Opinions Sat, 12 Feb 2022

Ghana Card -e-Passport: Clarifications regarding ICAO and Ghana

Ghana signs up to ICAO Public Key Directory platform

Government celebrates Ghana Card being used as e-Passport

ICAO says it has no power to make Ghana Card an e-passport<>

The International Civil Aviation Authority, ICAO, has described as 'incorrect' recent media reports that it had certified the Ghana Card and made it equivalent to an e-Passport.

In a statement sent to GhanaWeb, the organization explained among other things that its mandate did not include certifying documents that could replace passports in international travels.

Below is their full statement

ICAO congratulates Ghana on the successful import of the Country Signing Certificate Authority (CSCA) public key certificate into the ICAO Public Key Directory (PKD) on Wednesday 09 February.

The import of the CSCA certificate into the PKD means that it is made conveniently available to State authorities worldwide, allowing them to electronically verify the electronic documents issued by Ghana.

Receiving States possessing the public key certificate can be confident in the authenticity of the documents as well as the integrity of the data stored on these documents based.

Using efficient electronic reading and biometric verification, they may verify the holder of the document. As a result, the international community will be better able to trust Ghana’s electronic documents and can offer more facilitated travel.

Ghanaian citizens benefit from more convenient travel processes. Ghanaian authorities can be confident in the increased robustness of their documents to fraud.

The organization draws its attention, nevertheless, to some recent media coverage that might lead to misunderstanding of its role in defining what documents may be accepted by States for the border control and immigration processes, in particular by suggesting that ICAO has agreed to the equivalency of the Ghanaian ID card and an ePassport on foot of the import ceremony that recently took place.

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.

Standard 3.6 of ICAO’s Annex 9 – Facilitation of the Chicago Convention indicates that a valid passport recognized by the receiving State and a valid visa, where appropriate, are the principal documents of identity to be used when travelling by air. Notwithstanding, it is sometimes the case that national Identity cards may also be used as travel documents if the receiving state so decides.

A number of States worldwide accept specified national ID cards as identity documents during air travel based on bilateral agreement between issuing and receiving states. Importantly, any decision to accept such alternative travel identity documents is made by the receiving state itself.

Ghana’s successful conclusion of its key ceremony on 9 February is a major milestone in its efforts to provide for more international acceptance of its electronic travel documents.

However, it is not the role of ICAO to certify the use of a State’s Identity Card for international travel in place of a passport.

Columnist: ICAO
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