Foreigners staying for more than 90 days must have a Ghana card for sim card registration — Telcos

A mandate has been given by National Communication Authority (NCA) indicating that foreigners living in Ghana or with intentions of staying in the country for more than 90 days have until 31st March to re-register their SIM cards or risk losing their numbers.

For this purpose, they are required to get their Ghana Cards from the National Identification Authority (NIA)

The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications, Dr. Ken Ashigbey, explained in an interview that the re-registration was for the SIM cards and not for persons or personalities.

“The exercise is not just for Ghanaians; it’s for SIM cards in use in Ghana, so whether they are for calls or data, they have to be registered, and that is the regulation. It does not matter who owns the cards — all that is required is a valid Ghana Card.

“For non-Ghanaians who are in the country for more than 90 days or visitors coming to stay for more than 90 days, they will have to acquire Ghana cards and then go through the registration exercise,” he told the Daily Graphic.

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Dr. Ashigbey said discussions are still ongoing to decide on the fate of people who will be in the country for a brief period but who require the use of SIM cards.

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He explained that for the interim people would need valid passports or ECOWAS cards to acquire and register SIM cards.

“For those who will not stay long, those who will be in the country for a short stay, which is less than 90 days, they can use their passports to register for SIM cards, as has been the norm all this while.

“We are still discussing what the best plan will be for non-Ghanaians who arrive for brief stays but who would still require SIM cards,” he added.

Dr. Ashigbey also expressed his satisfaction with the current process of SIM re-registration especially after the initial challenges of slow service and long queues that left many customers frustrated. 

“I must say that I am very happy with how things are going on at the moment with the exercise. The speed has improved, the queues are no longer long as they used to be.

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“We have put in place plans to conduct the exercise in some companies and churches and plans are also in place to take this approach to the regions. However, the feedback is that many people are calling at the various registration points without having completed the first phase.

“I would, therefore, encourage people to complete the first step, which is to dial *404# to follow the prompts to link their SIM cards with their Ghana cards. After that, they can go to the centers for the second phase. This will help the process move faster,” he said.

NIA told the press in an interview that even before the commencement of the SIM re-registration, ex-pats in the country were required to have a Ghana as a form of ID, so also have their own ongoing registration exercise.

Unlike the free registration for Ghanaians, foreigners who had to acquire the Ghana Card had to pay for it, it said.

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“Before the SIM card re-registration, foreigners living in the country were required to secure Ghana cards and so there is an exercise at the head office for that.

“However, beyond that, we have agreed with the NCA and the mobile network operators (MNOs) that foreigners who are in the country for a short stay can register with their passports, while those who will be in for more than 90 days will have to put in applications for Ghana cards, which will be used to acquire SIM cards,” the Head of Corporate Affairs of the NIA, Abudu Abdul Ganiyu, explained.

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