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30 December, 2019 01:53:48 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 30 December, 2019 02:20:48 PM
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E-passports from January 22

PM Hasina to inaugurate the much-awaited project
DEEPAK ACHARJEE, Dhaka
E-passports from January 22

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will launch the e-passport project on January 22 next year. After the launch of e-passports, the Department of Immigration and Passports (DIP) will start enrolment of digital travel devices for applicants on a limited scale from Dhaka’s Agargaon office, said sources in the Security

Service Division of the home ministry and the DIP.

The sources said the e-passport scheme would be launched at a time when the crisis of machine readable passports (MRPs) has deepened, with some 5,00,000 MRPs pending till date. The sources said the DIP cannot print the requisite number of MRPs on a daily basis because of the paucity of passport booklets. Maj. Gen. Shakil Ahmed, director-general (DG) of DIP, has told The Independent that they are making preparations to launch the e-passports on January 22 next year.

“After the inauguration of the e-passport project by the Premier, we will start enrolment on a limited scale through our Dhaka region office and then we will gradually start in the districts,” he said.

“We’ll be able to start the enrolment through all our offices and all Bangladesh missions abroad within two years,” he added. “We’ll also provide MRPs to passport-seekers at the same time,” the DG of the DIP said.

Admitting that as many as 5,00,000 applications were pending, Maj. Gen. Ahmed said his department is supplying the required MRPs to passport seekers as per its capacity. Maj. Gen. Ahmed added that they had given orders to purchase two million MRP booklets from a British passport firm under the direct procurement method (DPM) and the booklets would reach the country in the first week of February next year.

Sources said at least 22,000 to 25,000 applications are submitted at the passport offices at home and abroad every day, but the DIP is capable of printing a maximum of 15,000 booklets per day. That is why at least 5,00,000 applications are pending before the passport offices across the country. Old applications pending for more than three months are creating frustration among the applicants, the sources added.

A large number of people intending to travel abroad for employment or for medical treatment are facing serious inconveniences because of the delay in getting passports. New passport seekers are thronging various passport offices everyday in the districts and regional offices, even in the capital, to get their passports. However, they are clueless as to when they would get the passports, the sources disclosed.

Meanwhile, the DIP will issue three categories of e-passports—normal, emergency and very emergency passports—with a validity of five to 10 years. Children below 18 years and senior citizens who are above 65 will get five-year validity passports.

An adult will get passports with 10-year validity. The DIP will issue 48-page and 64-page passports with a validity of five and 10 years as per the requirement of the applicants. An applicant has to pay Tk. 3,500 for a normal 48-page passport with five-year validity and Tk. 5,500 for emergency and Tk. 7,500 for very emergency passport.

If anyone seeks 10-year validity passport with 48 pages, he or she has to pay Tk. 5,000 for normal passport, Tk. 7,000 for emergency and Tk. 9,000 for very emergency passport. The applicant seeking a 64-page and five-year validity passport, he or she has to pay Tk. 5,500 for a normal passport, Tk. 7,500 for an emergency and Tk. 10,500 for a very emergency passport.

Applicants seeking passports with 10-year validity have to pay Tk. 7,000 for a normal passport, Tk. 9,000 for emergency and Tk. 12,000 for very emergency passport, as per the recommendations by the home ministry’s committee.

Sources said a maximum of 2,000 applications would be allowed for enrolment everyday only in the offices in Dhaka. The enrolment of e-passports would start gradually in all the district offices. The DIP will need two years to issue e-passports from all its offices at home and the Bangladesh missions abroad.

Veridos GmbH, a German company, is working on the e-passport project in Bangladesh. The German company will set up necessary equipment at all Bangladeshi missions abroad and all passport offices in the country. The project, titled ‘Introduction of e-Passport and Automated Border Control Management in Bangladesh’, will cost Tk. 4,569 crore. Under the project, three crore e-passports will be issued and distributed among the current passport holders in the country.

At least 122 countries have already introduced e-passports and 71 countries are currently using MRPs.

IK

 

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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