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.
ICAO further explained that some media coverage of its recent event in Montreal, Canada relative to Ghana signing on to its Public Key Directory (PKD), showed a level of misunderstanding of “its role in defining what documents may be accepted by States for the border control and immigration processes.
The statement pointed out how, in particular, the reports suggested erroneously that “ICAO has agreed to the equivalency of the Ghanaian ID card and an ePassport.”
Their statement continued: “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.”
ICAO further clarified that even though national Identity cards in some instances may also be used as travel documents, such situations depend on the receiving state or based on existing bilateral arrangements.
“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,” the statement stressed.
On February 9, 2022, Ghana joined the ICAO Public Key Directory (PKD), a central repository for exchanging the information required to authenticate ePassports.
The news back home was, however, that ICAO had certified the Ghana Card as an e-passport that could grant users access to 197 countries and over 44,000 airports worldwide.
ICAO’s abridged clarification on Twitter
ICAO is aware of recent and incorrect media reports claiming that ICAO has agreed that the Ghanaian ID card is equivalent to an ePassport. However, it is not ICAO’s role to certify the use of a State’s Identity Card for international travel in place of a passport.
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.
A number of States worldwide accept specified national ID cards as identity documents during air travel based on bilateral agreements between issuing and receiving states. 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.