Gambia: Immigration authorities resume issuing passports

Gambia: Immigration authorities resume issuing passports

Gambian authorities resumed the issuance of passport barely two months after a ban was officially placed on it to protect the integrity of national documents.

The government issued ‘strict’ guidelines, mainly to prevent non-citizens from obtaining Gambian travel documents and identification cards.

First-time applicants will have to personally appear before immigration officials and those living outside the country, including those seeking to have their lost or expired documents replaced, will have to appear before a consular officer at the nearest embassy or consulate.

Gambians in the Diaspora say that may be difficult, if not impossible. The Gambia does not have a consulate or embassy in every country and most nations were Gambians live in like the U.S., UK and Germany are large.

“These measures are taken to avert fraudulent acquisition of Gambian passports and to ensure that our national documents are obtained through legal sources,” said Interior Minister, Mai Ahmad Fatty.

There could be a 30-day clearing period prior to the processing of a new application or for replacement of expired or lost valid passport unless it is absolutely urgent and necessary, authorities say.

The former Gambian regime has been accused of issuing Gambian passports, including diplomatic passports to non-citizens, an act, which has prompted authorities in Hong Kong to remove its visa-free travel for Gambians.

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