The government, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, has increased the validity of the country’s ordinary passport booklets from five years to 10 years.
This comes after complaints by some Ghanaians that the five-year validity period, was too short.
An online petition collecting signatures to get the government to increase the validity had received more than 10,000 endorsements over the past many months.
The Foreign Affairs Ministry in a memo to all of the country’s foreign missions said, “Missions are hereby informed that government has decided to extend the validity of ordinary passport booklets issues to qualified Ghanaian applicants from five years to ten years (5-10 years) with effect from 31st March 2019. The processing fees remain the same until further notice.”
Citizens, who called for the increase in the years of validity in their arguments indicated that the change in the validity period, will take away the stress and stress, extra resources, and the hurdles “one need to go through in passport acquisition and renewal while at the same time reducing the congestion at our various Passport Acquisition Centers and Embassies across the globe.”
Citi FM reports that the Parliamentary Select Committee on Foreign Affairs, made the proposal on the same matter through the Director of Passports, Alexander Ntrakwa, when he appeared before them in March 2017.
Ranking Member of the Committee, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa at the time, argued that the five year expiry period was too short a time, especially given the challenges that applicants go through in getting a new passport or to renew an old one.
While suggesting that the five year validity period, would ordinarily rake in more funds to the ministry, he said the situation does not inure to the benefit of the passport holders.
The Foreign Affairs Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, after an unannounced visit to the Passport Office in Accra, promised to ensure the introduction of new measures to address the challenges with passport acquisition and renewal in the country, including the elimination of Goro boys and the long queues at acquisition centres.
Among other things, she said she would work to ensure decentralization in passport processing by establishing new regional passport offices.
Meanwhile, the cost of processing passports in Ghana, remains GHc 50 and GHc100 for regular and express services respectively.