How to Get Residency
***Please note that most of what I am writing is my own personal experience of coming from the UK. It would be a good idea to seek information from the relevant bodies.***
When we arrived in Ghana we had a visa from the UK to enter Ghana. It was a 2 year residents visa which I thought entitled us to come and go in and out of Ghana for 2 years. This is not the case. If you get a 2 year visa from the UK it will allow you to enter Ghana within a 2 year period (BIG DIFFERENCE!). Even if you have a 2 year visa once you arrive at Kotaka airport your passport will be stamped for “60 days”.
What does this 60 days mean? It basically means that you are allowed to stay in the country for 60 days after which you have to either apply for an extension or leave.
At this point you have 6 options if you want to stay:
1. You can start a business
2. You can get a job and apply for a working permit
3. You can apply to extend your visa every 3 months at the immigration centre
4. You can apply for a residents permit
5. You can apply for dual citizenship if your country allows it.
6. You can overstay (I would never advise you take this option)
Option 1 (Start a Business)
If you decide to follow option 1 then you can go ahead and start a registered business. The amount you pay to start this will depend on if you are going into the business alone or if you are going in, in partnership with a Ghanaian.
Options 2 (Apply for a job)
This option comes with a yearly fee. The fees can change a lot depending so I won’t try and state the amount here.
You may find that your employer will pay this cost for you or you may have to do so yourself.
Option 3 (Extend your Visa)
Option 3 is definitely not the easy option. Although the fee averages about 50ghc ($11 / £8.40) every 3 months it is a very tiring process to travel back and forwards for renewal.
Option 4 (Get A Residents Permit)
From a UK perspective you can apply for a residents permit IF you know 2 people in Ghana who could vouch for you. “Technically speaking” you would become their dependent. These 2 people would obviously have to be residents of Ghana. They would need to provide back statements, proof of land or something similar and a letter of reference on your behalf.
This seems quite long winded (to me anyway) but once it’s done, it is well worth it and is fairly easy to renew every year after this point.
Option 5 (Dual Citizenship)
Dual citizenship has been around for a good few years now and many have taken this route. It basically means that you are agreeing to be a citizen of 2 countries. In order to get this the 2 countries you are choosing have to be in agreement that you can do this. Some countries take part in it, others do not, so you would need to check with your country.
Personally we have not gone down the dual citizenship route simply because until someone can show me a piece of paper with the repercussions of taking dual citizenship I’ll wait.
There is nothing wrong with dual citizenship I just like to know what I’m signing up for. It works perfectly well for a lot of people.
Option 6 (Overstay)
Don’t do it! It’s not worth the headache you will get at the airport when you want to leave Ghana. Potentially you will be at someone’s mercy. Don’t put yourself in this position unless you are willing to pay any price to get on that plane. Just don’t do it.
If anyone knows of any other options please do let me know. I am not the fountain of all knowledge but I do believe in sharing what I do know.
I will be continually updating this page as I learn more so do keep checking back.