Ghana’s Consul General, H.E. Prof. (Emeritus) Samuel Amoako traveled to Chicago, IL on December 8th, 2017 to commission a Passport Biometric Data Center. He was accompanied by his immediate predecessor, Mr. Bernard Quantson.
Pursuant to the mandate given him by the President of the Republic of Ghana, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Prof. Amoako, upon assumption of office, has embarked on opening passport biometric data centers across the U.S. The most recent center that was opened is the one located in Chicago.
The center is located at 200 South Wacker Drive, Suite 3154, Chicago, IL 60606. Its operations will be under the supervision of the Senior Operating Officer of the center, Dr. Frank Dogbe of VFS Global. Passport applicants may contact the office via telephone number 312-346-7100 or by fax: 312-346-1721.
After the commissioning, Prof. Amoako used the opportunity to meet with leaders of the Ghanaian community in Chicago the next day and explain the rationale behind the citing of the center there. According to him, “Following the successful commissioning of the passport biometric enrollment center in Los Angeles, California, by VFS Global, it was decided that another center was cited in Chicago to cater for Ghanaians in the Midwest region of the United States.”
Present at the meeting included Mr. Steve Dei, a radio presenter and a former Organizing Secretary of the Council of Ghanaian Association; Mr. Attah Adu Gyamfi, council member of Brong Ahafo Association; Mr. Effah Ameyaw (Kakape), a radio presenter and community organizer; and Mr. Jones Agyei, a community organizer.
The meeting also offered the Consul General the opportunity to clear the air on speculations about the biometric centers being opened. According to him, “The center that has been opened will neither issue visas, passports nor initiate the commissioning of an honorary consulate as being erroneously speculated. The center is only for the purpose of capturing the bio data of anyone desirous of acquiring a Ghanaian passport.”
Explaining the process further, Prof. Amoako stated that an applicant would first have to be physically present at the center for the bio data to be captured and electronically transmitted to the New York office for processing and issuance of a passport. The objective of this process is to save the applicants the troubles and expenses of having to travel to either New York or Washington for their bio data to be captured.
Ms. Mary Lamptey, a Chicago-based passport applicant who had postponed her trip to New York several times to have her information biometrically captured was first to be captured during the launch. She was made an “Honorary Ambassador,” to send out the word about the benefits of the center to Chicago residents.
With the Chicago center officially launched, passport applicants in the Chicago metropolis can take a sigh of relief as the initiative has saved them a lot of inconveniences.
Currently, the Washington D.C. office continues to issue only non-biometric passports, which are valid for ten years at the same fee as the biometric passports. The difference between the former and the latter is that even though the non-biometric has a longer expiration date (ten years), it is being phased out and holders face cumbersome processing at international ports as most of them now use digital systems.
The biometric passport, on the other hand, has a five-year lifespan and is valid for use at all ports of entry. Holders of this document are spared the cumbersome processes that their non-biometric counterparts have to go through at ports of entry.
Source: Immanuel Okrah Boateng