ePassport: All you need to know
A few days back, the Directorate of Immigration and Passport, Major General Md Masud Rezwan signed a 10-year long contract with Veridos GmbH, a German company to provide E-Passport service and assistance in Bangladesh. The project, called “Introduction of E-Passport and Automatic Border Control System in Bangladesh”, should cost around 4,636 crores. It will be implemented by the Department of Immigration and Passports between July 2018 and June 2028. E-Passports are to replace Machine Readable Passports currently in circulation. During renewal, e-passports would gradually replace MRP. 20 lakh passports will be imported, while 2.80 crore passports will be manufactured in Bangladesh. Demographic information, fingerprints, a photo of the cornea and digital signature shall be collected, verified and stored in the server of central data centre and disaster recovery centre. Around 100 members of the Directorate of Immigration and Passport will be taken to Germany to receive training on delivering the services. Bangladesh is the 119th country to implement this system, with UK, USA, Australia, Canada, and Malaysia introducing it almost a decade ago. It is to be noted that there is currently 2 crore MRP passport holders in Bangladesh. This project comes as a result of MRP's inability to store fingerprints and track data, resulting in forgery. The size of the E-Passport shall remain the same as MRP, except the two pages with passport holder's details will be replaced by a polymer card embedded with a chip containing the holder's information. The passports shall be distributed through regional passport offices, embassies or high commissions.