POST TIME: 20 January, 2020 00:00 00 AM
E-passport to be launched Jan 22
1500 applications to be enrolled per day at Dhaka initially

E-passport to be launched Jan 22

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is expected to inaugurate the e-passport and automated border control management programme on Wednesday morning at Bangabandhu International Conference Center (BICC) in the capital. Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal disclosed the information at a press conference held at the ministry’s conference room at the secretariat yesterday. He hoped that the authorities will be able to start full-fledged enrolment of e-passport though DIP offices across the country and Bangladesh missions abroad within 2020.

“We have already taken all necessary preparations to launch e-passport on January 22,” Kamal said. The minister claimed that Bangladesh as the first country in South Asia and 119th in the world is going to introduce e-passport.

The home minister said that anybody can fill up the

form online or download the PDF format and then submit it at DIP offices with required fees and fifteen per cent value added tax.

“After enrolment applicants are likely to get general passports within fifteen days, emergency passports in seven days and very emergency ones in two days” he informed.

“Police verification would be mandatory before issuing an e-passport and the verification process would be easier than the past and all of it will be done online,” the minister said.

The minister also added that the authorities have set up three e-gates at all three international airports in the country.

At the briefing, secretary of security service division of the home ministry Md. Shahiduzzaman said that all three categories of e-passports will have validity up to ten years. Children below 18 years and senior citizens above 65 will get passports with validity up to five years, he said.

“An applicant has to pay Tk. 3,500 for a normal 48-page passport while for an emergency passport the amount goes up to Tk. 5,500. The amount is Tk. 7,500 for very emergency once” he added.

Meanwhile, the Department of Immigration and Passports (DIP) has decided to enroll 1500 applications for e-passports per day against the demand of 20,000 through its three offices in the capital’s Agargaon, Uttara and Jatrabari after the programme is launched on January 22.

At present, 15,000 to 20,000 applications are submitted at the passport offices at home and abroad every.

“We will start e-passport enrolment with 500 applications each at the three offices of the DIP in the capital initially” Maj. Gen. Shakil Ahmed, director-general (DG) of DIP, told The Independent after a press conference at the home ministry yesterday.

“We will increase the number of enrolment gradually” he added saying that “we will continue issuing Machine Readable Passport (MRP) at the same time to match the demand.”

Veridos GmbH, a German company, is implementing the project in Bangladesh under which it will set up all necessary equipment at passport offices in the country and Bangladeshi missions abroad.

The project, titled ‘Introduction of e-Passport and Automated Border Control Management in Bangladesh’, will cost the government Tk. 4,569 crore.