By Sikander Hayat
I needed to apply for a smart NICOP for my son and went to Pakistan Embassy with the required documents. You need to book an appointment before turning up at the embassy. The web address for booking the appointment is http://www.phclondon.org/appointments/ . The address for London embassy is 34-36 Lowndes Square, London SW1X 9JN . The nearest tube station is Knightsbridge. I had an appointment at 1500 hours and reached there with the appointment confirmation printout.
You need to have you the following docs with you if you are a British National
- You appointment printout
- Your original detailed birth certificate & photocopy
- British Passport & photocopy
- Pakistani passport of your parents and photocopy
- If your parents do not have the passport than their NICOP and photocopy
There are six steps to the process :
- You meet first team which confirms that you actually have an appointment and check that you have the required documents. They then issue you a token which you use to make the payment.
- The next step is to make the payment for your application. The guy who takes payments sits in the same room as the team mentioned above. You can pay by card or cash. You can pay for urgent application or normal. There is a little bit of fee difference between the two.
- Then you go back to the team in the first step and they enter your name in their queue system. Then you wait for your named to be called.
- When you are called, you go to the adjacent room and this is where your picture is taken and you give your biometrics/ signature.
- You wait again and then after some time you are called to sit with data entry officer who enters your details (address, your relationship with Pakistan e.t.c) in their database.
- You are given a completed form with your photo and other information to sign and that is it.
In my case, I chased them after nearly two months on NADRA London telephone helpline and I was told that they have lost the supporting documents and want me to come in again with the original plus photocopies. Now I have to take a day off work to take the original documents back to them. This is very incompetent behaviour as they can’t even complete a simple application. Most of the staff in the embassy are appointed not because of their skills but as reward by the political masters back in Pakistan. Let's see how this ends.
I would urge you to post your positive / negative experience at the Pakistan Embassies in UK and other parts of the world so that we can improve the process and help others who want to use these services.