Desk Report, 22 January:
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today launched the much-awaited electronic passport (e-passport) along with the automated border control management programme, saying that it (e-passport) is a gift for the nation in the “Mujib Barsho”.
“We’re handing over the e-passport to the people of the country in ‘Mujib Barsho’, the special year, coinciding the birth centenary celebration of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman,” she told the inaugural function of the e-passport and automated border control management programme at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre here this morning. BSS
The premier added: “I do believe that e-passport and automated border control management will undoubtedly brighten Bangladesh’s image in the digital world.”
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal chaired the function, while German Ambassador in Dhaka Peter Fahrenholtz was present at the function as the special guest.
Director General of Department of Immigration and Passport (DIP) Major General Shakil Ahmed delivered the welcome address, while Project Director of the e-passport Project Brigadier General Saidur Rahman Khan gave an overview about different aspects of the project.
Later, the home minister formally handed over the prime minister’s e-passport to her.
“Launching of e-passport will enhance the acceptability of Bangladeshi passports abroad and ensure advanced security making immigration process easier,” the home minister told a press conference on Sunday.
The minister said renowned German company Veridos GmbH has been implementing the e-passport and automated border control management project.
The validity of e-passport will be five and ten years.
Asaduzzaman said after the inauguration, initially the Department of Immigration of Passports (DIP) will distribute e-passport from Agargaon, Jatrabari and Uttara passport offices.
He hoped the e-passport will be introduced all over the country by 2020.
President M Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at first will get e-passports, he said, adding that every day 25,000 passport can be issued.
According to the press conference, the fee for 48-page and five-year validity passport is fixed as Taka 3,500 for general application, Taka 5,500 urgent, Taka 7,500 for very urgent and for 10 years validity, the fee is fixed as Taka 5000 for general, 7000 for urgent and 9000 for very urgent.
For new passport, it will take three days for passport delivery on very urgent application, seven days for urgent and 21 days for general while for reissuance, it will take two days for very urgent application, three days for urgent and seven days for general.
Besides, separate fees have been fixed in Bangladesh missions abroad for general applicants, workers and students.
For general application for 48-page five year validity passport, the fee will be $100 and urgent fee $ 150. For 10 years validity, the fee will be $125 and urgent fee $ 175.
According to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), there are more than 100 states and non-state entities (i.e. United Nations) currently issuing e-Passports, and over 490 million e-Passports are in circulation.
The e-passports add a layer of security to traditional non-electronic passports by embedding an electronic chip in the passport booklet that stores the biographical information visible on page 2 of the passport, as well as a digital security feature.
The digital security feature is a country specific “digital signature.” These digital signatures are unique to each country and can be verified using their respective certificates.
According to the project details, the project “Introduction of Bangladesh e-Passport and Automated Border Control Management” is being implemented at a cost of Taka 4,569 crore.
With issuing the e-passport the whole process of the immigration formalities will be completed through online.
It said two million e-passports will be made in Germany. As a result, the passports of those who apply first will be made from Germany. Validity of e-passport will be for five and 10 years.
The DIP and Germany Veridos signed an agreement on July 19 in 2018 for electronic passports alongside machine-readable ones.