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 with the birth centenary celebration of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. It (e-passport) is a gift for the nation in the Mujib Barsho,” she told the inaugural function of the e-passport and automated border control management programme at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) in Dhaka this morning.
The premier added: “I do believe that e-passport and automated border control management will undoubtedly brighten Bangladesh’s image in the digital world.”
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 two 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. With issuing the e-passport the whole process of the immigration formalities will be completed through online.
Maj Gen Shakil Ahmed, Director General of the Department of Immigration and Passports (DIP), said they would initially distribute e-passports from Agargaon, Jatrabari and Uttara offices.
E-passport will be rolled out later across the country in phases. German company Veridos GmbH has been working on e-passport and e-gate in the country.
The project, "Introduction of Bangladesh e-Passport and Automatic Border Control Management," is being implemented at a cost of Tk 4,569 crore. The DIP is implementing it with full government funding. Thirty million passports will be delivered in 10 years.
The fee for a 48-page and five-year validity passport is Tk 3,500 for normal application, Tk 5,500 for urgent and Tk 7,500 for very urgent application.
The fee for 10-year validity passport is Tk 5,000 for normal, Tk 7,000 for urgent and Tk 9,000 for very urgent application.
The fee for 68-page and five-year validity passport is Tk 5,500 for normal application, Tk 7,500 for urgent and Tk 10,500 for very urgent.
For a passport with 10-year validity, the fee is Tk 7,000 for normal, Tk 9,000 for urgent and Tk 12,000 for very urgent application.
Besides, separate fees have been fixed for general applicants, workers and students living abroad.
Meanwhile, an applicant abroad will have to pay US$100 and US$150 for 48-page passport with five-year validity under normal category and urgent category respectively.
In case of 10-year validity, the fees would be $125 and $175.
According to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), there are over 100 states and non-state entities (i.e. United Nations) currently issuing e-Passports, and over 490 million e-passports are in circulation.