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GACL writes to all airlines, airports to allow GhanaCard holders board flights to Ghana without visa

GACL writes to all airlines, airports to allow GhanaCard holders board flights to Ghana without visa
February 12, 2022

The Management of the Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL) has written to all airports and airlines to allow persons holding valid GhanaCard to board flights to Ghana without the need for visa.

A statement issued by the GACL on Saturday February 12 said “Following a key ceremony at the Headquarters of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in Montreal ,Canada on 9th February 2022 Ghana’s National Identity Card (GhanaCard) is now duly recognized globally as a valid ID card passport, a Machine Readable Travel Document that can be read and verified by the ICAO Public Key Directory (PKD) at most airports.

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“Ghana Airports Company Limited announces to all airports and airlines that holders of a validGhana card should be allowed to board flights to Ghana without the need for a visa.”

Meanwhile, the Spokesperson of Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, Dr Gideon Boako, has insisted that the certification ceremony at the Montreal by the ICAO to have Ghana’s National Identity card, the Ghana Card, captured in the Organization’s PKD was the final step to accept the card as a travelling document.

His comments come after the ICAO has been reported to have described as “incorrect” media reports that it has agreed that the Ghana’s National Identity card, the Ghana Card, is equivalent to an electronic passport.

It clarified that that decision can only be made by Ghana’s government as “it is the sovereign right of each individual state to decide upon its entry and exit requirements and the documents that need to be presented by those travelling to and/or from its territory”.

In a Twitter thread on Friday, February 11, the United Nations specialized agency for civil aviation emphasized that it is not its role to certify the use of a member’s ID card for international travel in place of a passport.

“Any decision to accept such alternative travel identity document is made by the receiving state itself.”

But In a post to respond to a tweet by ICAO, which had suggested that it does not determine for a member state which travelling document it accepts, Dr Boako stated that any holder of the Ghana Card can board a flight anywhere in the world into the country, just as with the normal passport.

Find Dr Boako’s response below:

Gideon Boako, Ph.D writes

Ignore the wrong interpretation of ICAO’s statement, Ghanacard is valid for travel as e-passport

Just like our current normal booklet passport you will need ICAO to approve and capture the data into their Public Key Directory (PKD) for certification before any country can accept it as official travel documents. Such key ceremony certification as was done on 9th February in the case of the Ghanacard is the ultimate step to take before any national identity card/passport can be used for travelling purposes. Ghana has crossed this stage with respect to the Ghanacard making it officially certified as having the right qualities to be admissible by receiving countries as e-passport subject to country-to-country bilateral agreements.

Through the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), official communication has gone to all border ports that Ghana as a receiving country is accepting holders of the Ghanacard into Ghana.

The statement by ICAO that Ghana has crossed the major millstone in efforts to provide for more international acceptance of its biometric electronic travel documents is therefore not inconsistent with official communication from government.In practical terms, the holder of a Ghanacard will be allowed to board a flight to Ghana (receiving country) from any airport, just as with the normal biometric passport, without the need for a visa.Also, Diasporan Ghanaians who hold the Ghanacard will not require a visa to travel to Ghana.Within ECOWAS the Ghanacard can be used to travel to any country.

Traveling outside ECOWAS however, will require that you use your normal biometric passport which will contain your visas. In the not too distant future, we expect that electronic visas will be issued under ICAO 2.0 protocols. When this starts, electronic visas could be issued on the Ghanacard under bilateral arrangements with other countries.


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