COMING TO GHANA?
Just as happens in every sovereign state, there are set protocols to be followed to legally gain the permission of entry, and Ghana is no exception.
For the record, the gateway to Africa, Ghana, is home to the most hospitable human species you will ever come across in your lifetime.
The Ghana Immigration Service is the frontline agency responsible for the entry, residence and employment of foreign nationals in Ghana following the provision of the Immigration Act (Act 573), 2000.
Subject to the conditions of the Immigration Act any person who is seeking to enter into Ghana;
a) Must have a valid passport or other travel document and valid visa to enter Ghana where applicable.
b) Must have been exempted from obtaining a visa to enter Ghana.
c) Must have his name endorsed upon a visa and is in the company of the holder or the visa.
d) Must have applied and been granted an emergency entry permit, or
e) Must have been admitted to diplomatic status by the Government of Ghana.
VISA (REGULATION 4(I) (D) OF L.I. 1691)
A visa may be obtained from Ghana Embassies/High Commissions, Consulates or other Embassies authorized by the Government of Ghana to issue visas on her behalf.
Emergency Entry Permit valid for 14 days may be obtained where on the application has been filed on behalf of the foreign national by other national’s host with the Director of Immigration indicating;
Personal details including nationality, place of residence in Ghana, Occupation or business to be followed or undertaken while Ghana;
Particulars of passport;
Proposed date of arrival;
Purpose of visit and duration of stay;
A statement to the effect that the applicant will not undertake or participate in any activities which might offend the religious beliefs or any section of the community;
In case of a passenger passing through Ghana, the route to be followed; and
An undertaken by the applicant to return any pass granted.
Has had security furnished by bond, deposit or a letter of guarantee by the person who guarantees the foreign national visit.
a) Please note that applicants must satisfy the conditions that the distance between their place of abode and the Ghana Consular office should be such that the impromptu nature of your journey could not make it possible for them to travel to the office for a visa;
b) That the applicant (s) is proceeding to Ghana at a short notice for business transactions;
c) That the applicant is a guest of the Government or a member of a delegation which is coming to Ghana at the instance of the Government at short notice, or
d) That the entry permit of an applicant who is a person resident in Ghana has expired while the applicant was outside Ghana.
Having obtained the requisite visa, visitors must satisfy the Immigration officer on arrival that;
i. He is genuinely seeking entry for a limited period as stated by him.
ii. He will leave Ghana at the end of the period granted him.
iii. He will not take up any employment while on visitor’s permit.
iv. He does not intend to study in any school.
v. He will not be of public charge.
Before his entry is allowed at the point of entry a maximum of 60 days stay (90 days in the Case of ECOWAS nationals) is granted. The extension of the duration of the stay is allowed provided that the approving officer is convinced that conditions set above have been met.
PROCEDURE FOR EXTENSION OF STAY
Visitors may abide by the following procedure in their application for extension of stay.
Completion of the requisite application forms obtained from the Immigration Headquarters or the nearest Regional Commands of the Service.
Provision of two current passport-sized photographs.
An application letter from those who wish to stay for a period more than 3 months stating the reason (s) for the request.
Provision of a valid return ticket or any form of guarantee that the visitor will leave the country at the end of the period requested for.
Provision of documentary evidence of intent to invest in Ghana (applicable to would-be investors only).
Provision of a valid passport; and
The payment of the requisite processing fee.
Please note that employment is restricted while on visitor’s permit.
VISITORS IN TRANSIT
A person, seeking entry clearance to enter Ghana in transit and is not a prohibited Immigrant may be admitted for a period not exceeding 48 hours. The Immigration officer at the point of entry must be satisfied that.
The visitor has a valid visa and is assured of entry into the destination country.
The visitor I exempted from sustaining himself in the transit and destination countries. The visitor may not decide to terminate his journey in the transit country.
Prospective travellers must note that the possession of the appropriate documents does not confer a right of entry. Travellers may be refused entry into Ghana if they fall within the category of prohibited immigrants and if they do not satisfy immigration requirements at the point of entry. The Ghana Immigration Service will not be financially liable for their repatriation. The carrier, master or agent of the aircraft, vessel, and the vehicle will be wholly or severally responsible for his immediate removal from Ghana and carrier liability will be extracted where applicable.
MIGRATING AS A REFUGEE
The Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) involvement in activities of Refugees
Under the 1951 convention on refugees to which Ghana is a signatory, a refugee is someone who:
has a well-founded fear of persecution based on his/her race, religion, nationality or membership in a particular group or political opinion and is outside his/her country of origin.
Persons fleeing war zones, persecution or persons from refugee-producing countries do not necessarily require travel documents to enter Ghana. It is generally accepted if such persons enter either through an approved/unapproved route. If refugee/asylum seeker enters Ghana through an unapproved route, he/she must, however, proceed to the nearest immigration office for the necessary formalities after entry.
*The Ghana Immigration Service in collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is involved in the initial registration/vetting/screening exercise of refugees/asylum seekers in the country.
*The Ghana Immigration Service is also a member of the Ghana Refugees Board (GRB) - the final deciding authority as far as the granting of refugee status in the country is concerned.
*In a situation where an application for refugee status is accepted /granted by GRB, the applicant is referred to UNHCR for refugee Identity Card.
If a refugee no longer requires refugee protection/assistance and seeks employment, then he/she must contact GIS Headquarters, Accra for the relevant permits: in this case, residence permits. This will only be issued after the applicant has obtained a work permit from the Ministry of Interior.
However, if the application for refugee status is refused by GRB, the applicant is served with a refusal letter. The law grants the applicant the right to appeal in writing to the Minister of Interior for reconsideration within thirty (30) days of notification of refusal.
Whilst a person awaits the result of his/her appeal, the applicant is permitted to remain in the country until the final decision is taken on his/her appeal.
In an unfortunate circumstance where an appeal is rejected, the law says such a person must be given reasonable time not exceeding 3 months to look for a third country of option to seek asylum.
Collaboration with UNHCR
The Ghana Immigration Service collaborates with UNHCR in the following ways:
* registration/vetting/screening exercise of refugees/asylum seekers.
* liaise with UNHCR in the formulation of policies concerning refugees/asylum seekers.
* in formulating strategic planning in the management of refugees/asylum seekers in Ghana.
* in an expected influx of refugees in cases of civil unrest in a neighbouring West African Country, The Ghana Immigration Service liaises with UNHCR to formulate contingency plans and measures to contain the situation should it arise.
* assist involuntary repatriation of refugees to respective home countries.
* liaise with UNHCR in the management of refugee settlements camps.
HOLIDAY/TOURIST VISA B-2
A person seeking to enter Ghana for a holiday should
(a) Have a valid passport, or any other travel document.
(b) Be not persons exempted from obtaining a visa to enter Ghana.
(c) Have applied and granted an emergency permit or visa
(d) Be a person admitted to Diplomatic Status by the Government of Ghana
Visitors on holiday in Ghana are not to engage in any form of employment or trade.
EMERGENCY ENTRY VISA /VISA ON ARRIVALVisa on Arrival
The Ghana Immigration Service has introduced this visa policy to cater for visitors/business people who travel at short notice from countries where Ghana has no mission or consulate. The policy authorizes visas to be granted on arrival at the airport or other entry points subject to satisfaction of specific Immigration requirements
REQUIREMENT FOR EMERGENCY ENTRY VISA
An application letter from the host, stating where the traveller is coming from (If the host is a Company/Organization, it must be on letterhead).
State where the traveller is going to lodge.
How the traveller is entering the country (KIA, Aflao, Elubo, or Paga).
How long the traveller is going to stay.
A photocopy of the traveller’s passport (Biodata page).
VISITING GHANA: TRAVEL DOCUMENTS
All persons entering Ghana must have a valid passport or Travel Document issued by competent national or International authorities recognised by the Government of Ghana.
All foreigners entering Ghana require entry visas except those listed under Exemptions below. Entry visas may be obtained before arrival from a Ghana Embassy, High Commission or Consulate abroad. Where Ghana has no Consular or Diplomatic representation, an application for entry visas may be made to the nearest British Diplomatic Mission or Consulate authorized by the Government of Ghana to act on its behalf.
Entry visa may be issued on arrival if the Director of Immigration has prior notification from travellers or their sponsors. This entry visa is valid for 14 days within which the prospective traveller should have embarked on the journey.
The application may be made directly to:
Director of immigration
Ghana Immigration Service
Private Mail Bag
Ministries Post Office
Tel: (233 -21) 221667,224445
Fax: (233 -21) 258249