The team from the consulate section of the Ghana embassy in Berlin started its "Bio-metric passport data capturing" tour on Wednesday, the 19th of April, 2017. The first stop was Freiburg. Prior to that, the leaders of Ghana Union Freiburg sent a list of applicants (30 in all) to Mr. Samuel Adotey Anum, Minister and Head of Consuler. The list contained the online reference numbers and names of applicants. Especially the reference number is very important because it can be used to identify each applicant. In other words, each applicant has a unique reference number. It is impossible to identify each applicant with his name alone, the reason being that two or more people could bear the same name.
The data capturing began on the 20th of April. Due to the workload involved, the number of applicants that could be captured in a day has to be limited. Therefore, the applicants in Freiburg were divided into two groups. The data of the first group were captured on the 20th of April and that of the second group on the 21st of April.
It was quite challenging for the embassy to carry out the data capturing on the first day. It is necessary to emphasise here that the embassy team was very well prepared but some of the applicants made the work very difficult.
After completing the forms online, it is required of the applicant to print them. The printing can be done after transferring (submitting) the data. The applicant, two relatives and one witness have to sign the printed forms accordingly. If all the necessary steps are taken by the applicant and the forms are properly completed, it takes the embassy about seven (7) minutes to capture the data of that applicant. In fact, that was the case of Mr. Charlie Ghansah, the first Ghanaian whose data was captured
In certain cases, applicants showed up without their online application forms - either they had forgotten them at home or simply did not print them at all for presentation.
In other cases, the applicants had not completed their forms well and needed to re-do it. It may interest you to know that one applicant seemed to have been tired of completing the forms and therefore instead of entering the necessary information required in one particular mandatory field, she wrote "Why do I have to answer so many questions?" in that field. Such an attitude is not only disrespectful to the embassy but also it slows down their work. In the just mentioned case, Mr. Samuel Adotey Anum, the Minister Consular had to talk to the applicant, who then had to refill that field with the necessary information.
Finally, although the leaders of Ghana Union Freiburg had done their "homework" well by passing on the details concerning the data capturing, some even did not bother to do the online application nor send their names to be included in the list of names which had to be sent to the embassy prior to the data capturing. They simply showed up on one of those two days, thinking their data could be captured. When told that online application was a pre-requisite for the data capturing, one man wanted to know where he could find the website of the Ghana embassy Berlin.
It is not necessary for the lay mind to understand the technicalities involved in the process. What is important for the applicant to know and understand is that prior to the data capturing, the embassy needs the online passport application data. It's therefore very important for the leaders of the local unions to explain this work process in simple terms to all. The necessary steps prior to the data capturing have to be taken seriously. Taking things for granted delays the work process. It does not only waste the time of the embassy team but also that of the applicant and others who are waiting to be attended to.
I must, however, stress here that applicants who came on the second day, played their part well. They did all that was expected of them prior to the data capturing and like in the case of Mr. Ghansah, the work process was smooth and faster. Some of them came from Karlsruhe and Mannheim. It's in fact cheaper and time-saving than to travel at a later date to Berlin. The fact remains that very soon, one can only travel with a bio-metric passport.
This sheds some light on the difficulties the embassy is facing in processing visas, passports and other documents. Some Ghanaians who seek the services of the embassy simply do not take their part of the entire process seriously and such attitudes delay working processes. Perhaps, we can learn from this and also pass it on to all Ghanaian communities in and across the country.
In a nutshell, the data capturing in Freiburg was very successful but with some few mishaps due to the careless attitude of some applicants.
By Aaron Hooper
UGAG Deputy Secretary
TopAfric Media Network