US embassy's clarification
The US embassy has contradicted a report of The Daily Star published yesterday and said the United States is not requiring Bangladeshi nationals to have machine-readable passports in order to be admitted to the United states after October 2004.
"According to these reports, a US State Department official furnished this information at a briefing in Los Angeles. In fact, the State Department official stated that nationals of countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), mainly Western European countries, who do not require a visa to enter the US must have machine-readable passports that include biometric indicators to enter the US after October 26, 2004. Nationals of countries such as Bangladesh, who are required to obtain a visa to enter the United States, will be issued a visa containing biometric data. These changes are being made in accordance with recent US laws that require temporary foreign visitors to present documentation containing biometric identifiers to enter the United States after October 26, 2004. The United States encourages the government of Bangladesh to improve the security of its travel documents," the US embassy said.
Our Reply: The Daily Star news was based on a briefing summary sent to different government offices in Dhaka including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from the office of the Consulate General of Bangladesh in Los Angeles.
The consul general of the Bangladesh mission in Los Angeles attended the briefing session on May 16, 2003.
In his briefing summary the consulate general mentioned that from October 6, 2004 only machine-readable biometric passports will be acceptable to the US authority. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, after receiving the summary, informed the Ministry of Home on May 24, 2003 to take necessary actions.