Ghana is one of the most attractive countries for immigration and obtaining citizenship on the African continent. Tourists come here to experience the rich and exotic culture, while investors and entrepreneurs find interest in the country’s economic potential. Here is what you need to know about who can become a citizen of Ghana and how to achieve it.
Who Can Become a Citizen of Ghana
You can acquire Ghanaian citizenship by birth if one or both of your parents are Ghanaian citizens. Even the grandchildren of Ghanaian citizens are eligible for citizenship. This rule applies to applicants born after the Constitution of 1992 entered into force, whether they were born within the country's borders or abroad. Additionally, adopted children under 16 years of age are also eligible for citizenship.
Ghana offers the possibility of acquiring citizenship through marriage, which is referred to in local legislation as "citizenship through registration." To obtain a passport through marriage to a Ghanaian citizen, one must demonstrate that their marriage is genuine and that they have been living in the country for at least five years.
Accra. Photo: kojo nana (Unsplash)
Ghanaian Citizenship through Naturalisation
The most challenging path to obtain Ghanaian citizenship is through naturalisation after an extended period of residence in the country. The Ministry of the Interior holds the authority to determine eligibility for citizenship through naturalisation, with the final decision subject to approval by the country's president.
To become a Ghanaian citizen through naturalisation, the applicant must meet the following requirements:
- Long-term stay in the country: a total of at least five years of residence in the last seven years. Please note that before applying, you need to have lived in Ghana continuously for one year.
- Two Ghanaian citizens to vouch for you: they can be notaries, lawyers, or public servants who can confirm your reliability.
- A clean record with no criminal history.
- Proficiency in Ghanaian dialects and integration into society.
- The ability to make a substantial contribution, often financial, to the country's development.
- Intent to keep living in Ghana.
- An active residence permit.
Documents to Receive Citizenship
To apply for Ghanaian citizenship, you will need to provide the following documentation:
- An application for citizenship.
- Passport and visa (residency permit) as a proof of your legal stay in the country.
- Birth certificate (if you are applying for citizenship by birth).
- Marriage certificate (if applicable).
- A letter of consent from your spouse (if citizenship is based on marriage to a Ghanaian citizen).
- A police clearance report from your country of original citizenship and the Police Criminal Investigations Department of Ghana.
- Proof of residence in the country (e.g., utility bills, lease agreements).
- Proof of integration into local society (e.g., knowledge of local dialects, employment or enrolment in educational institutions).
The processing time for Ghanaian citizenship applications may vary depending on the grounds of application and can range from several months to several years. For example, applications for citizenship through registration (based on marriage to a Ghanaian) typically take approximately eight months to process, while applications through naturalisation may take six months or longer.
The fee for the consideration of an application based on marriage to a Ghanaian is 3,000 cedi (approximately $260), while for naturalisation, the fee is double that amount.
Volta. Photo: Yoel Winkler (Unsplash)
Dual Citizenship in Ghana
All citizens of Ghana are allowed to hold dual citizenship, which means that you do not have to renounce your original passport if you obtain Ghanaian citizenship. Dual citizenship holders in Ghana must obtain a special certificate and a card.
Foreigners who wish to apply for dual citizenship in Ghana should first review the laws and regulations of their country of origin regarding dual citizenship. If their home country permits dual citizenship, the Ghanaian authorities typically do not object to it.
Staying in Ghana with a Residence Permit
You can reside in Ghana for an extended period by obtaining a residence permit. Typically, the initial residence permit is valid for a period ranging from one to four years. It's important to note that you can stay in Ghana under a residence permit for a maximum of eight years.
You can obtain a residence permit in Ghana for various purposes such as studying, working, or starting your own business. Additionally, retirees who have sufficient financial means to support their living in the country or own local real estate can also apply for a residency permit. However, it's important to note that purchasing residential or commercial property in Ghana does not automatically grant you citizenship in the country.
In a Nutshell
The most straightforward path to acquire Ghanaian citizenship is through marriage to a Ghanaian citizen or having a family in the country. Obtaining citizenship through naturalisation is a more challenging yet still attainable route. To achieve this, you will need to reside in the country for an extended period under a residence permit and demonstrate your reliability, proficiency in local dialects, commitment to integrating into society, and willingness to contribute to the country's development.
Cover photo: Peduase, Volta. Shameika M. Black (Unsplash)