What is a Ghana Residence Permit?
A residence permit is an authorization granted to a non-citizen to reside in Ghana for the period of time stated in the permit. A noncitizen who enters Ghana would usually be admitted for a period of 60 or 90 days depending on their nationality. If they wish to reside in Ghana for a substantial period of time, (usually more than 90 days) they may have to obtain a residence permit.
On what basis can a residence permit be issued?
A person seeking to obtain a residence permit must show a purpose for seeking to live here. A residence permit must always be tied to a specific purpose. Thus, a residence permit may be issued to noncitizens carrying on missionary works or to personnel of NGOs, or to shareholders of a company, or students, employees, self-employees, and retirees. They may also be issued to spouses and children of Ghanaians. Residence permits may also be issued to spouses and children of holders of residence permits, indefinite residence permits, and right of abode status.
A residence permit does not authorize the holder to pursue any work, employment, business, trade, or profession unless authorisation is specified in the permit.
How may one apply for a residence permit?
An application for a residence permit must be made in the prescribed form to the Comptroller-General of the GIS. The applicant must be in lawful status at the date of the application. The application must include an application letter stating your 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 the application is made on the basis of a work permit or immigrant quota, it must be supported by the letter approving the quota, the registration documents of the company, the company’s tax clearance (for existing companies), and the applicant’s employment letter or contract. Currently, all principal applicants for residence permits must produce a medical report from the GIS clinic in Accra. Dependents are excluded from this requirement.
If the application is made as a dependent (spouse or child of a principal holder), they must produce a marriage or birth certificate, as applicable.
If the application is not sponsored by an employer, the application must be supported by two Ghanaians with copies of their valid national IDs. As a condition for the grant of the permit, the guarantors must jointly execute a bond of guarantee or security in the appropriate forum. By so doing, the guarantors undertake to be liable for any deportation or repatriation expenses up to the value of the amount stated on the bond, should the retiree or any of their dependents be required to leave Ghana. At least, one of the guarantors must provide proof of sufficient means to support the bond or guarantee.
What are the documentary requirements for the application?
- Two recent passport-size photos
- Application letter in support
- Copies of business license, if applicable
- GIPC Certificate or Immigrant Quota Approval Letter, if applicable
- Tax Clearance Certificate from an existing company, if applicable
- Applicant’s employment contract or appointment letter
- The police report from applicant’s home country
- Medical report from the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) clinic
- Birth certificate, if applicable
- Marriage certificate, if applicable
- Execution of a bond or security for two Ghanaian guarantors, if applicable.
- Bank statement from a sponsor/guarantor (for dependents)
- Copy of noncitizen Ghana Card
Is a residence permit renewable?
The holder of a residence permit may apply for a renewal of the permit within one month before the expiry of the permit. An application for renewal may be refused if there is evidence of a violation of any of the conditions attached to the original permit. The applicant will also become immediately liable for removal or repatriation.
An application for a renewal is not treated of course but assessed as a fresh application. The application must be supported by all relevant documents. The fee payable for a renewal of a permit is the same as in the original application.
Most applications are approved for one year in the first instance. The maximum duration of a residence permit in the first instance is four years. The applicant may be eligible for a longer duration of renewal.
Can dependents of applicants also apply for a residence permit?
Dependents of the principal holder are eligible to apply for a residence permit to remain with the principal holder in Ghana. The principal applicant in this case is the principal holder. Like the principal holder, a dependent cannot pursue any business, profession, or activity for reward on the basis of their permit.
Again, the length of a permit granted to a dependent cannot exceed that of the principal holder, since the dependent derives their status from the principal holder. Therefore, should the permit of the principal holder be revoked for whatever reason, any permit issued to a dependent on the basis of the principal is automatically void?
What are the government fees for obtaining a residence permit?
The fee for a residence permit may differ on the basis of the type of application. A permit issued for work or employment, for example, may differ from that issued to a dependent. Again, an applicant’s nationality may determine how much they may pay in fees. Nationals of the ECOWAS community, for example, are usually subject to lesser fees than their counterparts elsewhere.
In addition to the government fees, there are other costs connected to the application. There are costs for the medical examination for the principal applicant. There is also the cost of obtaining a noncitizen ID card for each applicant aged 6 years and above. The applicant must also produce a police clearance certificate from their own country
The processing time for most residence permits is usually 6 weeks from the date of the application.