Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has insisted that the government has obtained an International Civil Aviation Organization (IACO) certification for the Ghana Card to be used as a travel document from abroad.
He explained that the government was determined to eliminate the challenges in securing visas.
Dr Bawumia indicated that some persons have lost their passports in the process of securing visas. This, including the high cost of visas, he said posed a serious challenge to Ghanaians.
“Ghanaians in the diaspora were bearing the problem and cost of the acquisition of visa by diaspora Ghanaians, many have lost passports in the process of applying for visas from Ghanaian embassies aboard. But we have obtained ICAO certification for the Ghana card to be used as a travel document for travel to Ghana from abroad without the need for a visa,” he said at the official launch of the Accra Business IT programme in Accra on Thursday, July 14.
Earlier, Dr Bawumia announced that from the first quarter of 2022, the Ghana card was going to be globally recognised as an e-passport.
He has indicated that the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has duly accepted the usage of the card as an e-passport from the second quarter of 2022.
He announced this while addressing an audience at Ashesi University.
Dubbed ‘Bawumia Speaks’, the event was themed ‘Transforming An Economy Through Digitalisation: The Ghana Story’.
According to the Vice President, Wednesday, October 13, 2021, marked a milestone for Ghana as the country was officially received as the 79th member of ICAO.
He said with this move, the country’s major identification document produced by the National Identification Authority (NIA) will be allowed as a source of identification – in this case, an e-passport – for international travels.
“This means that by the end of the first quarter next year, the Ghana Card will be recognised globally as an e-passport,” he stressed, adding: “When this happens, holders of the Ghana Card will be allowed to board any flight to Ghana.”
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, subsequently told Parliament that the Ghana card was not an E-passport.
She said this on the floor of the House Tuesday, June 14 when asked by Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu whether the Ghana card is an e-passport.
She said, “It is not. By its definition, it is not. The Ghana card is not a replacement for our current biometric passport. Ghana card may serve as an optional travel document to be used in tandem with our biometric passport.
“It must be underscored that the passport, together with the travel certificate are the only approved travel documents for the Ghanaian, they are internationally recognized.
“At the moment, the GhanaCard cannot be used for travel to other countries either outside of ECOWAS as that will require bilateral agreement with countries for their authorities to accept the card as a travel document. The Ministry is in active discussion with ECOWAS member states and our bilateral partners to achieve this.”
The Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) on February 28 announced to the public that beginning Tuesday, March 1, a valid Ghana card would be accepted for nationals and dual nationals returning to the country.
Regarding this, Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey told Parliament that “However in light of the announcement by the Ghana Immigration Service titled ‘Notice to the Public: Use of Ghana card as a travel document which was dated 24th of February, Ghanaian and dual national holders of Ghana card would be able to travel to Ghana using the Ghana card.”