The issue of delay in passport renewal for Ghanaians living in China due to the Embassy’s inability to print passports will soon end, Mr. Edward Boateng, Ghana’s Ambassador to China, has revealed.
“We are working with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and hopefully we will be able to issue passport here in 2019,” Mr. Boateng told the B&FT in Beijing.
Ghanaians, mostly students and professionals in China, have raised concerns about the challenges they go through to renew their passports.
Speaking to the B&FT, Mr. Boateng said the issue will be resolved this year as the Embassy is working with the parent ministry to ensure that passports are printed by the Embassy in China.
He said currently the challenge is that the Embassy only receives the applications and forwards them to Accra for processing, a situation that he said is normally outside their control.
“So, we are hoping that this year one of the key issues to settle is that of passport renewal,” he said.
He therefore advised that those who want to apply for the renewal of their passports to do so early to allow the Embassy to process for them on time.
According to him, passport renewal should be applied for at least 6-months before the expiration date, saying: “If you need the passport tomorrow, why wait and apply for it today?
“But it’s also an issue of processes and systems; mostly when people come here, they need the passport like tomorrow…but it takes time. So, if you need the passport tomorrow why wait till the day before you have to apply; so that’s also a challenge we are facing.
You don’t wait for your passport to expire then you go into a panic mode. It takes time, we receive it here and process it to Accra – which will take between 30 to 60 days,” he said.
There are about 7,000 Ghanaian students living and schooling in China, making Ghana the African country with the highest student population in China.
Again, Ghana is presently one of the highest beneficiaries of cultural exchange programmes in China globally.
Most of these students, and other Ghanaian professionals in China will have to wait for at least 30 days to receive their renewed passports, since they have to go to Accra for printing.