immigrationBRIEF HISTORY

The Ghana Immigration Service started as the Immigration and Passport Unit of the Gold Coast Colonial Police Force under the command of Mr. Nevile C. Hill.

On attainment of independence in 1957, the rapid expansion of the economy coupled with Ghana’s role as a trailblazer in the African liberation struggle led to the country being swamped with foreign businessmen, tourists and African aliens.

To control this influx, a Cabinet decision in 1960 transferred the Immigration Unit to the Ministry of the Interior as a separate department, while the Ministry of Foreign Affairs took over the issuing of passports. These measures were taken to enhance service delivery. Three (3) years later, the aliens Act 1963, Act 160 was enacted to give legal backing to immigration operations.

In November 1989, by PNDC Law 226, the Immigration Department was converted into a Paramilitary Service.

Established under PNDC Law 226 in 1989, the Ghana Immigration Service remains the sole institution with the statutory mandate to regulate and monitor the entry, residence, employment and the exit of foreigners in the country. The passage of Immigration Act 2000, Act 573 expanded the functions and roles of the Service. Prominent among these are the Indefinite Residence and Right of Abode facilities.


Delivering excellence in immigration management for national development

Mission Statement

Our purpose is to build a stronger and better Ghana by operating fair but firm Immigration controls that regulate and facilitate the movement of people through Ghana’s borders; and efficient, effective residence and work permit systems that meet the social and economic needs of the country.


Our cardinal aims are to maintain an effective, efficient control on and after entry, which meets prescribed service standards and to do so in a professional, cost effective way, and also contribute to economic growth and improved standards of living for residents of Ghana through the facilitation of increased tourism and foreign investment. In pursuit of these aims, our main objectives have been to:

  • To ensure that people who do not qualify for entry under the various Immigration laws and regulations such as PNDCL 226,  the Immigration Act 2000 and the Immigration Regulations 2001 do not enter Ghana.
  • Ensure that applications for permits are handled efficiently and effectively amongst other things encouraging investment to Ghana.
  • Deal expeditiously with departing passengers.
  • Ensure that people who have no entitlement to remain in Ghana are removed expeditiously, and that firm action is taken against  people who facilitate or harbour illegal migrants.
  • Lastly, to co-operate fully with other agencies that have a legitimate interest in the movement of people in and out of Ghana, and of their presence in the country.

specific Objectives

  • To regulate entry into Ghana in a manner that facilitates travel and business while ensuring border integrity.
  • To maximize deterrence to unlawful migration.
  • To deliver fair, timely, high quality service to our numerous customers.
  • To manage our resources efficiently, effectively and economically.
  • To improve the speed of processing Visa Applications.
  • To secure improvements to the processing of arriving and departing passengers.
  • To process efficiently and effectively applications for Ghanaian passports and residence permits.
  • To monitor, control and reduce the fraudulent acquisition and use of travel document.
  • To ensure that Ghana’s Immigration Laws are consistent with best international principles and practices.
  • To improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the enforcement of the Immigration Laws.
  • To develop and implement an efficient and effective Human Relations Policy.


The Ghana Immigration Service is the government agency responsible for the enforcement of all statutory and regulatory enactment relating to immigration.

Apart from regulating and monitoring the movements and activities of foreigners in the country, the Service also serves as a front line agency, which ensures that the vision of Ghana becoming the gateway to Africa is achieved.

  • Examination of travelers entering or leaving Ghana.
    Examination of application forms of foreign nationals applying for extension or variation of existing permits.
  • Examination of applications for visas, entry permits and permits for entering prohibited areas, and authorization of such visas and permits in appropriate cases.
  • Issuance of permits to foreign nationals.
  • Control of foreign nationals in Ghana , their employment and movements; ensuring that foreign nationals comply with the Immigration laws and regulations.
  • Facilitation of the economic development of Ghana by ensuring that unnecessary restrictions are not placed in the way of foreign nationals wishing to enter or remain as investors.
  • Provision of advice about the Immigration laws and regulations, to people wishing to enter, remain in or leave Ghana .
  • Investigation of breaches of the Immigration laws and regulation.
  • Registration at Regional and District Immigration offices of all foreign visitors for statistical purposes.
  • Conduct of court prosecution of foreign nationals in Ghana without permits.
  • Processing of passport applications in the Districts and the Regions.
  • Liaising with other agencies with responsibilities for security, the combating of crime and other issues relating to the public good.
  • Provision of information to other agencies with a legitimate interest in people entering, remaining in or leaving Ghana .
  • Ensuring compliance with the provisions of the GIPC, Social Security and Income Tax Laws.
  • Issuance of Permanent Residence Status and Indefinite Stay Status to deserving applicants.
  • Facilitating the implementation of Dual Citizenship Act 2000, Act 591 of 2000.

Working in Ghana - Work Rights


  •  No foreigner shall employ or accept employment in Ghana unless that person is granted a work permit or Immigrant quota.
  •  Work permit or Immigrant quota is an authorization granted to an employer or employee to engage in lawful and gainful employment in Ghana .
  •  Work permit or Immigrant quota specifies the job title and indicates the employer by whom that person is employed and the holder cannot engage in any other employment, business, profession or occupation in Ghana for reward than what is specified by the work permit or Immigrant quota.
  •  Foreign spouses with special skills may on application to the Minister of Interior be issued with work permits to work so long as they remain with partners who have lawful residential status in Ghana .
  •  A foreigner that has been granted work permit or immigrant quota cannot start working immediately in Ghana unless that person is granted residence permit by the Director of Immigration to remain and work in the country.
  •  When a foreign national begins to work for an employer in Ghana, the employer will have to give notice to the issuing authority for work permit or Immigrant quota no later than seven days after commencement of employment in a prescribed form, indicating the commencement date with a copy to the Director of immigration. Additionally, a letter of guarantee in respect of repatriation expenses of the employee should be submitted to the Director.
  •  Similarly, the employee will have to give notice of the commencement date to the issuing authority not later than 7 days after the commencement of employment with a copy to the Director of immigration.
  •  If a foreign national ceases to work in Ghana the employer will have to give notice of the cessation not later than 7 days after the cessation to the issuing authority with a copy to the Director of immigration and shall comply with the directions of the Director as to the arrangements for the repatriation of the employee and his dependants, if any.The employee will also have to give likewise notification.
  •  An individual or body corporate to whom work permit or immigrant quota is granted, is obliged to submit annual returns, not later than the 14th day of January in each year to the issuing authority with a copy to the Director of immigration, giving names and addresses of all foreign employees in their employment as at 1st January.Other particulars which may be prescribed will also have to be provided.
  •  An employer is liable to pay all repatriation expenses of an employee and his dependants if the employee ceases to work for the employer and repatriation becomes necessary. 
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