Electronic or e-passport distribution will start on a limited scale in July this year. Digital passports with the validity of 10 years will be available for mass distribution in two years.
According to the DIP, an e-passport has an embedded electronic microprocessor chip which contains biometric information to verify the bearer’s identity. The e-passport will have 38 types of security features.
The data now available in the machine readable passport (MRP) database will be transferred to an e-passport.
After approval of the ‘Introduction of e-passport and Automated Border Control Management in Bangladesh’ law last June, the DIP started work in July 2018.
According to DIP officials, e-passports will primarily be issued from Dhaka office. At the same time, MRP distribution will continue from other regional offices until they start issuing e-passports. Existing MRPs will be accepted until their expiration.
The process to install e-gates has already begun at airports and land ports across the country to facilitate the use of e-passports.
German firm Veridos got the job of preparing some 20 million e-passports and rendering other services to Bangladesh at US$400 million (Tk 3,339 crore).