- Download our Moving to Ghana Guide (PDF)
Expats will need to do some research and ensure that they have the correct visa before arriving at a Ghanaian point of entry.
Nationals of certain countries may be exempt from needing a tourist visa for Ghana, whereas others will receive one upon arrival. When it comes to moving to Ghana, most expats from outside the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) will be required to apply for work and residence permits.
Tourist visas for Ghana
Most people travelling to Ghana will need to get a tourist visa in their home country before arriving in Ghana, but nationals of certain countries can obtain a visa on arrival or can enter visa-free. Citizens of ECOWAS member states and some other African countries are exempt from entry visa requirements to Ghana, while nationals of African Union members can obtain a thirty-day visa on arrival.
Those who don’t qualify for visa-free entry or a visa on arrival 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 need a single-entry visa or a multiple-entry visa, valid for a maximum of three months.
Anyone intending to enter Ghana on a tourist visa must provide proof of Yellow Fever vaccination. They must also ensure their passport will be valid for at least six months after their entry in Ghana, and they will need to supply proof of accommodation and return travel tickets.
Business visas for Ghana
A business visa is essential for professionals and entrepreneurs looking to engage in business activities in Ghana. This type of visa is explicitly tailored for individuals intending to attend business meetings, seminars, conferences or explore business opportunities in the country. Typically, a business visa’s duration is shorter than a tourist visa, often valid for up to 30 days, but can be extended if necessary.
It’s crucial to note that a business visa does not grant permission to work in Ghana; for employment, one would need to apply for the necessary work permits. When applying for a business visa, applicants may require proof of the business activities they intend to undertake, including invitation letters from Ghanaian companies, conference registrations or other relevant documents.
Residence permits for Ghana
People from outside ECOWAS moving to Ghana for work will likely need a residence permit and a work permit. The residence permit application process requires many of the same documents as those needed to apply for a work permit. Once granted, residence permits are valid for between one and four years and are renewable for up to eight years in total.
Expats with a residence permit for Ghana are entitled to apply for a similar permit for their dependants, including their spouse, children under 18 and parents over 60.
Permanent residency in Ghana
Expats are eligible to apply for permanent residency in Ghana if they meet one of the following criteria:
- They are married to a Ghanaian citizen and have lived in Ghana for three or more years
- They have lived in Ghana for at least six years within the last eight years and made significant contributions to Ghana’s economy
The applicant must also have resided in Ghana throughout the twelve months immediately preceding the date of the application.
*Visa and work permit requirements are subject to change at short notice, and expats should consult their respective embassy or consulate for the latest details.
What do expats say about visas and work permits for Ghana?
"The work visa and resident visa process can take a long time. Most expats are employed prior to moving to Ghana, and if married, the trailing spouse is given a resident spouse visa, which does not allow for in-country paid employment." Read Australian expat Chris's interview for useful advice on visas and working in Ghana.
"Obtaining a visa or work permit in Ghana is a simple process in theory. However, the bureaucracy makes it difficult to process. It is advised that patience is needed when applying." Read dual-citizen David's interview for more on the visa process.
►For an overview of the job market, read Working in Ghana
►Read Embassy Contacts for Ghana for a list of foreign representatives
Are you an expat living in Ghana?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Ghana. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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