Residence Permit in Ghana

Residence Permit in Ghana

Ghana is a dynamically developing country on the west coast of Africa which has a population of over 32 million people and is particularly rich in natural resources. It is the largest gold miner in Africa and the second largest cocoa producer in the world. The local government is proactively developing industry, tourism and the service sector, inter alia, through foreign capital. According to the World Investment Report 2022, Ghana is the second largest recipient of direct foreign investments in West Africa.

The political situation in the country is stable: according to the Global Peace Index 2022, Ghana is the most peaceful country in the region and the second most peaceful in the entire continent.

If you add beautiful African landscapes, local flavour and the low cost of living, you will understand why the country is so popular for relocation. Read on to learn how you can obtain a temporary or permanent residence permit here.

How to Get a Residence Permit in Ghana?

Anyone coming to Ghana can legally apply to the Immigration Office for a residence permit. If you plan to stay in the country for more than three months, you have to register at the nearest immigration office. Violation of this rule will be followed by punishment, up to and including imprisonment. By contrast, if you have a legal residence permit, you can live in Ghana for at least six months with no worries.

There are two key types of residence permit in Ghana:

  • A temporary residence permit is issued for various periods not exceeding eight years. In practice, temporary residence permits tend to be valid for shorter periods, with the option of an extension.
  • While a permanent residence permit has no validity period, the individual must be present in the country. If you leave Ghana for more than 12 months, you may find that your residence permit has been rescinded automatically.

Accra. Photo: Ifeoluwa A. (Unsplash)

Grounds for the Issue of a Temporary Residence Permit

There are several grounds for the issue of a temporary residence permit in Ghana.

  • Shareholders, but only if they are citizens of fthe Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and own shares of local companies.
  • Working foreigners including missionaries and members of non-governmental organisations.
  • Workers legally employed in the country. However, the government has established special quotas for foreigners. In addition, the procedure for obtaining a residence permit on this basis can vary. As well as the standard documents, applicants have to provide confirmation from the Ministry of Interior, the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) or the administration of free economic zones in the country. Basically, all residence permits of this type are issued based on similar procedures, but via a different application form and fee.
  • Students. To get a student residence permit, you have to visit the foreign student office of your educational institution and submit an application for a residence permit. 
  • Spouses of local residents. These applicants first have to prove the validity of the marriage. In this case, you need to provide a letter from your Ghanaian spouse in addition to the marriage certificate, as well as a guarantee from two citizens of the country that they will cover the applicant’s expenses in case of repatriation.

Sajuna Beach Club. Photo: Kofi Nuamah Barden (Unsplash)

Grounds for the Issue of a Permanent Residence Permit

If a foreigner intends to live permanently in Ghana, there are two options:

  • Marriage. The spouses of Ghanaian citizens are eligible for permanent residency if they have lived legally in the country for at least three years before the filing of the application. Furthermore, they must not leave the country during the last year.
  • Naturalisation. You will get a permanent residence permit in Ghana if you had a temporary residence permit for eight years and lived in the country during this period. You have to stay continuously in the country for the past 12 months. The applicant also has to prove their good behaviour: in this case, the written testimonies of two Ghanaians with a high social status are considered powerful arguments. These could be lawyers, notaries, senior officials, etc.

Documents Required for the Issue of a Ghana Residence Permit

To obtain a residence permit, you need to contact the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS). You have to submit the application together with a certificate of no criminal record, your passport or ID. In addition, depending on your situation, you will need either the marriage certificate and documents of your Ghanaian spouse, or an employment contract and the registration documents of the employer. You might also need a letter on the approval of the work quota, documents from your university, etc.

When applying for residence permit, you must also undergo a medical exam at the GIS headquarters.

Accra. Photo: lapping (Pixabay)

Fees for Residence Permits

There are various fees for obtaining a residence permit in the local currency, the Ghanaian cedi (GHS). The amount of the fee depends on the grounds for obtaining a temporary or permanent residence permit.

Type of residence permit
Fee for ECOWAS citizens
Fee for other foreign citizens
Student temporary residence permit
GHS 150 (USD 29)
GHS 200 (USD 38)
Shareholder temporary residence permit
GHS 400 (USD 76)
Temporary residence permit for missionaries and members of non-governmental organisations
GHS 300 (USD 57)
GHS 300 (USD 57)
Temporary residence permit for the workers of local companies
GHS 500 (USD 95)
GHS 1,000 (USD 190)
Temporary residence permit based on the GIPC quota
GHS 300 (USD 57)
GHS 500 (USD 95)
Temporary residence permit for the spouses of Ghanaian citizens
GHS 200 (USD 38)
GHS 300 (USD 57)
Permanent residence permit
GHS 3,000 (USD 571)
GHS 4,000 (USD 762)

In a Nutshell

To obtain a residence permit in Ghana, you must enter the country legally. Then you should contact the immigration office for a residence permit. You can do this if you are a student, the spouse of a local resident, an employee in a local company, and so on. After living in the country for three to eight years, you can obtain a permanent (indefinite) residence permit.

Cover photo: lapping (Pixabay)

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