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Is it possible to change passport information?

  • Published at 02:21 am May 14th, 2018
Is it possible to change passport information?
The three passports of Bangladesh, official, regular and diplomatic Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

Raihan Shikder, 12, and Anwar Shikder, 15, are siblings. Anwar’s passport however contains a serious error- it is missing his last name.

The boy’s uncle applied to the Dhaka Office of Department of Immigration and Passport (DIP), for adding Anwar’s last name to his passport. But the DIP office made it clear that this type of correction will never be allowed under existing regulations.

All academic papers belonging to Anwar contain his full name, but not his passport.

Anwar’s uncle, who is on the staff at the DIP office, told the correspondent that the boy’s family is seriously concerned about him facing immigration issues while applying for going abroad in the future.

Sources from the department stated that the current regulations do not allow a number of information updates to passports, including name, age and parents’ name. However, spelling correction for names is allowed.

Major General Md Masud Rezwan, director general (DG) of the DIP, is currently rejecting all applications on such issues while re-issuing passports. The move however is putting a lot of people in binds.

For example, a student, preferring not to be named, recently got a scholarship from Japan. She visited the DIP office to change her mother’s name from Rabu Begum to Rabeya Begum.

All of her academic certificates contain “Rabeya” as her mother’s name, but her National Identity Card (NID) contains the name as Rabu.

The DIP could not help the student, causing her to miss the scholarship offer.

Names cannot be changed

The DIP authorities further stated said it will not allow changing the last name of a passport holder, which is a common practice among women after marriage.

The DIP DG told the reporter: “If someone changes her last name after marriage by taking her husband’s last name, it will not be changed in her passport.

“She will continue to use her maiden name in her passport.”

Addressing the issue of religious conversions, he added: “In the case that a person converts into another religion, he or she will have to use an affidavit to apply for changing information in the passport.

The DG also suggested applicants follow their academic certificates for submitting their name and spelling for passports. All information and names will be carried over to re-issued passports, and only spelling corrections will be allowed later.

Changing passport information: Unsound motives?

A number of DIP officials claimed that most people try to make changes to their passports with ill intentions. Sometimes, while going abroad with working visas, applicants change information such as age to meet certain job requirements.     

Sometimes people falsify their ages at least four-five years more or less than their actual age.

‘’In many cases people go abroad for a job but come back after being scammed or refused entry to that particular country. They then try to go back by making changes in their old passport to avoid detection from the authorities,’’ said the DG.

The DIP chief revealed that a lot of people apply using similar names, and the difference is only in their date of birth (DOB).

Most of the time, a person’s name and DOB in his or her passport do not match the academic certificates and the National ID card (NID).

Regulations dictate that applicants must submit their academic certificates, NID, affidavit, police verification report and their old passport for changing any information.  

Reason for the restriction

The DIP authorities started implementing the restriction over any information change in passports to minimize hassles faced by Bangladeshi nationals at the immigration check-ins of various countries.

The restriction began as of March 7 this year.

“When a person changes their name and age in their passport and apply for a visa at a foreign embassy, as soon as they are fingerprinted, his or her previously provided name, their parents’ names, and age show up on the screen. Their visa application is then refused,” Major General Rezwan told the reporter.

According to an official of the department, the passport authorities rejected re-issuance applications of around 20,000 passports since the restriction was imposed. l