Passport and Immigration Department are not printing and processing new passports due to coronavirus pandemic for which passport seekers are in grave concern who are willing to visit abroad for various purpose especially education and job, sources said.
According to officials, most of them were unable to take pictures and fingerprints after receiving new passport applications. Again, those whose pictures and fingerprints were taken were not verified by the police. Due to these reasons, the work of making passport is stuck. That is why millions of applicants have to wait for new passports.
Since the inception of Corona, applications have been accepted for re-issuance, especially for lost passports, expiration and correction of errors, but there has been a slowdown in the production and distribution of passports. Apart from this, e-passport has been introduced but it is also closed due to corona. Even those who applied for e-passport before Corona did not get it. They are also waiting.
According to him, about two and a half lakh passport applications have been submitted in the country since the corona infection started in March last year. However, during the general holiday (March 26 to May 30), expatriate workers have been issued passports on an emergency basis as per the recommendations of the Bangladesh embassies outside the country in compliance with the health rules.
According to them, people do not travel abroad as the air traffic of Bangladesh with different countries was stopped. That is why there is no rush to get a passport. However, new passports are being issued on the basis of police reports for applications received for new passports before March 23. Again, the applications of Bangladeshi nationals living abroad that have come to the department through various embassies, the passports are being printed in a limited format.
Asked about this, Deputy Director of Passport and Planning Branch of the Passport Office Md Shahadat Hossain told Business Mirror on Monday that since the inception of Corona, e-passport, MRP passport application has not been accepted, prepared and distributed. Currently, only passport renewal is underway. He did not say when new passports would be issued and new applications would be accepted, but said that full-fledged activities could begin this month.
There are two types of passports in the country. The machine readable passport, also known as MRP, was introduced in 2010. Electronic passport or e-passport started from January 22 this year.
Due to the risk of corona infection, the Immigration and Passport Department has stopped accepting and distributing new passport applications from March 23. Since then, no one has been given e-passport and MRP. Passport department officials said about 20,000 passport books were printed in the past.