The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration has cautioned the general public against the use of intermediaries in the acquisition of passports.


The Ministry noted that intermediaries which tended to complicate the rather simple application process while the public stood the risk of being financially exploited.


Addressing a news conference in Accra, yesterday, to increase awareness on the appropriate procedure involved in acquiring a biometric passport in Ghana, Mr Alexander Grant Ntrakwa, Director of Passports, explained that application for passports should be in accordance with the Ghanaian citizenship law, which provides that a person is a Ghanaian citizenship by birth, descent, neutralization, registration or adoption.


Mr  Ntrakwa said  a passport application form should be acquired from a designated bank, such as, Ecobank, Agricultural Development Bank (ADB), National Investment Bank (NIB), Zenith Bank and Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB), among others, while applicants are required to summit,  in person, a duly-completed application form  to any of the Passport Application Centres (PACs) located in Accra, Kumasi, Sunyani, Tamale, Ho or Takoradi, together with the following documents where applicable:


Receipt from the Bank where the application form was purchased; a biometric birth certificate in a case of a new applicant, an old passport in a case of a renewal, a police report in a case of replacement of a missing passport; proof of profession for new applicants and those seeking to change their professions, a marriage certificate and Gazette of change of name, an affidavit in support of change of name and a dual citizenship certificate for Ghanaians who have acquired dual nationality.


He added that after procurement of the necessary documents, applicants are expected to submit the forms to the PACs and go through five procedures, namely the first vetting procedure involving the vetting of the passport application form at the entrance of the PACs to check if the form to be submitted has been properly completed.


The Second Vetting Procedure, he said, was the stage of  thorough vetting to ensure that all information provided is satisfactory, all of which the required supporting documents .


The third stage, he indicated, was the Authorised Procedure, where forms that have been satisfactorily completed by applicants are sent for the Approving Officer to authorise by digital capturing.


Mr Ntrakwa said the next stage, was the biometric capturing procedure which includes the capturing of applicant’s biometric features including picture, fingerprints and signature.


In the last stage, he said, applicants would receive details including a transaction number and date on which passports are to be collected.


The Director of Passports disclosed that a regular passport application took a minimum of twenty-one (21) working days and a minimum of nine (9) working for express applications to be processed.


He assured the general public that appropriate measures were been put in place to improve upon the existing process in order to ensure the timely delivery of passports.


Mr Ntrakwa said the Ministry had identified two important challenges hindering the smooth operations of the biometric passport regime.


These, he said, included inadequate documentation provided by applicants, especially those who tried to process application through middle men and were not present to provide  the required documentation at the PACs.


He said another major challenge identified was multiple applications under different names, security concerns and human errors on the part of applicants.


Mr Ntrakwa, therefore, advised prospective applicants to provide relevant and verifiable information to facilitate the processing of their applications.


The issuance of biometric passports in Ghana started in March 2010 in conformity with recommended standards by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).


Source: ISD (Linda Okyere & Naa Oboshie Palm)


Created: 11 September 2015
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