Distribution of e-passports (electronic passports) is set to start from January 22 as the authorities have completed their preparation.
“We are working to launch the e-passport on January 22,” Maj Gen Shakil Ahmed, director general of department of immigration and passports (DIP), told the BSS yesterday.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is expected to launch the e-passport at a programme to be held at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre on the day, said Shakil.
He said the DIP would initially distribute e-passports from its Agargaon, Jatrabari, and Uttara offices and later from its offices across the country.
German company Veridos GmbH has been working on the e-passport, he said, adding that efforts were underway to make the immigration process flawless.
According to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), there are more than 100 states and non-state entities (ie United Nations) currently issuing the e-passport, and over 490 million e-passports are in circulation.
The e-passport adds a layer of security to traditional non-electronic passport 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, the ICAO said.
The project “Introduction of Bangladesh e-Passport and Automated Border Control Management” is being implemented at a cost of Tk 4,569 crore.
The DIP is implementing the project from July 2018 to June 2028, with full government funding. Some 30 million passports will be delivered in 10 years.
The DIP said two million e-passports would be prepared in Germany. The passports of those who apply first will be prepared there.
The validity of the passports will be for five and 10 years.
The DIP and Veridos signed an agreement on July 19, 2018, for the electronic passports alongside machine-readable ones.