Delay again in e-passport issuance

Preparations to issue e-passports (electronic passport) have not been completed as yet with the authority concerned fearing it may not be able to introduce the e-passport by the end of next month. 

According to the Department of Immigration and Passports (DIP) information, it was learned that the authority is now adding necessary information of National Identity Card (NID) and Birth Identity Card (BID) into the server.

To make the newly-upgraded system perfect it will take a little more time, the information showed.

DIP Director General Major General Sakil Ahmed in this regard said, e-passports are expected to be launched by December this year, but there is some doubt as we are yet to complete the final stage work.

“If we want to convert MRP passport to e-passport, we must have to transfer all the information accurately to the new server. These technical works will take extra time,” said the director-general.

 Passport officials said they are working relentlessly to update the server assuming December as the deadline. But they cannot exactly say how much time it will take to go for e-passport activity.

Home Ministry information showed that the government took initiative to introduce an electronic passport system back in 2016, to ensure safe travel and safeguard international travel.

According to the Immigration and Passports Department, 50 e-gates will be installed in Dhaka, Sylhet, and Chattogram international airports and Benapole and Banglabandha land ports. Once the e-passport is launched, the immigration process will be easier for the people. The e-gate will be open automatically for the people having verified and valid information.

E-passports, also known as a biometric passport or digital passport, have embedded electronic microprocessor chips which contain biometric information used to authenticate the identity of the passport holders. 

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in April 2016 had directed the authority concerned to take necessary steps to introduce e-passport. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was also signed with German firm Veridos GmbH during the PM's visit to Germany in February 2017.