A residence permit authorizes a foreign national to reside in Ghana for a stated period. A foreign national who intends to remain in Ghana for a substantial period of time must acquire a permit for that purpose. They may be granted a permit valid up to four years in the first instance, but no more than eight tears in total, upon renewal.
A foreign national who wishes to study in Ghana, or to pursue any business, profession or employment must acquire a residence permit for that purpose. A residence permit does not walk alone. It must always be tied to a specific purpose. Thus, a residence permit may be issued to foreign nationals carrying on missionary works or to personnel of NGOs, or to shareholders of a company, or students, employees, self-employees, retirees, and dependents. A residence permit is granted on the condition that the holder cannot pursue any work, employment, business, trade or profession except as specified in the permit.
How to apply for a Residence Permit
The application must be made to the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS). The applicant must be in lawful status at the date of the application. In other words, they must have permission to live in Ghana. The application must be made in Form E, and must include an application letter addressed to the Comptroller-General requesting the grant. The letter must state their personal details, reasons for the permit, and the period sought. For employees, this may be done on their behalf by their employer on their official stationery.
If they are applying on the basis of a work permit or immigrant quota, they must produce their approval letter, the registration documents of the company, the company’s tax clearance, and the applicant’s employment letter or contract with the company. They must also show their credentials such as professional certificates and a CV. A list of the required documentation is:
Documentary Requirements for a Residence Permit for Work Permit/Quota Holder
- Application letter requesting for the grant of a residence permit
- Company Registration Documents (if on the basis of Work Permit/Quota Holder)
- Work Permit, GIPC Quota or immigrant Quota Approval Letters
- Tax Clearance Certificate from the Company
- Employment Contract or Appointment Letter
- CV or Resume
- Police Report from Applicant’s Home Country
- Medical Examination report to be conducted at the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) Headquarters
- Copies of Professional Certificates
- Copy of Ghana non-citizen ID
Renewal of Residence Permit
A holder of a residence permit may apply for a renewal of the permit. They must show that they did not violate the terms or abuse any of the privileges attached to the previous permit. A violation of any of the terms of the grant may be a basis for a refusal.
For example, a holder of a residence permit issued on the basis of work may be refused during renewal if the officer found that they engaged in, employment, profession, or business other than that specified in the permit. A residence permit may be issued for up to four years in the first instance, and no more than eight years in total, upon renewal.
The fee for a residence permit may differ on the basis of the type of permit. It may also differ on the basis of nationality as ECOWAS nationals and Ghanaians with foreign passports may pay a fee different from other nationals. The fees are for permits valid for one year.
- Resident Permit/Work Permit (ECOWAS) nationals = USD500
- Resident Permit/Work Permit (other foreign nationals) = USD1000
- Resident Permit (GIPC Automatic Quota, NGO’s, and missionaries all foreign nationals including ECOWAS) = USD300
There is also an additional cost of GHS900 for a medical examination to be conducted at the GIS. Medical reports from the applicant’s home country or any other health facility are no longer acceptable. They must obtain a Ghana non-citizen ID card at a fee of USD120, valid for one year, and renewable at USD60.
Provided all documentation are in order, the processing time for a residence permit ranges between 2 to 3 weeks.
Disclaimer: This article only provides general information and guidance on Ghana immigration. The specific facts that apply to your matter may make the outcome different than would be anticipated by you. The writer will not accept any liability for any claims or inconvenience as a result of the use of this information. The writer is an immigration law advisor and a practicing law attorney in Ghana. He advises on Ghana, U.S., UK, and Schengen immigration law. He works for Acheampong & Associates, a law firm in Accra, Ghana. He may be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org