No e-passports for those with validity over 6 months

Shafiqul Islam
Published : 09:30, Jan 26, 2020 | Updated : 09:35, Jan 26, 2020

E-passport. Photo/Department of Immigration and Passports (DIP)Bangladesh stepped into the era of e-passports with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina being handed the first one on Wednesday (Jan 22).
The government will eventually stop issuing Machine Readable Passports but those that still have validity of over six months will not yet be issued e-passports. They will have to use MRP during renewal after their validity expires.
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal handed Hasina the first ever e-passport issued in her name. A passport has also been issued in the president’s name.
The home ministry’s Security Service Division Secretary Md Shahiduzzaman said that at the moment e-passports were only being issued out of Dhaka’s Agargaon, Uttara and Jatrabari regional offices.
The 72 regional and divisional offices as well the 82 Bangladeshi missions will gradually issue the passports, he added.
He said that the process is likely to be completed by Dec 31 this year and attributed the delay to lack of manpower and technical ability.
“Currently we are accepting applications from citizens who need to renew their MRPs,” he said.
According to home ministry sources, 50 ‘e-gates’ will be placed in the land, sea and airports across the country.
E-gates use facial recognition technology to compare the face to the photograph recorded on the 'chip' in a passport.
Once the check is made successfully, the gate opens automatically for the passport holder to walk through.
Initially, e-passports can be used through the ‘e-gates’ installed in Hazrat Shahjalal Airport in Dhaka.
According to the passport authorities, the fee for 48-page and five-year validity passport is fixed at Taka 3,500 for general application, Taka 5,500 for urgent, Taka 7,500 for very urgent and for 10 years validity, the fee is fixed at Taka 5,000 for general, 7,000 for urgent and 9,000 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 applications.
Besides, separate fees have been fixed in Bangladesh missions abroad for general applicants, workers and students.
For general application for 48-page five years validity passport, the fee will be $100 and for urgent delivery, the fee will be $ 150. For 10 years of validity, the fee will be $125 for the general application while fee $ 175 for urgent delivery.
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 Tk 45.69 billion.
With issuing the e-Passport the whole process of the immigration formalities will be completed online.
The Department of Immigration and Passports (DIP) and Germany Veridos signed an agreement on July 19 in 2018 for electronic passports alongside machine-readable ones.