…but for only disembarking nationals
The Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) has started accepting the Ghana Card as a traveling document for Ghanaians travelling from all over the world into the country.
The GIS announced last week in a press statement that starting March 1, 2022, it will initiate the process of accepting the Ghana Card as a form of e-passport only for Ghanaians returning into the country with the card.
In an exercise led by the Deputy Head, Management Information System (MIS), Superintendent Sheriff Kudjo Karikari, on Tuesday, the GIS admitted hundreds of Ghanaian passengers and dual nationals returning to Ghana on a valid Ghana Card from other African countries, Europe and the Americas.
Speaking to the media during the exercise Supt. Karikari said: “We have set aside two to three booths at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) purposely for the verification and processing of people returning into the country with the Ghana Card. And so, what you are seeing this afternoon is a simple exercise of verification to ensure that the card-bearer is a Ghanaian and the information provided is valid.
“For now, it is a new thing we have started and so we find some people with the Ghana Card and still adding the passport; but over time, passengers will get used to the system.”
Head of Public Affairs-GIS, Supt. Amoako Attah, on his part indicated that the verification process comes in three forms – facial, fingerprints and scan; therefore with a missing card on arrival, the other two forms can still be used to verify a person.
Nonetheless, he cautioned that a person who arrives with a fake Ghana Card or a fraudulently acquired card will not be allowed access, and will be arrested and prosecuted according to applicable laws.
Supt. Karikari added that beyond the ability of Ghanaians to use the card on return to the country, it can also be used in place of a passport to travel to any member-country of the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS).
However, he emphasised that until bilateral agreements are signed with other countries, the Ghana Card cannot be used to travel outside the ECOWAS sub-region.
Vanessa Asare, a Ghanaian passenger returning from South Africa, in an interview with the B&FT indicated she is very satisfied with the convenience associated with use of the card compared to a passport.
“I have embarked on a couple of trips, and this is the most convenient and fastest immigration time spent at any airport because I used the Ghana Card. I am also delighted with this process because when you are outside the country and your passport expires, you have to renew before you can travel back which is very cumbersome; but this time around, with the Ghana Card I can come back without any struggle,” she said.