Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Friendly efficient government service

That heading related to dealing with government departments anywhere in the world sounds like an oxymoron.

But it's what I've experienced this very morning.

In Dubai.


I had a message on my mobile the other day reminding me that my e-gate card needed renewing.

Thumbs up for that.

This morning I went to the DNATA building on Sheikh Zayed Road to renew it, expecting to be gone some time.

No queue so I was beckoned immediately to the desk by a friendly smiling Emirati lady. I gave her my existing e-gate card and passport. She did a few seconds on the computer, asked me to read the screen to check that my name was correct, asked if I'd like a new photo (I declined), then she printed a document and gave me clear instructions of where to take it to pay.

I went downstairs, paid the money, went back to the e-gate section and handed over my receipt.

The lady handed me my passport and new e-gate card, I said "shukrun" she smiled and said "goodbye".

It didn't take much longer than it's taken me to type this.

Another thumbs up.

And by the way, if you live here and you don't have an e-gate card, do go and get one.

You avoid the queues at airport immigration and get in and out instantly.

You simply go to the e-gates, tap your card to open the entry gate, put your index finger on the pad for it to read your fingerprint, the exit gate opens and that's it, you're through.


Mohad said...

I agree. When I moved from Canada to Dubai, I was surprised by the speed by which I could get a license converted. Earlier, this month I was also quite surprised by the effectiveness of DEWA. After finishing all formalities with my broker, went to DEWA website to fill in few details, clicked on submit, paid online and in less than half hour my electricity and water was up and running. Applying a visit visa for a friend takes less than an hour. I have to agree, we do have a great Government here, but unfortunately, a lot of people take pleasure in spreading negativity. Who is perfect after all... But if you weigh, there is more positive to talk about Dubai Govt. Keep up the good job.

Umar in Dubai said...

doesnt Emirates ID Card also serve as e-gate? Or you have to carry both until they update their system?

Mohammad said...

The only problem I foresee with E gate cards is that they dont leave an entry/exit stamp on your passport; something I have been asked for maybe once or twice so far in the last 15 years...

Bush Mechanic said...

The ID card is only an e-gate card if you pay extra.

Dave said...

I can agree with you Seabee. I obtained an e-gate card for my wife at the same location several months ago and had a pleasant experience of about 15 minutes maximum. I was even impressed the way they had opened up a separate pilgrimage visa office next door so as to separate this function from the e-gaters.

Whilst not meaning to sound too negative though, for every good experience I have had with the Govt departments here I seem to have 3 or 4 bad ones.

ZeTallGerman said...

"for every good experience I have had with the Govt departments here I seem to have 3 or 4 bad ones." Right on, Dave. Service and efficiency does seem to be improving (gosh, some government employees are indeed smiling nowadays!) but it's not yet the norm.
Seabee, I think I'll apply for the E-gate card as part of my Emirates ID Card (yes, THAT'S a government serivce experience that has me shaking in my sandals in anticipation...) we've heard of the chaos, the good the bad and the downright ugly experiences. So I'm keeping my fingers crossed my appointment is still valid and that I won't kill anyone in the process.

Media Junkie said...

I've had my bad moments when dealing with the government, but I've had relatively good luck so far.

I guess the best way to go about things is to plan for the worst, but hope for the best.

Tags said...

Guys - you can actually hand over your Emirates ID card to the same lady at the egate desk in the dnata building on Sh Z Rd and she will transfer your egate membership onto that instead. It took no longer to do than the usual method!

Good stuff!

P.S. I haven't actually used my Emirates ID card to go through the egate yet, so fingers crossed!

Ace said...

So far, I have been pleasantly surprised in my dealings with getting official things done with the Abu Dhabi governmental offices.

Much more civilized, stress-free and polite compared to the zoos I was used to in the U.S.

Christopher Saul said...

The eGate card's fantastic, both in terms of what it provides and the processes you go through to get it!

Absolutely brilliant.

Mo_bay said...

For those with kids e-gate is no use. Kids can't get e gate,certain age limits apply. So for those who travel single, enjoy!!