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Immigration to travellers: You can use Ghana Card as e-passport from March 1

The Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) says it is now fully ready, starting from March 1, 2022, to begin admitting Ghanaians and dual nationals returning to Ghana using valid Ghana Cards as their travel document.

This follows the completion of the GIS connecting its systems to the National Identification Authority (NIA) database.

It will now be faster and more effective for border control officials to verify the identity of holders of Ghana Cards at the port of entry into Ghana.

Ghana’s National Identity Card, the Ghana Card can now be used as an e-passport in 44,000 airports globally.

It follows the recognition of the Ghana Card globally as an electronic passport that can be read and verified in all International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) compliant borders.

In an interview with Graphic Online on Monday [February 28, 2022], the Head of Public Affairs at the GIS, Superintendent, Michael Amoako-Atta said: “Following the certification by the ICAO, the Ghana card will serve as an optional travel document and from March 1, 2022, Ghanaians and those who have dual citizenship who have valid Ghana cards could travel with them into Ghana.”

Ghana Card valid for countries that have bilateral agreements with Ghana

The dispensation was only available for travellers from countries that have bilateral agreements with Ghana.

Thus while the card could be used to arrive in Ghana from the country of embarkation, it could not be used as a travel document outside to countries that have no agreements with Ghana.

Thus, for now, the card could not be used outside the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

“It is important for all travellers to note that until bilateral agreements are signed with other countries, the Ghana Card cannot be used to travel outside the ECOWAS sub-region. He also indicated that Ghanaians who have renounced their Ghanaian citizenship to obtain the citizenship of other countries are not eligible to travel on the Ghana Card. However, Ghanaians with dual citizenship who have the Ghana Card could use it when they arrive.

Readiness

Supt Amoako-Atta said the GIS has put in some measures at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) to ensure the smooth facilitation of the process.

He explained that there will be designated booths at the arrival hall to process Ghanaian passengers who travel on the Ghana Card into Ghana.

“Upon arrival, the identity of the Ghana Card holder will be verified against the National Identity Register (NIR), and once the passenger’s identity has been successfully verified, the passenger will be admitted into the country,” he explained.

Eligibility, arrivals

He explained that the dispensation was only available for travellers from countries that have bilateral agreements with Ghana. Thus while the card could be used to arrive in Ghana from the country of embarkation, it could not be used as a travel document outside to countries that have no agreements with Ghana.

Thus, for now, the card could not be used outside the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

“It is important for all travellers to note that until bilateral agreements are signed with other countries, the Ghana Card cannot be used to travel outside the ECOWAS sub-region. He also indicated that Ghanaians who have renounced their Ghanaian citizenship to obtain the citizenship of other countries are not eligible to travel on the Ghana Card. However Ghanaians with dual citizenship who have the Ghana Card could use it when they arrive.

“While people who have renounced their Ghanaian citizenship and now using other country’s travel documents are not eligible to travel on the Ghana card, dual nationals holding the Ghana Card will not require visas to enter Ghana,” he emphasised.

Caution

Supt Amoako-Atta cautioned travellers that any passenger who arrives in Ghana with a fraudulently acquired or fake Ghana Card will be denied entry and in addition, could be arrested and prosecuted in accordance with applicable laws.

“It is an offence under Section 52 of Immigration Act, 2000 (Act 573) for a person to fraudulently acquire or use a forged or fake travel document and convicted offenders may be fined and/or imprisoned,” he emphasised.

NIA

Meanwhile, the National Identification Authority (NIA) says the Ghana card has all the credentials needed to be used as an electronic passport.
Describing as a huge milestone for the Ghana card to be recognised by the ICAO as a valid travel document, the acting Head of Public Affairs at the NIA, Mr Abudu Abdul Ganiyu said the credentials on the form used to apply for the card satisfied the requirements of the ICAO.

“Ghanaians with Ghana cards can now come home without passport or visa, all they need is to pick up their Ghana card and join the next flight” he reiterated.

Again, he revealed that, for all in-bound flight into Ghana, anyone in possession of the Ghana card will be able to travel because all the electronic gates that are ICAO certified will be able to read the Ghana card information into the passport.

He also confirmed that the e-passport meant Ghanaians could now travel within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) sub-regions with only the Ghana Card, but eventually it could be used for other countries once the agreement with those countries were established.

“Some two, three years to come, we will not be using paper passport, we would be using the e-passport and that will make the Ghana card very relevant,” he said.

Source: graphic.com.gh

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