ROM March 31, this year, passengers arriving in the country with the Ghana Card will not be required to fill out landing cards since their particulars will be accessed electronically.
Stakeholders in the transport and aviation industry arrived at the decision after a meeting with the Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, in Accra.
In a Facebook post, Dr Bawumia said: “I held a productive meeting on improving the competitiveness of the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) with key stakeholders, including the Minister of Public Enterprises, the Minister of Transport and his deputy, the Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL), the Ghana Immigration Service, the National Security and the Ministry of the Interior.”
“It was decided, inter alia, that airline passengers travelling to Ghana will, from 31st March 2023, no longer be required to fill out landing cards. This is because the same information can be obtained electronically,” the post added.
It also said processes passengers went through at the KIA would also be streamlined to avoid duplication and cut down time spent.
Dr Bawumia said the Ministry for the Interior and the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) had been directed to ensure that the E-gate system was operational at KIA this year where passengers could use their passports or Ghana cards to access.
It would be recalled that on March 1, last year, some Ghanaian passengers were for the first time admitted to the country with the Ghana card instead of passports.
In all, 14 passengers on board an Ethiopian Airlines flight (ET 921) from Addis Ababa, which touched down at about 11:15 a.m. that day went through the process which was conducted by officials of the GIS.
This was to officially introduce the use of the Ghana Card as an International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO)-compliant travel document from March 1, 2022
The Deputy Head of the Management Information Systems (MIS) Department of the GIS, Chief Superintendent of Immigration (CSI) Sharif Karikari, informed media personnel who were at the airport to observe the process that some booths had been designated as places to admit Ghanaians with Ghana cards into the country.
On arrival, he said, the identity of the cardholders would be verified against the national identity register “before we go ahead to admit the passenger to be sure the bearer is indeed the rightful owner of the card”.
“When one has only the card, we process the person through the system and after verification, the person is processed through the embarkation card before being admitted to the country,” Mr Karikari said, adding that information had been sent out to all airlines to admit passengers with the cards.
Responding to a question on foreigners with Ghana cards, he said “those with non-citizen cards who are foreigners could not use it because they are other nationals.”
According to him, once a Ghanaian passenger’s identity had been verified, he or she would be admitted to the country.
The Head of Public Affairs of the GIS, Superintendent Michael Amoako-Atta, said the first step was for Ghanaians travelling into the country.
The next step was for the country to have bilateral agreements with any another country that would want to have that kind of reciprocal travel agreement.
“What we are doing now is to help citizens who come into the country, and most importantly dual national cardholders, that they do not need to apply for visas since they would be cleared when they come in,” he added.
The GIS had on Monday February 28, 2022, announced to the public that it would from March 1, 2022, begin to admit Ghanaian passengers and dual nationals returning to Ghana on a valid Ghana Card as a result of the official recognition of the Ghana Card as an ICAO-compliant travel document.
It said the Ghana Card would serve as an optional travel document, but reminded the public that until bilateral agreements were signed with other countries, the Ghana Card could not be used to travel outside the ECOWAS sub-region.