Dubai I had to get the refund from Bur Dubai.
Another of those inexplicable obstacles you run into here. It's all the same DNRD, one large government department, but you have to get the deposit refund from where you lodged it.
Back up SZR to Bur Dubai DNRD.
There seem to be just three desks for deposit refund paperwork and I was their only customer.
That's when I hit the next obstacle. As with just about anything official you have to do here, you don't know what you're supposed to do, you don't know what you have to bring with you and there's no way of finding out in advance. It's only when you try to do whatever it is that you're told what you should have brought with you and what the process is.
I didn't have all the bits of paper I needed, so I gave up and went to get some coffee.
I haven't been able to get there again until today and as it's the first day of Ramadan I wasn't too confident about it all.
In fact the office was almost deserted. Plenty of people behind desks but with no-one waiting to be served. No big queues at the ticket dispenser. I got my ticket, only waited about five minutes and then it was my turn.
"Go to typing to get letter, then come back".
Out to the Dickensian typing office.
Tiny, hot, crowded both sides of the counter. No numbered tickets here, and it's the east-west queue rather than the north-south queue. That is, a double line of people the length of the counter, pushing and shoving, waving papers, yelling in a variety of languages.
I joined in, told them I wanted a deposit refund letter, paid the oddly precise amount of Dh19 and waited while they photocopied everything and printed out an Arabic letter.
Back to the DNRD counter and five minutes later I had the authorised deposit receipt.
I asked where I had to take it and was told, "Outside bank".
I wandered outside and found a Commercial Bank of Dubai branch. Got my ticket, waited five minutes, signed and had to write my mobile phone number on various bits of paper, and had to pay Dh20 for something or other. I was eventually given ten crisp new Dh1,000 notes.
So it's done. All the paperwork's completed, the deposit's back where it belongs in my wallet.
We're booked to leave in a couple of weeks.
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