For the Love of Paperwork – Part Two

July 31, 2011

Posted by Kanga.

sign for Babil typing service

There is such a deep love of paperwork here in the U.A.E. that there is an entire typing service industry to support it.

After spending all morning in the Emirates Identity Authority office attempting to get my national identity card renewed as a step in the process of getting a new residency visa and having the computer system crash twice, we went off to a typing center to get it done. These are stuffy little offices where you can get just about any form typed up for you. Official documents must be done in Arabic, so this is a vital service for those not literate in Arabic.

Our visa process has turned into a long, drawn out nightmare. If you are ever given the choice between a visa cancellation and a visa transfer, TAKE THE CANCELLATION! I cannot stress this enough. It is the ultimate exercise in pointless paperwork. It has already taken 7 weeks and we have at least another week to go, if we encounter no more obstacles. A visa transfer can potentially leave you homeless and broke. Don’t do it.

National identity cards were instituted about one year after we arrived. They are tied to your visa in that they expire at the same time. The new decree is that you can’t renew your visa without having an id card. Apparently, this is to force everyone to comply in getting the id cards. However, it creates a catch-22 in which you have to have a visa to get an id card and you have to have an id card in order to have a visa. We ran into that today as the EID typist kept insisting that she needed my new visa to finish the id application and we were making the id application so that we could apply for the new visa. No one sees the illogic in this situation.

Also illogical is the fact that the EID experience started with the reception personnel using my existing id card to pull up my information on the computer and print it out. We were then to take this printout to the typist, so that she could enter the information into the computer system. Yes, the information already in their system had to be hand entered back in. Who programmed this computer system????? Who designed this workflow????

Oh, for the love of paperwork…



  1. Just curios, does your new work assist in this process? If they want you I’d assume they would help, but we know about assuming!

  2. how totally pointless it seems..kinda reminds me of that scene in the movie Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy…dont’ recall if that scene is in t he book, but I guess paper trails exist EVERYWHERE!

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