Visas for Ghana
Most expats will need to do some research and ensure that they have the correct visa for Ghana before arriving in the country.
Nationals of certain countries may be exempt from needing a tourist visa for Ghana, whereas others will receive one upon arrival. However, when it comes to moving to Ghana, all expats, regardless of nationality, will be required to apply for a work and/or residence permit.
Tourist visas for Ghana
Most people travelling to Ghana will need to get a tourist visa in their home country before arriving in Ghana. However, nationals of most African Union countries can obtain a visa on arrival in Ghana and do not need to apply for a visa in their home country before travelling to Ghana. Citizens of these countries will instead receive an entry visa stamp upon arrival at the airport in Accra or at one of Ghana’s seaports.
Nationals of all ECOWAS states, including Nigeria and Senegal, are exempt from acquiring a visa altogether. Citizens from most other countries must apply for an entry visa at the Ghanaian embassy or high commission in their respective country.
On the application form, foreigners will be required to specify whether they want a single- or multiple-entry visa, which will be valid for a maximum of three months. However, the time of validity is not the actual permitted duration of one’s stay in Ghana. The immigration officials at the point of entry will stamp a passport stating that any single stay in Ghana may be no longer than 60 days.
Work permits for Ghana
Expats are only able to work within certain sectors in Ghana. The government has immigrant quotas in place that limit the number of foreigners who can be employed by companies operating in Ghana. These regulations aim to reduce unemployment in the country and give preference to the local workforce where possible.
For foreigners who are able to secure a job in Ghana, the next step is to apply for both a work permit and a residence permit. Applications for work permits must go through the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS), and most employers should be able to assist with this process.
Work permit applications must be done in person at the GIS headquarters in Accra. In most cases, the employer will submit the documents on a foreign worker's behalf before they arrive in the country.
The processing time for work permits in Ghana is four to six weeks, so expats are advised to apply as soon as possible, as it is not possible to start working until the permit has been fully approved.
Work permits are usually granted for the length of the contract or a maximum of two years. After this period, expats will need to apply for a renewal.
Residence permits for Ghana
Those moving to Ghana for work will also need to apply for a residence permit. This requires both the expat and the employer to work together in supplying the GIS with a variety of documents. Even though some of the documents would have already been provided for the work permit application, they will nevertheless need to be resubmitted.
Permanent residency in Ghana
Expats are only eligible to apply for permanent residency in Ghana if they meet the following criteria:
They are married to a Ghanaian citizen who has lived in Ghana for five or more years and they wish to stay in Ghana indefinitely
They have resided in Ghana for more than 10 years and can prove that they have made a substantial contribution to the Ghanaian economy