Over the past year, the Government of Ghana through the relevant State bodies, has relaxed the immigration regime to enable Africans from the Diaspora and tourists alike to easily travel to Ghana to participate in the Year of Return activities. These immigration concessions have ranged from reduction in visa fees to requesting international airline to relax visa demands prior to embarking to Ghana.
Given the expected large number of travelers that have planned to visit Ghana during this season, it is important to shed light on these concessions. This piece is the second of a 5 part series on the immigration, residency and investment matters that may be relevant to the African Diaspora community in particular and travelers to Ghana in general.
In this piece, we provide guidance on how to obtain visa to Ghana through the relevant state agencies involved in visa issuance to Ghana during the concession period.
Acquiring Ghana Visa for the Year of Return:
The first part of this article looked at the recent directive by the Government to airlines to allow travelers coming to Ghana for the Year of Return events to board airlines without visas or pre-approved ones.
However, the fact is that not all international airlines are complying with this directive, which may cause some confusion with travelers. Thankfully, the visa regime has still been made convenient enough through the State’s relevant agencies as explained below to enable any prospective traveler intending to come to Ghana to still make it.
Acquiring Visa through Ghana Embassies/Missions abroad –The Ghana’s Embassies/Missions abroad are the foremost body to grant visas to anyone intending to visit Ghana from a country where Ghana has an Embassy/Mission. A prospective traveler, in addition to filling a statutory form and providing some basic documents may include a letter from the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) to benefit from a 50% discount ($75) or its equivalent applied on the standard visa fees of $150. Where one is unable to obtain the introductory letter from the GTA, the full fees may be applied.
Acquiring an Emergency Entry Visa from Ghana Immigration Service — In case where an applicant for various reasons is unable to access a Ghanaian Embassies/Missions to acquire a visa, an Emergency Entry Visa (pre-approved visa) can be obtained from Ghana through a local sponsor/host within a shorter time (within 1-3 days) and sent to the traveler to enable him/her embark on the trip. Upon arrival in Ghana, the actual visa is issued into the traveler’s passport at the Airport by Immigration Service. Where the GTA introductory letter is included in the application document, the discount pertains else an applicant may be required to pay the full fees.
Ghana Tourism Authority – the GTA has been the lead state agency promoting, organizing events and operating as the overall implementing agency for the Year of Return. Beyond providing general information and issuing support letters to visa applicants on request, they have set up a Year of Return Desk at the Kotoka International Airport assisting in diverse ways for the smooth entry and exit of travelers.
Festus Owooson & Joshua Hormenoo
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