Everything you need to know about visas for a visit to Ghana

Before you head to Ghana to dive into the calming waters lapping Labadi Beach and shamelessly stuff your face with jollof rice (one of this West African country’s staple dishes), just one thing stands in your way – getting a tourist visa.

Depending on your nationality, applying for a visa to Ghana can be a tedious process, but it’s a necessary step to enter the country. The rules vary from country to country, so it’s a good idea to check the latest requirements with your local Ghanaian embassy or consulate or the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS).

Here’s everything you need to know about the visa requirements for traveling to Ghana.

Get trusted guidance to the world’s most breathtaking experiences delivered to your inbox weekly with our email newsletter. Wooden fishing boats with colorful flags dominate a sandy beachTravel in Ghana is all about the atmospheric towns and beaches along the coast © World Trek Photography / 500px

Some nationalities can travel to Ghana visa-free

Nationals of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) – which includes most of Ghana’s close neighbors – can visit Ghana without a visa for 90 days. Citizens from Singapore, Trinidad and Tobago, and Mauritius can also visit without a visa for 60 days. 

African Union citizens can apply for a visa on arrival in Ghana

Citizens of countries in the African Union that are not part of ECOWAS – a long list that includes South Africa and countries in North Africa – can obtain a visa on arrival valid for 30 days after paying the required fee, usually US$150. A full list of member countries can be found on the African Union website. 

Everyone else needs to apply for a visa in advance of their trip to Ghana

Other visitors must apply for a tourist visa before traveling to Ghana. To apply, you’ll need a passport valid for at least six months, proof of a yellow fever vaccination (required for all visitors), a copy of your return ticket or travel itinerary, an invitation or reference letter (which can be from your accommodation in Ghana), and some passport photographs taken not more than three months before the date of the submission.

Visa requirements vary from embassy to embassy, so check with your local office for the exact requirements where you live. The visa cost varies depending on your nationality, but it is typically around US$60 for a single-entry visa valid for 90 days, and US$100 for a multiple-entry visa valid for six months. First-time visitors usually opt for a single-entry visa, but the multiple-entry visa is best if you are visiting Ghana along with other countries in the region, to avoid having to go through the visa application process again.

Elephants drinking at a waterhole in Mole National ParkSet aside some time to travel north to nature reserves such as Mole National Park © AWL Images RM / Getty Images

You can extend a tourist visa once you’re in Ghana

Visitors can extend their stay in Ghana by visiting one of the local immigration offices; there are offices throughout the country, including in Takoradi, Paga, Koforidua and Cape Coast. It is best to physically visit one of these offices when you are approaching the end date of your visa, as it can be hard to get reliable information by phone or online.

The current requirements for extending a visa can be found on the Ghana Immigration Service website – you’ll need to complete the proper forms and provide two current passport-sized photographs, a letter stating your reason for an extension request if staying for more than three months, a valid airline return ticket and a valid passport, and there’s a fee.

Working holiday visas are not offered in Ghana

Visitors wishing to work in Ghana must obtain a job offer from a local company and go through the complicated paperwork required by the Ghana Immigration Service to obtain a work permit. The GIS website details the application requirements, but note that work permits are usually only granted for people with specific skills that are hard to find in Ghana.


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