The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration has announced that Ghanaians can now only acquire passports forms online.
This change was announced among what appears to be a series of reforms in the acquisition of passports.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the forms which used to cost between GHC50 and GHC100 and mostly sold in the banks, will now be free.
In spite of the new development, applicants only have to bear the cost of processing fee at GHc 50 and GHc100 for regular and express services respectively.
It is unclear if this really constitutes free, seeing that the same amounts will be paid.
Also, the statement makes no mention of changes in how applicants photographs would be taken, which means after filling out the forms, they will still need to visit the passport office to take their photographs.
The statement is also not clear about efforts to reduce the time it takes for applicants to pick up their passports, a situation that made it easy for middlemen to extort from applicants for quick delivery of their passports.
The Ministry says the changes, which takes effect on Thursday, November 1, 2018, is to “eliminate middlemen popularly known as ‘Goro boys’ whose illegal activities have perpetuated bribery and corrupt activities in passport acquisition processes.”
Payment of the processing fees will now be made through mobile money platforms and through other electronic payment platforms.
“Payment can only be made by mobile money (MTN, Vodafone) and Visa or MasterCard,” the statement stated.
The ministry also said a significant number of completed passports remain uncollected hence, it has scheduled Monday, November 5 for the collection of such passports.
The Ministry is hopeful that the measures would restore confidence and help ease the process of passport acquisition henceforth, the statement concluded.
Below is the Ministry’s full statement
Measures to enhance Passport acquisition
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration has taken careful note of public concerns regarding Passport acquisition in the country and has therefore resolved as follows:
- Passport Forms are NOW FREE – Get your Application Forms Online
A free Portable Document Format (PDF) version of the paper-based (Manual) Passport Application Form has been introduced to applicants on the Ministry’s Portal, Effective Thursday November 1, 2018.
The Introduction of the PDF Form is part of measures to make Passport Forms readily accessible to all Ghanaians. This completely eliminates middlemen popularly known as ‘Goro boys’ whose illegal activities have perpetuated bribery and corrupt activities in the passport acquisition processes. The PDF form will therefore replace the old paper-based application form.
Steps to follow in accessing the PDF Form;
- Visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration website – www.mfa.gov.gh or www.passports.mfa.gov.gh
- Click on Passport menu
iii. Read instructions and click on download passport forms
- Click on make payment and follow steps
- A voucher PIN would be instantly sent to the applicant by a text message
- PIN should be written on the space provided on the printed form
vii. Submit completed application form with relevant documents to preferred Passport Application Centre for processing
viii.For further information or clarification please call +233 302 738 473
The public is hereby to note that payment of the processing fee for the PDF form can only be made electronically and not through the banks as was done previously. Payment can only be made by mobile money (MTN, Vodafone) and Visa or MasterCard. Application processing fee still remains at Ghc50 for regular and Ghc100 for express.
Additionally, the new PDF application does not replace the already existing online Passport Application System which currently exists only at the Accra Passport Application Centres.
- Shortage of Passport Booklets
To forestall the frequent shortage of Passport Booklets, the Ministry is assisting the Passport Office to adopt a number of steps including improvements in procurement. Hopefully, shortage of Booklets should be a thing of the past.
- Inaccurate information
The Ministry through the Passport Office has learnt that delays in passport processing occur partly as a result of the failure by applicants to provide accurate and verifiable data or information. The ministry therefore entreats all applicants to ensure information they provide on the application form is accurate to ensure speedy processing of passports. Remember that you are responsible for the information included in your application, even if someone else completes it for you. Therefore, providing misleading information with your passport application is punishable by law.
- Unclaimed Passports
The Ministry has also noted with concern, the significant number of completed passports which have remained unclaimed for months, others for years. Effective Monday November 5, 2018 all applicants who applied before September 15, 2018 and have not collected their passports can visit www.mfa.gov.gh to check the list of uncollected passports and to make plans to claim them from the various Passport application centres. The Ministry is also appealing to Ghanaians to endeavour to apply for a Passport when they have need for it.
The ministry is hopeful that the above measures would restore confidence and help ease the process of passport acquisition henceforth.
Source: Citi News Room