Who is a Dual Citizen?
A person is a dual citizen if they hold the citizenship of at least two countries. Not all countries allow dual citizenship. Countries which do not allow dual citizenship would require prospective applicants to renounce their citizenship before they would be granted the citizenship of that country. Ghana, like many other countries, allows its citizens to hold the citizenship of another country in addition to their Ghanaian citizenship.
Who can register as a dual citizen?
A citizen of Ghana can apply to be registered as a dual citizen if they hold the citizenship of another country and that country allows its citizens to hold dual nationalities. There are generally two classes of applicants who are eligible to apply for dual citizenship in Ghana.
The first class of applicants are citizens of Ghana who hold the citizenship of another country in addition to their Ghanaian citizenship. These applicants would usually hold both their Ghanaian passport and the passport of their second country.
The second group are citizens of another country who also qualify for Ghanaian citizenship on the basis of birth, descent, or other qualifying basis. Applicants under this category are required to produce sufficient evidence of their claim to citizenship. Evidence may include their birth certificate, passport biodata page of their Ghanaian parent or grandparent, birth certificate of their Ghanaian parent or grandparent, or in rare cases, declarations from relatives attesting to their claim to Ghanaian citizenship, etc.
Upon being registered as dual citizens, applicants under this category would be entitled to apply for a Ghanaian passport in addition to the passport of their other country.
I previously renounced my Ghanaian citizenship. Can I apply to register as a dual citizen?
To be eligible to register as a dual citizen, you must be legally recognised as a citizen of Ghana and in addition to another country. A person who has renounced their citizenship is not legally recognised as a citizen of Ghana and therefore ineligible to apply for dual citizenship.
Such a person may however apply for the grant of right of abode status. Right of abode status allows the holder to live indefinitely in Ghana, travel in and out of Ghana without a visa, and to pursue work or employment without a work permit.
How can one apply for registration as a dual citizen?
An application for registration as a dual citizen may be made directly to the Minister of the Interior in Ghana or through a Ghana diplomatic mission abroad for onward transmission to the Minister for processing. The applicant must complete Form 10 and attach all applicable supporting documents. Most applications must be supported by the following supporting documents.
- Copy of Ghanaian passport, if applicable
- If the applicant does not hold a Ghanaian passport, his or her birth certificate and the passport biodata page of their Ghanaian parent or grandparent
- Copy of the biodata page of the passport of the foreign country
- Copy of naturalization or registration certificate, if applicable
- 4 passport photos
In addition, the applicant would be required to provide this information in the application:
- Their full name, place and date of birth
- Name, place and date of birth of parent
- Particulars of both Ghanaian and foreign passport
- Current residential address in Ghana and abroad
- Basis upon which both Ghanaian and foreign citizenship were acquired
- Particulars of any employment, occupation or business
The applicant must complete all relevant portions of the form and sign a declaration attesting that all the particulars provided in the application are true. The declaration must be sworn before a Justice of the High Court, a Notary Public, or a Head of a Ghana Mission or Consulate abroad, as applicable.
What happens after my application is processed?
Upon successful processing of the application, the applicant will be issued with two documents, namely:
- A dual citizenship certificate; and
- A dual citizenship ID card.
The dual citizenship certificate is issued on the basis of Form 11 of the Citizenship Regulations, 2001 (L.I. 1690). It comes in hard paper with an embossment of the applicant’s photo. The certificate has a statement confirming that the holder has been registered as a dual citizen under section 16(5) of the Citizenship Act, 2000 (Act 591).
The certificate includes details of the holder’s full name, place and date of birth, and their residential address. Other details include their profession or occupation, their second nationality, particulars of both passports, and names and nationalities of their parents.
When a registered dual citizen is travelling to Ghana on their foreign passport, they may be required to obtain a Ghana visa. The holder must present their foreign passport along with the dual citizenship ID to the immigration officer at the port of entry.
Are there any privileges for a dual citizen?
A person who registers as a dual citizen would be entitled to any of the following privileges:
- Be issued with a Ghana passport or other travel document.
- Be permitted to remain in the country without limitation if they entered the country on a Ghana passport
- Leave Ghana on the same passport that they used to enter the country
However, it is an offence for a dual citizen to use a Ghana passport interchangeably with a foreign passport to deceive an immigration officer. A person found guilty of this office may face penalty in the form of a fine, imprisonment or to both.
What are the benefits of dual citizenship?
Dual citizenship policy is generally considered to confer on the holder the following benefits:
- It provides the individual the right to obtain passports from either country of citizenship
- It creates a simple procedure for individuals to revisit their former homelands for extended period of time
- It creates opportunity to pursue employment opportunities in either country of nationality
- It adequately caters for those who believe to hold equal allegiance to both countries of their citizenship
What are the disadvantages of dual citizenship?
- It exposes dual citizens to expectation that they should contribute for example, national service or taxation to their former countries
- It is believed to sometimes complicate domestic legal issues like custody disputes, especially when a party points to one country’s domestic laws as the applicable law
- It is believed by some to run counter to the notion of national identity, loyalty and allegiance
- The holder may enjoy limited rights in certain countries by the operation of certain national laws. For example, dual citizens in Ghana are prohibited from holding certain public offices.
What is the processing time for dual citizenship registration?
The processing time for dual citizenship registration depends on where the application for registration is lodged. It usually takes within 6 weeks to process applications lodged at the Ministry of the Interior. Applications lodged at a Ghana Mission or Embassy abroad for onward transmission to the Minister for processing takes quite a longer processing time.
What is the cost of registration as a dual citizen?
The application fee is GHS500. The applicant must pay an additional fee of GHS50 upon being issued with their dual citizenship certificate and ID card. There may be additional fees for attesting the form before a Notary Public.