The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced the opening of additional passport application centers (PACs) in Africa and Asia, while two mobile application centers will operate in the Americas, a release from the Ministry has said.
PACs will shortly be opened in Accra, Ghana; Abuja, Nigeria; and Beijing, People’s Republic of China (PRC); while two mobile PACs will be sent to Washington, D.C., U.S.A. Passport officers will travel to areas of the U.S. and Canada with high concentration of Liberians and the need for the service is long overdue.
According to the release, on Tuesday, December 13, PACs will be formally launched in Accra, Ghana. It will become operational immediately to serve Liberians in Ghana and neighboring countries, while the PACs in Beijing, and Abuja, Nigeria will be opened in January and February 2017.
The opening of these additional PACs and the deployment of the mobile application centers is expected to accelerate the issuance of the remaining passports under an existing contract, which extension is being negotiated by government.
The Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Justice, Finance and Development Planning, the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), International Bank as well as the contractors, Buck Press, held two days of meetings to review the existing contract.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has indicated that applicants will be able to pay passport fees, make appointments online and visit the nearby PACs to do fingerprinting and photographing. After the completion of the application process, the Bureau of Passport and Visas in Monrovia will then receive and review the application information and issue passports within five-working days or less, which will save applicants the cost of travelling to Liberia.
The online payment platform will also allow government to track revenue generated from the sale of passports with direct deposits in one central location instead of in accounts at the missions where the centers are located, the release further said.
Applicants wishing to obtain passports abroad are urged to visit the passport website at www.liberiapassports.com to complete the application form, schedule appointments and make payments using Visa, MasterCard or United Bank of Africa Liberia Ltd. (UBA) credit cards. A bank service fee of 3 percent of the designated price per passport will be charged on non UBA bank cards while a service charge of 1.25 percent will be charged applicants using UBA bank cards.
This means that applicants paying with a non UBA bank card will pay US$200+$6, which goes to the Bank as a service charge while applicants using a UBA card will pay US$200+$2.50 as service charge fee to the bank.
Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry has disclosed that arrangements are being made to deploy additional mobile passport application centers in the immediate future to other countries where there are large concentrations of Liberians.
Besides Washington, D.C. and New York in the U.S.A., PACs can be found at the Embassies of Liberia in the United Kingdom and Brussels, Belgium.