Ghana

24 M
Population
Cedi
Currency
When is the best time to visit Ghana?
  • The very best time to go is from December to January (neither hot nor cold)
  • A good time to go is from July to September and from November to February (if you pack the right clothes)
  • This is purely from a climate point of view of course.
Safety and security

Political situation

Demonstrations in the capital Accra are normally well policed and peaceful, but sometimes they occur at short notice and can cause disruption. You should remain vigilant and avoid any demonstrations, monitor local media for up-to-date information and follow the advice of the local authorities.

Crime

Most visits to Ghana are trouble free, but incidents of petty and violent crime do occur. Avoid carrying large sums of money or valuables, use a hotel safe whenever possible and be particularly vigilant when withdrawing cash from ATMs.

Take care at public beaches and avoid going to the beach on your own. Theft is the main problem, but there have been isolated incidents of sexual assault.

Theft of luggage and travel documents occurs at Kotoka International Airport and in hotels. Make sure your passport is secure at all times and don’t leave baggage unattended. Be wary of offers of help at the airport unless from uniformed porters or officials. All permanent staff at the airport wear an ID card showing their name and a photo. ID cards without a photo are not valid. If you are being collected at the airport, confirm the identity of your driver by asking for ID. British nationals have been robbed by impostors who have approached them before the main arrivals area pretending to be their driver.

There has been an increase in street crime in Accra this year. If you’re visiting Accra you should be vigilant, particularly at night. Avoid travelling alone and where possible try not to walk to and from destinations. There have been cases of violent robberies involving foreign nationals who have been attacked and robbed at gun point.

There has been an increase in petty crime, like pick pocketing, bag snatching and opportunistic theft on certain roads in Accra. The main areas of risk highlighted by the police are: Graphic Road, George Walker Bush Highway, Accra Mall Roundabout, Awundome Cemetary Road, Pokuase-Amasaman Road, La Beach area and Teshie-Nungua Road. You should be especially vigilant in these areas; keep windows up and vehicle doors locked.

If you’re unlucky enough to be caught up in an armed robbery, you should immediately comply with the attackers’ demands. Those who have suffered injury or worse during such attacks have been perceived as not complying fully or quickly enough.

Most armed robberies occur at night though some incidents have happened during daytime. Be vigilant and drive with doors locked.

Make sure you lock windows and secure accommodation both at night and before you go out.

Scams

British nationals are increasingly being targeted by scam artists operating in West Africa. The scams come in many forms - romance and friendship, business ventures, work and employment opportunities, and can pose great financial risk to victims. You should treat with considerable caution any requests for funds, a job offer, a business venture or a face to face meeting from someone you have been in correspondence with over the internet who lives in West Africa.

If you or your relatives or friends are asked to transfer money to Ghana you should make absolutely sure that it is not part of a scam and that you have properly checked with the person receiving the money that they are requesting it. If the caller claims to be in distress, you should ask whether they have reported the incident (by phone or e-mail) to the British High Commission in Accra.

If you have sent money to someone you believe has scammed you and are contacted by a police officer for more money to help get your money back, then this is possibly another part of the scam. Scam artists have also been known to use the identity of officials at the British High Commission in Accra. If you receive an email from someone claiming to be an official at the British High Commission, contact the officer using the phone numbers or contact details for the British High Commission.

Local travel

As a result of occasional local Chieftancy, land disputes and political tension, isolated inter-ethnic violence and civil unrest can occur at any time; specifically but not exclusively in the Northern, Upper East and Volta Regions. When there’s unrest, it’s normal practice for local police to impose curfews that usually run from 7pm to 5am but these times can vary.

Recent localised violence and unrest in Bimbilla has resulted in the deaths several people. A curfew has been imposed from 6am to 4pm. You should remain particularly vigilant, follow local media and the advice of the local authorities.

This follows a renewed government curfew on conflict areas in the northern and Volta regions in July 2016 which included Bimbilla, Alavanyo and Nkonya townships, Nakpanduri and the surrounding communities of Kpatritings, Bonbila, Borgni Boatarrigu and Sakagu. If you’re visiting the area, check local advice about curfew times before you travel.

If you’re travelling to the northern region, remain alert to the potential for new outbreaks of fighting. Keep in touch with daily developments through the local media.

Flooding is common in the upper west, upper east and northern regions during the rainy season (March to November). You should monitor local weather reports and expect difficulties when travelling to affected areas during this season.

Road travel

You can drive in Ghana using an International Driving Permit or a local driving licence. A UK driving licence is not valid. If you’re applying for a local driving licence from the Ghana DVLA, you must get your UK driving licence authenticated by the UK DVLA. You should carry your driving licence or International Driving Permit with you at all times when driving.

Roads are mainly in a poor condition, particularly in rural areas. Street lighting is poor or non-existent. Avoid travelling by road outside the main towns after dark, when the risk of accidents and robbery is greater. Grass or leaves strewn in the road often means an accident or other hazard ahead.

Safety standards on small private buses, known as ‘Tro-Tros’ and taxis are often low. Don’t use ‘Tro-Tros’ outside the major towns and cities. Avoid travelling alone in taxis after dark.

Air travel

The FCO can’t offer advice on the safety of individual airlines. However, the International Air Transport Association publishes a list of registered airlines that have been audited and found to meet a number of operational safety standards and recommended practices. This list is not exhaustive and the absence of an airline from this list does not necessarily mean that it is unsafe.

A list of recent incidents and accidents can be found on the website of the Aviation Safety network.

In 2006 the International Civil Aviation Organisation carried out an audit of the level of implementation of the critical elements of safety oversight in Ghana.

Sea travel

There have been attacks against ships in and around Accra’s waters. Be vigilant and take appropriate precautions.

Swimming

Swimming is dangerous on the beaches along the southern coast of Ghana due to rip tides and undertows.

Terrorism

There is a general threat from terrorism. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners. Terrorist groups in West Africa have recently demonstrated their capability and intent by mounting attacks in Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Mali, targeting beach resorts, hotels, cafes and restaurants visited by foreigners. Be especially vigilant in these locations.

There is considered to be a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.

Find out more about the global threat from terrorism, how to minimise your risk and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack.

Local laws and customs

Ghana is a conservative and deeply religious country. Although modern and progressive attitudes also prevail, you should show respect for traditional values and morals.  

Dress modestly in public.

Wearing military clothing including camouflage is prohibited.

Don’t become involved with drugs of any kind. Penalties for drug related offences are severe. Even possession of small amounts of marijuana can lead to a prison sentence in excess of 5 years, usually after a lengthy and expensive legal process. Bail is not normally granted. Class A drugs like cocaine are likely to be laced with other substances. Foreign visitors, including British nationals, have died after taking these drugs.

Carry a photocopy of your passport with you at all times, and put the original document in a safe.

Homosexuality is illegal. Although there is a small gay community, there is no ‘scene’ and most Ghanaians don’t accept that such activity exists.

Photography near sensitive sites like military installations or the airport is strictly prohibited. Ask permission if you want to take a photograph of a building where there are guards on duty. Beware of self-appointed officials trying to charge fees to take pictures of well-known sites of interest.

Ghanaian family law is very different from UK law, particularly when child custody becomes an issue.

Entry requirements

The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.

The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.

Visas

British passport holders need a visa to enter Ghana. For further information contact the Ghanaian High Commission in London. You should note the number of days the Ghanian immigration service will stamp into your passport upon arrival, irrespective of the validity of your visa.

Overstaying without the proper authority can lead to detention or refused permission to leave the country until a fine is paid.

Dual nationality

Ghana recognises dual nationality. To avoid visas fees, Ghanaian-British nationals should register with the Interior Ministry in Ghana and get a Dual Nationality card. Production of this card at point of entry into Ghana will indicate that a visa is not required.

Passport validity

Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Ghana.

UK Emergency Travel Documents

UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are not valid for entry or transit through Ghana. However, ETDs are accepted for exit from Ghana.

Yellow fever certificate requirements

Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.

Volunteering

If you are travelling to work in a volunteer programme or for work experience you should be fully aware of the terms and conditions of your stay and be sure that you will be working for a reputable organisation before you commit yourself to travel.

Residents

All foreign nationals who meet the eligibility criteria must register with the National Identification Authority (NIA) of Ghana and get a non-citizen Ghana card. This applies to:

  • foreign nationals permanently resident in the country
  • foreign nationals resident in the country for at least 90 days in any calendar year
  • all foreign nationals aged 6 years and above

If you live in Ghana you should register with the National Identification Authority (NIA) of Ghana and get a non-citizen Ghana card. This applies to:

  • foreign nationals permanently resident in the country
  • foreign nationals resident in the country for at least 90 days in any calendar year
  • foreign nationals aged 6 years and above

A non-citizen Ghana card is required to apply for a residence permit, for admission into educational institutions in Ghana, for all financial transactions including opening a bank account, payment of taxes, registration of sim cards, and applications for public or government services, facilities, approvals and permissions. You can complete this registration process at any one of the following places:

National Identification Authority
Tetteh Quarshie
Near Gulf House
Accra
Telephone: +233 (0) 302218080

Ghana Immigration Service
(off Ako Adjei Overpass)
Independence Avenue
Accra
Telephone: +233 (0) 302258250

VFS Global
9 Kakramada Road
Cantonments
Accra
Telephone: +233 (0) 302746212

Some branches of CAL bank can also provide this service. You should ask your local CAL bank branch if they’re able to help you. Failure to procure the non-citizen Ghana card constitutes a criminal breach. For more information see the National Identification Authority website.

Health

Visit your health professional at least 4 to 6 weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures. Country specific information and advice is published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre on the TravelHealthPro website and by NHS (Scotland) on the fitfortravel website. Useful information and advice about healthcare abroad is also available on the NHS Choices website.

Medical facilities are poor outside towns. For serious medical treatment, medical evacuation will be necessary. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.

There are reports of a cholera outbreak in Accra. Some isolated cases of cholera have also been reported in northern Ghana. The Ghanaian Ministry of Health has reported an outbreak of pneumococcal meningitis with a total of 100 deaths. All regions have been affected apart from the central region of Ghana. See the Ministry’s website for more information.

Money

ATMs are common in large towns and will accept most UK cards. Credit cards are accepted at many hotels, guesthouses and some shops, but Mastercard is not widely accepted. Credit card fraud is common. Take care when using your cards, and contact your card issuer before you travel in case they put a block on your account.

Travellers’ cheques can be exchanged in large hotels, banks and bureaux de change. Travellers’ cheques from some UK banks are not accepted. Check with your bank before you travel.