Our hearts miss a beat whenever we think of any task that has to do with our government. A lot of things used to be a big hassle — and some of them still are — whenever you needed some sort of citizen service from government offices.
However, over the past few years, significant changes have taken place. Digital Bangladesh is still a phrase we use to mock ridiculous decisions that our government take from time to time — entering 200+ characters by hand to top-up prepaid electric meters, banning Facebook during exam periods, shutting down internet ahead of the exams to prevent question leaks, to name a few — but if you look at some other areas, a lot has actually changed.
Applying for and renewing a passport used to be a ‘broker’ or dalal’s territory. The process still incites fear among the people. Even today, it does make one afraid and stressed about the whole process. The truth is, thanks to the digitalization of much of the process, it’s becoming much, much easier to do these tasks.
How I renewed/reissued my passport
Before I go any further, I wanted to clarify that although ‘renewing passport’ is how we talk about this, your passport isn’t actually renewed. It’s called ‘reissuing passport’ for a reason. They print an entirely new passport for you. So you can only reissue a passport, not technically renew it.
But that’s how we talk about it, so I’ll use both words interchangeably.
It took me a total of 40 minutes on a Wednesday morning to apply for a re-issue of the passport.
Toward the end of last month, I applied to renew/reissue my MRP (Machine Readable Passport) at Agargaon’s Regional Passport Office in Dhaka. I have never had to renew a passport before, but I heard that you’d have to go through the whole process of applying for a new passport. All of the documents that you had to provide during the first application process had to be supplied yet again. Just the thought of that made me not want to renew my passport.
Only if I could go abroad without a passport!
After some research on the relevant website and asking some friends on Facebook, I came to know that renewing the passport, at least in Dhaka, had become much, much simpler. Unless you need to make any changes to your existing passport’s data, it’s really a process that can be done in under 1 hour.
You read that right. It took me a total of 40 minutes on a Wednesday morning to apply for a re-issue of the passport.
Here are the step-by-step process and the documents required for renewing your MRP passport.
- This post assumes that you’re applying for re-issuing a Machine Readable Passport. That means your current passport is already machine readable and you’re in need of a new one.
- Passport’s validity dates aren’t extended. That’s why officially it’s called “re-issue” instead of renewal. After you apply, you’ll get a new passport. And from that point onwards, you’ll need to carry both of your passports everywhere you go.
- If you’re not making any alterations or corrections for your new passport, this process is simple and easy to follow.
- You only need three pieces of documents: One application form, one photocopy of the current passport, and one bank receipt of the passport fee payment attached with the application form.
- No police verification is needed if you aren’t changing your address on the new passport.
- In most cases, only ‘picture change’ may be necessary. The applicant must physically be present for the re-issue application.
- No attestation is necessary. (Sighs of relief!)
Please note that this is applicable for those renewing their passport at Agargaon’s Regional Passport Office in Dhaka. I also did not need to make any correction on my passport. Passport offices in other areas may have a different requirement. I’ve heard from at least one person that in another passport office, they needed the main copy of passport application as well (DIP Form 1) which is not mentioned on the passport.gov.bd website.
Payment for re-issuing passport
I think it’s better to get the payment out of the way first. It doesn’t matter when or where you pay for the passport renewal. So, it’s best to pay at an earlier date so that on the day of the application, you can just focus on everything you need to do at the passport office.
You can pay for the passport renewal at any branch of the following banks:
- Bank Asia
- Dhaka Bank
- Premiere Bank
- Trust Bank Ltd
- One Bank
In addition to all of the above, you can also pay the fee at Sonali Bank. But I prefer to pay at one of those above as the queue is generally shorter.
During the payment, double check that your name appears on the receipt exactly as it will appear on your passport. Take your passport with you if you need assistance. If there’s any discrepancy between what your name is on the passport and what your name is on the receipt, it will cause complications later on.
Payment amount for passport renewal
If your passport hasn’t expired when you’re applying for a re-issue, you will not have to pay any extra fee. So, you will be paying these standard fees:
- Regular (takes somewhere between 4 to 5 weeks) – Tk. 3,450.
- Express (takes somewhere between 2 to 3 weeks) – Tk. 6,900.
Once you’ve paid at any of the banks mentioned above and double checked that your name is spelled correctly on the receipt, you’ll need to go to the passport.gov.bd website and download the DIP Form 2.
If your passport has already expired, you’ll have to pay extra fees. It’s Tk. 345 for every year after the expiration. So, if your passport expired in January 2016, and you’re renewing in February 2018, you’ll need to pay Tk. 345 x 2 (for two years) Tk. 690 extra.
This has to be paid at the same time when you pay the passport fees. So, to be on the safe side, take your expiring/expired passport with you, and the bank should be able to determine how much you need to pay.
Documents needed for re-issuing passport
If your passport is the ordinary type, and you don’t need to make any corrections to your passport’s information, you only need the following documents in order to apply for a re-issue of MRP. None of these has to be attested which can come as a big surprise considering how our government loves to have everything attested.
- One filled up application of DIP Form – 2. You do not need a copy of this. You can print it from passport.gov.bd here.
- One photocopy of the present/current passport’s information and photo page.
- Original passport.
- Applicant should be present in person — and in case a photo change is needed, you should avoid wearing white or light-colored shirt/dress.
- That’s really all you need provided that you won’t be making any changes or corrections to your passport. If you need to make any corrections, or if your passport is “Official,” or if you are a retired government official, you can check this PDF for information on what else is needed.
Filling up the form:
This page on DIP website has a specimen (or real? Who knows!) copy of a filled DIP Form 2. You can check that out to see how to fill out the information. The form is pretty basic and doesn’t really ask for a lot of information. Make sure to avoid typos or corrections, use block letters, and write the bank receipt number carefully.
Also, make sure to use glue, not staple or anything else — for attaching the PP Office copy of your bank receipt on the top right corner of your DIP Form 2. Do this after you have filled out the form.
As an extra caution, you can also take an extra piece of unfilled DIP Form 2 with you just in case you need to fill out the form differently. (That is, if you mess up the first form.) You should also take glues and pen with you so that you don’t have to look around like a helpless person at the passport office premises.
Once you have everything you need, you need to be physically present at the Agargaon’s Regional Passport Office. You can submit for re-issuing your passport anytime before 2 pm on working days. But it’s best if you can get there early — like at 10 or 11 in the morning.
Where to go, what to do
Important: I’ve written these steps exactly as I had to do them. But they may change in the future. So, when you’re at the passport office, always ask the uniformed officers where to go next and they will help you with your application process.
At the passport office, you’ll see a queue forming right after the metal detector doors. It’s on your left after you enter the gate. All passport applicants — first time and re-issue — have to queue up on the single line. So, queue up there and wait for an officer at the desk at the end of the queue to check your papers.
For re-issue, you’ll only need one copy of the filled out DIP Form 2 with the bank receipt attached to the top right corner and one photocopy of your passport. The officers will check these at the entrance, write down a serial number on your form, and then let you into the office.
From there, you’ll go to room 301. Ask anyone where 301 is and they’ll tell you. Inside 301 on the right side’s counter, you’ll need to present your current passport along with your full set of documents. The officer there may ask if your passport has valid visas. Please tell them ‘yes’ if you do; otherwise, they might void your passport immediately.
Having checked your documents and making sure that everything is set, the officer will sign on your form and tell you to go to 307.
307 isn’t really a separate room. Go through the middle of the entire room and you’ll come across a small desk that reads 307. You’ll be given a serial number on your form. He’ll tell you to go to Room 401.
The stairs are to your left after you leave the 307 desk. Go upstairs and you’ll find 401 entrance to the right. There’ll be another desk where your forms will be checked and a serial number written. It doesn’t really matter what the serial number on your form is at any point in time because as I found out, you have to queue up everywhere.
So, when you go from point A to B, make sure to go there fast. You can’t argue with your serial number.
After your form is checked and signed at 401, you will enter the waiting hall. To your right, you will see two doors and two separate queues — one for males and the other for females. 404 is the bio-enrollment room for females while 405 is where you should queue up if you’re a male.
Now is the time for you to wait. This will likely be the longest wait time because taking photographs, biometrics and signatures are time-consuming. Also, both first-time applicants and re-issuers queue up for the same room. So, you’ll be in this queue for a while. You may start chatting with others in the queue to spend the time!
When your serial arrives, you’ll enter the bio-enrollment room and wait for your turn. As a reminder, you should avoid wearing any white or light colored shirt/dress. When your turn comes up, present all the documents to the operator and they will check and ask you some basic questions.
They will also take your photo — for which you’ll need to remove any white cap and glasses — and then take your fingerprints.
In reality, the photo is the only thing that will change in your new passport. But if you want, you can also change your signature on the passport. They’ll ask you about it, and you can either keep it as it is or update it with a new signature. You don’t need any additional papers to have your signature changed on the new passport.
Once done, they’ll print three copies of the confirmation/delivery slip and you will have to give it to them to sign and confirm.
Before you leave the room, please read everything on that receipt to double-check that the information, as well as the spelling, is correct. It’s much easier to change any error right away. If you leave with a spelling error, that’s how your passport will be printed. And changing it later is a hassle that you do not want to take.
If everything seems okay, you can leave the building. You’re done! That’s it! The slip will have a tentative delivery date when you can expect to take delivery of the passport, however, you will need to wait for an SMS confirmation to your mobile phone — the number of which is also printed on the delivery slip — before you head to the passport office for collection.
Checking the status of your passport renewal online
Once the hard part is done, you can’t wait for a new passport, and you must find out what stage it is in right away! You can actually check the progress of your passport re-issuance by going to the link here and entering the application number — found on the delivery slip — and your date of birth.
I’ve applied for re-issuing the passport and paid for the “Express” fee. There is no police verification required for the passport renewal given that you aren’t changing any of the information. I applied on January 24, and the tentative date of delivery I got was February 4 — about 10 days.
I kept waiting and checking the status of the passport renewal on the passport status page until the SMS finally arrived.
Taking delivery of the new passport
I launched myself toward the passport office in Agargaon on the following day after I received the SMS that the passport is ready for collection. It was sooner than I’d thought. The tentative delivery date was 4th of February. But it was ready for delivery on 30th January. Only 6 days after I applied!
So, the day after receiving the SMS, I visited the Agargaon passport office and went straight to the first floor (room 201). There’s a small queue on the left of that room where you have to submit the delivery slip. They will check if the passport is indeed ready, and then they will give you a token with a serial number printed.
With the token in hand, it was the beginning of a waiting game.
It doesn’t take that long, to be honest. And they don’t deliver serially. They kind of look for the passport in the back and deliver whichever they find first. So, even though my serial was 450+ and I entered the room when the current token no. was 150, it didn’t take more than an hour for me to get called on.
On the counter, I had to sign on the back side of the application form and that’s it. They delivered the passport to me. I checked the name and other details just to be sure they were accurate. Thankfully, they were, and I was on my way back home sooner than I’d expected.
The thought of renewing the passport was scary before I actually started the process. To my surprise, the entire process was painless, straightforward, and was done ‘sooner-than-expected.’ I was genuinely surprised at how fast the process was.
Of course, I don’t think all passport offices in Bangladesh are following this quick and painless method yet, so if you’re going to another passport office, make sure you gather information about what’s needed.
But if you’re going to Agargaon passport office to renew your MRP/Machine Readable Passport, you’re in luck. The process is as painless as it can be if you don’t have to change any of the information on your passport.
If you’ve recently reissued your passport and changed any information on your new passport, let me know in the comments whether the process was as easy.