Bangladesh has achieved several key milestones in its nationwide transition to next-generation electronic passports in 2020. Despite the adverse circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic, the People’s Republic was able to decisively advance the modernization project together with its German technology partner Veridos. The company has also supported the country to make all necessary preparations to further deepen the local supply chain for ePassports in 2021.
In 2020, Veridos equipped all 70 regional passport offices in Bangladesh with the necessary IT resources for providing modern ePassports. Workstations with biometric enrollment equipment enable staff at all passport offices to collect the necessary data from citizens, including fingerprints, iris scans and color photos. Since January 2020, citizens can schedule online appointments for enrollment, which allows them to avoid long wait times. Already more than half a million citizens have applied for ePassports via the online portal. This eGovernment service supports Prime Minister Hasina Wajed’s declared goal of a “Digital Bangladesh.”
The production and personalization center for the new ePassports in the capital, Dhaka, was fully completed in 2020. It contains a state-of-the-art data center and is equipped with modern personalization machines. Its capacity amounts to 25,000 ePassports per day. Veridos also provided 15 eGates to airports in Bangladesh, which are the country’s first ever eGates. In 2021, the company will install 35 additional eGates.
In 750 training sessions at its training center in Bangladesh, as well as through numerous on-the-job training programs and video tutorials, Veridos has prepared local employees to operate the systems for the new ePassports. 50 employees are also being instructed to provide operational support for these systems in the future.
Plans for the current year include the equipping of authorities in Bangladesh with mobile enrollment kits. These special kits including notebooks and devices for capturing biometric information will enable authorities to capture the data of citizens in rural areas. Veridos will also put a production line for book-binding of the ePassports into operation.
“Having the support of our partner Veridos has helped us to achieve our ambitious timelines,“ says Brigadier General Saidur Rahman Khan, project director at Department of Immigration and Passport. “We are delighted to be offering our citizens not only one of the most modern and secure ePassports in the world, but also to make the application process as fast and user-friendly as possible. On average, 7,500 citizens enroll their biometric information every day, and this is just the start. We are looking forward to continuing the implementation of the professional project together with Veridos and deepening the trustful collaboration with our valued partner.“
“We are delighted to successfully move our joint mega-project with Bangladesh forward despite the Covid-19 pandemic,“ says Andreas Räschmeier, CEO of Veridos. “The country’s new ePassports make international mobility easier for citizens. This will especially benefit the millions of Bangladeshis who work abroad, as they will be able to travel more smoothly and obtain the necessary visas faster. Furthermore, we continue to create local qualified jobs and to foster knowledge sharing – by the end of the project we will have easily delivered more than 1000 training sessions.“