Ghanaians hail online passport application service
It was very commendable to learn that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration has launched the online passport application for Ghanaians wishing to obtain travel documents.
Those present at the launch of the online nomination project expressed their enthusiasm upon hearing the news.
It was indeed refreshing to know that the ministry had not rejected the pilot project led by the National Information Technology Agency started in August 2015.
It is not surprising that Ghanaians are happy with the project, which would relieve them of the hassle they have to go through in acquiring a document that every citizen is entitled to in the first place.
The ritual takes many forms and forms. It is not uncommon to wake up early in the morning and join a long queue just to submit documents for a passport.
Sector Minister Hannah Serwaa Tetteh in her opening speech at the launch in Accra on Tuesday, December 20, said that the online application process will run alongside the manual system for a period of four months, after which the paper system would be abolished.
Main concepts of application and process
The main idea of the online application service is that one can sit in the comfort of his home and apply for a passport by logging in via personal computer, tablet or mobile phone.
All that is required is the relevant information provided in the application process as it currently exists. Nothing has really changed in terms of details but the improvement of the application system.
Anyone who needs a passport should first visit passport.mfa.gov.gh or passports.mfa.gov.gh to open the interface or website. On the website, you will see two options that say “Existing user?” Log in here “or” New user? Register here”.
If this is the first time that we try the online application, he will have to register as a new user with a valid and active mobile number as well as an e-mail address – optional – to allow him to have an account with the platform.
This account can only be created once by an individual. A parent can have a unique account and use it to apply for a passport on behalf of other family members.
When creating the first account, it is necessary to generate a password, which would help him to always log in as a preventive measure to prevent the invasion of personal accounts or personal information.
After registering the account, the applicant will then have to select one of the partner banks of the service with which to make the payment. Banks include Ecobank Transnational Incorporation, GCB Bank and Zenith Bank.
The applicant would then be required to select the payment channel where he would indicate to use one of the options available for the use of VISA, MasterCard, MTN Mobile Money and / or Airtel Money. Vodafone Cash should be added sooner according to the minister’s delivery.
The applicant will then need to complete the passport form, after which they will need to select a preferred Passport Application Center (PAC) from the available list. The PAC is where one would like to take the next step in the process.
“The role of PACs will be limited to verifying applicant details already entered into the system by delivering applicants’ supporting documents, in addition to entering the bio data of passport applicants,” Tetteh said.
There are currently six established PACs, in Accra, Kumasi, Sunyani, Tamale, Ho and Takoradi. The ministry plans to establish a PAC in Tema and also to hold consultations with regional administrative officials in Cape Coast, Koforidua, Bolgatanga and Wa.
As part of the process and for authentication reasons, one should visit the ACANs for the capture of bio-data and also the presentation of the original of some of the documents that an applicant claims to have.
The available dates would appear for an applicant to select the favorable day for presenting the relevant document and also for verification.
When an appointment card is ready to be printed, we move on to the final step.
The final step of the application is a visit to a selected PAC on the date of the appointment with an appointment slip and the relevant original documents to complete the process.
It is at this point that the applicant should wait 10 working days or a maximum of 15 working days for the regular applicant and five working days or a maximum of 10 working days for the express applicant to receive a passport allowing them to proceed with anything. document for travel purposes.
One thing to note about the service is that it only accepts requests Monday through Thursday and does not operate on holidays.
Advantages and disadvantages
The positives of this decision are so important that it cannot be ignored as the hassle of having to wake up as early as two or three hours just to submit a passport application or receive a passport is thrown in the trash.
According to Tetteh, the online service should reduce typographical errors and shorten data entry procedures, which are currently carried out at passport application centers. It is also expected to speed up the workflow for passport processing and improve the delivery of passport services.
It is expected to reduce, if not eliminate, the activities of “intermediaries” who in most cases trick individuals into promising them to pave the way for the free flow of the application process.
Sustainability of the service
The sustainability of this online application requires careful observation by stakeholders and regular updating of security features to always secure the system against hacking and unnecessary damage by unscrupulous people.
However, the online application service will be meaningless if the nation decides not to worry about its upkeep, effective and efficient use.
By Julius K. Satsi