AU citizens to ob­tain Ghana visa on ar­rival

Daily Trust - - NEWS - From Kate Da Costa, Ac­cra

Ghana has for­mally com­menced its visa-free en­try pol­icy for citizens of the African Union mem­ber states at the week­end. Under this ar­range­ment, na­tion­als from AU coun­tries will be is­sued visa only on ar­rival in the coun­try.

ECOWAS citizens al­ready en­joy visa-free regime to Ghana under the ex­ist­ing ECOWAS pro­to­col on free move­ment of per­sons and goods in the sub-re­gion. Thus, they are nei­ther re­quired to ap­ply for visa to travel to, nor ob­tain an en­try visa into the coun­try.

Pres­i­dent John Ma­hama an­nounced the com­mence­ment of the new pol­icy at a state func­tion to com­mem­o­rate the 56th Repub­lic Day of Ghana in Ac­cra at the week­end.

The Ghana­ian leader said in the spirit of the African Union, Ghana de­cided to open its door to all AU states, adding that the na­tion had fur­ther es­tab­lished a spe­cial visa ar­range­ment with Kenya and Mau­ri­tius under bi­lat­eral agree­ments with the two coun­tries.

Ma­hama ex­pressed op­ti­mism that the visa onar­rival-pol­icy would boost trade re­la­tions be­tween Ghana and the rest of the con­ti­nent and fur­ther deepen so­cio-cul­tural ex­changes with them.

The coun­try is the first African Union mem­ber coun­try to fully im­ple­ment this pol­icy.

Pres­i­dent Ma­hama in March dur­ing the 2016 State of the Na­tion ad­dress had an­nounced that with ef­fect from July, citizens from AU states would no longer ap­ply for visa to travel to Ghana, but be is­sued visa on ar­rival.

He said Ghana­ian au­thor­i­ties may de­cide not to give visa to any ap­pli­cant whose pres­ence could pose threat to na­tional se­cu­rity.

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