Bangladesh launches e-visa system

National 2 minutes, 19 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

BRUNEIANS can now apply for a visa to Bangladesh online, and get the new machine-readable visa sticker stamped on their passport three days after submitting an application.

The Bangladesh High Commission in Brunei is currently testing the new machine-readable visa system that is expected to be fully up and running by next year.

“Previously all our visa processing was done by hand, but with the new computerised system, the visa will be printed and all data stored on computer database,” said BangladeshHigh Commission First Secretary Yeakub Ali.

However, Yeakub said the processing time for visa application remained at three days, but instead of a hand-written visa, applicants would have a printed visa sticker that is computer-readable.

At the same time, he added that all Bangladeshi passports will be upgraded to the computer-readable ones when they renew their passport next year.

With the new system, the applicants just need to go to the High Commission to apply for the passport. The application and digital picture of the applicant will be sent via Internet to the Department of Passport and Immigration headquarters in Dhaka for processing.

A delegation of seven from theBangladesh Ministry of Home Affairs and the Department of Passport and Immigration were there to help install the system at the High Commission.

“The processing time will take between a week or two and the passport will be couriered to the applicant back to the High Commission to be collected by the applicant,” he said.

Yeakub added that with the new system, the fee for passport is now reduced from $190 to $45 for each passport.

A civil engineering lecturer at Institut Teknologi Brunei, Dr Arm Muniruzzaman and wife, Raisa Akther were the first two applicants who applied their passports using the new computerised system yesterday.

Raisa, who also holds Australia permanent resident status, said she was happy and could not wait to own a computer-readable passport.

Also present to oversee the implementation of the computerised application was Bangladesh High Commissioner to Brunei Mohammed Abdul Hye.

According to a representative from Bangladesh Ministry of Defence who wanted to be known as Major Lokman, the High Commission in Brunei is the 68th mission to be equipped with the new passport system.

“After Brunei, we will be installing the same system at our High Commission in Seoul, South Korea,” he said.

There are currently about 20,000 Bangladeshi working in Brunei.

He added that Bangladesh has 65 missions around the world, and the passport upgrading project is expected to be completed next June.

Those who wish to apply for visa to Bangladesh can surf the High Commission website at http://www.hcbangladesh.org.bn or call 2342420.

The High Commission is open for visa and passport applications from Monday to Thursday and Saturday from 9am to 5pm.

The Brunei Times