Ghana is a democratic country in West Africa bordering with Togo in the East, Burkina Faso in the north, Ivory Coast in the West and the Gulf of Guinea in the South.

The country forms part of ECOWAS, the economic trade union of West African states. Today, the country has a population of around 27 million and was the first sub-Saharan nation gaining independence in 1957.

The economy is mainly dominated by agriculture and mining. More recently Ghana has discovered extensive oil fields offshore with a size of approximately 3 billion barrels.  Especially the oil and mining sector require the importation of foreign skills.


The legislation governing immigration in Ghana is the Immigration act from 2000 and Immigration Regulations of 2001.

The main agency responsible for entry, employment and residence in Ghana is the Ghana Immigration Serivce (GIS).  In addition, several other agencies have an active role in Ghana’s immigration system such as the Petroleum Commission (PC) in respect of companies active in the Petroleum industry, the Minerals Commission (MC) in respect of companies active in Mining, the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) for other companies with non-Ghanaian participation, the Free Zones Board (GFBZ) for companies registered as Free Zones companies and the National Communication Authority (NCA).  These agencies are involved in various ways such as the issuance of immigrant quotas and recommendation and authorisation processes to companies looking at employing foreigners within their firms.

The process of obtainin full work authorisation consists of 3 steps:

  1. A recommendation has to be obtained from any of the above agencies applicalbe to the industry the hosting company in Ghana is active in. For example, a company active in the mining industry has to obtain a recommendation letter for every new foreign worker, while companies active in the Oil & Gas industry have to apply for such a recommendation by the Petroleum Commission.
  2. Once this recommendation has been given, the employer has to send an application to the Ghana Immigration Service resulting in a Work Permit.
  3. Once the Work Permit has been issued a Residence Permit has to be applied for. Once this permit has been issued a foreign worker is allowed to start work in Ghana.

Above 3 steps have to be followed, even for a short term workpermit. 

Note that a business visa does not allow the holder to undertake any work in Ghana and is restricted to actitivies such as business meetings and conferences. In certain circumstances very short installation and repair of certain equipment can be undertaken on an business visa.

Actual short term work can be conducted on a short term work permit valid for a period up to 6 months at a time. This permit is not renewable.

When you wish to work in Ghana as a foreigner on a long term basis a long term workpermit has to be applied for.  The three step process described above is applicable. A long term workpermit is issued for a period of 12 months and is renewable.

Automatic quotas can be issued to fully or partially owned foreign employers with investments made into Ghana. Depending on the invested capital the Ghana investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) can grant a work permit quota regulating the number of expats that can be employed. The employer has to be registered with the GIPC first.

A residence permit has to be applied for after obtaining a work permit. This permit allows the foreigner to ‘reside’ in Ghana. Among required documents that will have to be provided with the application are a valid workpermit, a medical report, police clearance report from home country, passport copy of the applicant etc. The processing time for a residence permit is approximately three to four weeks.

Spouses and other dependant family members may apply for a residence permit along with the main applicant in order to receive authorisation to reside in Ghana.

Foreigners of 6 years or older who reside in Ghana for 90 days or longer cumulatively have to apply for a Non-Citizens Ghana ID card.

This is a special workpermit category created for foreigners working the oil and gas industry. A rotator permit can be issued for up to 6 months while a long term permit is valid for 6 to 12 months.

Note that citizens from any Ecowas (West Africa) countries can apply for a special Ecowas workpermit . The process is significantly easier than for any other nationals.

IBN is specialised in Immigration to Ghana and can assist you with all of above permits. We have offices throughout South Africa and a trusted partner based in Ghana so whatever your situation is we are always near you.

We will first do free a consultation, on which visa or permit would be the correct one for you. We advise on the required documentation and compile the complete application on your behalf. We will help you save time gathering the required documents to finalize your application. 

There is great advantage in having a reliable local representative who will submit the application in Ghana, and also collect the resulting documents for you.