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Ghana's Immigration is No Joke! But We Laughed!

We know many potential repatriates are concerned about residency policies in African countries. Most of us are leery about leaving America to settle in Africa and not being able to stay. So, this week we decided to take a trip to the immigration office to get some information on the ability of Africans born in America to reside permanently in Ghana. 

Our experience at the immigration office was very comical. Let's just say that when we started seeking this information, we realized that either you pay someone to get the real information or you will get the runaround.

We showed up at the office and the first observation was that there were more white and Lebanese people in the office than anyone else. Once we informed the receptionist of our intentions, she directed us to another building to get our questions answered. Little did we know we would leave immigration and still wouldn’t have our simple question of, "We want to know what the requirements are to acquire right of abode, dual citizenship, and to become a naturalized citizen of Ghana,” answered. All we wanted was the document/documents with these requirements. The staff sent us into so many different offices and no one could give us the information we sought. 

Eventually we came across a gentleman who attempted to assist us. When we asked about the documents outlining the requirements for living in Ghana on a permanent basis, he asked, "What business do you have in Ghana?" We answered with a puzzled confusion, "We want to live in Ghana permanently." He replied, “Do you have a business or own land in Ghana?" When we replied, "No," the man informed us we did not qualify to be permanent residents of Ghana. He stated to be citizens, foreigners must have a business, own property, and/or be married to a Ghanaian. However, we tried to explain about our blog and how we needed the written information so we could report the requirements to Africans born in America who wanted to return home. Our request just led to multiple other staff members coming into the conversation. To make a long story short, we were not provided with any documentation despite our numerous requests. Eventually, we were sent off to the visa office before being sent across town to the ministry of interior office to obtain the requested information. 

At the ministry of interior, we were able to acquire more information. We first asked about naturalization (citizenship). Acquiring naturalization is by far the hardest of the residency statuses. To obtain the application for naturalization (Form 5), there is a fee of 6,000 Ghana cedi (approximately $1,333 USD).
For a non-Ghanaian to naturalize, there is a laundry list of requirements. Here are the requirements:
  • An application letter addressed to the Minister of the Interior applying for naturalization as a citizen of Ghana
  • Copy of Residence permit or indefinite residence permit;
  • Copy of Certificate to commence business, company code, certification of incorporation;
  • Copy of landed property;
  • Copy of passport;
  • Four passport size photographs;
  • Must have resided in Ghana throughout the period of 12 months immediately preceding the date of the application;
  • Must have resided in Ghana for periods amounting in the aggregate to not less than 5 years during the 7 years immediately preceding the 12 months in number 7.
  • Have notarized letters from 2 Ghanaians attesting to the applicant’s good character; 
  • No record of imprisonment in Ghana or anywhere for an offence recognized by Ghanaian law;
  • Ability to speak and understand an indigenous Ghanaian language;
  • Must be making a substantial contribution to the progress or advancement in any area of national activity;
  • Must be able to assimilate to the Ghanaian way of life;
  • Must have the intend to reside permanently in Ghana.
  • Receipt of payment for naturalization form.
The next method for residing permanently in Ghana is through dual citizenship. To obtain the application (Form 10) for dual citizenship, there is a fee of 500 Ghana cedi (approximately $110 USD). For a non-Ghanaian to obtain dual citizenship, here are the requirements:
  • An application letter addressed to the ministry of interior;
  • A copy of the applicant’s Ghanaian passport (or their parents’/grandparents’ passport if the applicant does not have a Ghanaian passport);
  • A copy of the applicant’s foreign passport;
  • Four passport size photographs
  • Copy of foreign birth certificate
  • Processing fee of 100 Ghana cedi (approximately $20 USD)
  • Receipt of payment for dual citizenship form

The next method for residing in Ghana is through the Ghanaian constitution which grants decendants of Africans the right of abode. To obtain the application there is a fee, the amount which was not disclosed to us. To obtain the right of abode, here are the requirements:
  • Submit completed application to the immigration office;
  • An application letter addressed to ministry of interior;
  • Have notarized letters from 2 Ghanaians attesting to the applicant’s good character and that they have known the applicant personally for at least 5 years;
  • An applicant declaration of no criminal conviction or imprisonment for a term of 12 months or more; 
  • Documentation of financial standing:
  • Capability of applicant to make a substantial contribution to the development of Ghana;
  • Must have resided in Ghana throughout the period of 24 months immediately preceding the date of the application;
  • Must have resided in Ghana for periods amounting in the aggregate to not less than 5 years during the 7 years immediately preceding the 24 months in number 7.
  • Processing fee of 1000 Ghana cedi (approximately $220 USD).
We were informed that the processing of the application should take 3 months. However, the immigration officer told us, "There is no guarantee on when a determination will be made on the application." The real story is that these applications are rarely processed and from what we have learned, the applicants are never granted the right of abode.

There are two ways to stay in Ghana on a temporary basis. A non-Ghanaian can apply for a resident’s permit or they can simply apply for one of the different visas which outline the terms of their ability to stay in Ghana. The resident’s permit can be granted for the applicant to reside in Ghana for up to 4 years. If an applicant is granted the resident’s permit, their spouse and dependents can be issued a permit by submitting the proper documents to the immigration office. At the end of the 4-year period, the applicant can apply for an extension of their permit. A non-Ghanaian can also reside in Ghana based on acquiring a visitor’s visa. If a single-entry visa is acquired, the visa holder can stay in Ghana for up to 60 days and pay the fee to renew the visa at the end of the 60-day period. If a multiple entry visa is acquired, the visa holder can stay in Ghana for up to 60 days, but must leave the country at the end of the 60-day period and then return to the country.  The applicant will not have to pay a fee to return to Ghana under the multiple entry visa if they return within the allotted timeframe granted for the visa. Staying beyond the allotted 60 days will result in the visa holder paying a fine of 400 cedis upon attempting to leave Ghana. 

We hope this information was helpful and that it can assist you in your determination of what African country is right for you. As we acquire more information, we will keep you informed. Until next time….

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  1. Thank you so much for this info. Ghana is on a very short list of places of like to visit and, at this time, the only place of like to permanently lube outside the US.

  2. Which path of residency will you choose? Thanks for this info! Folks eed to know that it takes more than just "showing up". Its a process..Great work on this one!!!

  3. This would be great material to post on my website. Do I have your permission?

  4. Most countries do tend to have laundry lists of things required to become a naturalised citizen. This is short in comparison to the Irish list actually. You do have to love African countries for 'real information' vs general information and the runaround you get.

  5. This was from last year. Can you tell me why you finally decided not to settle permanently in Ghana?

  6. Nice post. I am Ghanaian and i've been following your posts for sometime now. I know how frustrating it is to get information in Ghana or get a service rendered. This is much more in the public sector, government departments and such. The staff there intentionally frustrate people. The only way to the credible and timely information is to bribe your way through. it is sad but true

  7. Great info and great blog. I cant understand why they are making so hard to let African Americans come back