April 17, 2024

Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, Minister Foreign Affair

In a concerning development, Ghanaians living in America are facing significant hurdles when attempting to renew their passports, prompting questions about accessibility and equitable treatment.

A recent investigation by The Hawk has uncovered that the new passport automation processes have exacerbated challenges for Ghanaians abroad seeking to obtain or renew their passports. Previously, individuals across the United States could conveniently initiate passport renewal online, streamlining the process and eliminating the need for physical visits to specific locations. However, a recent shift in protocol now requires individuals to travel to either Washington DC or New York, where they must rely on intermediaries known as “goro boys” who charge exorbitant fees for their services.

This abrupt alteration has sparked discontent among the Ghanaian community in America, with many expressing discomfort and frustration over the new requirements. The added financial burden imposed by middlemen has left individuals feeling exploited and disadvantaged, especially considering the vast geographical spread of the United States.

Critics argue that the insistence on in-person visits contradicts the government’s push for digitalization and modernization of administrative processes. Instead of leveraging technology to enhance efficiency and accessibility, Ghanaians are forced into a cumbersome and costly system that disproportionately affects those unable to travel long distances.

In interviews with The Hawk, several Ghanaians voiced their grievances, highlighting the impracticality and financial strain imposed by the new regulations. Many expressed dismays at the lack of alternative options and called for urgent intervention to address the growing disparity in passport renewal services.

The situation has also raised concerns about potential exploitation and unauthorized fees imposed by middlemen, further exacerbating the financial burden on already marginalized individuals. There are fears that such practices could lead to exploitation and corruption within the passport renewal process, undermining the integrity of the system.

As Ghanaians in America grapple with these challenges, there is a growing call for the government to reconsider its approach and explore more inclusive and accessible avenues for passport renewal. Failure to address these issues promptly risks further alienating the diaspora community and undermining efforts to foster closer ties between Ghana and its citizens abroad.

In the meantime, Ghanaians in America remain caught in a frustrating limbo, navigating through layers of bureaucracy and financial hurdles in their quest to renew essential travel documents. Unless swift action is taken to address these concerns, the promise of digitalization will remain elusive, and the plight of citizens abroad will continue unabated.

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