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Ghana

Ghana
Republic of Ghana
Last Updated: March 7, 2018
Exercise normal precautions in Ghana. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Exercise normal precautions in Ghana. Some areas have increased risk.  Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Exercise increased caution in:

  • Certain precincts of Accra due to crime.
  • Certain areas of Upper West, Upper East, Northern, Volta, Western, Brong Ahafo, and Ashanti due to crime.

Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.

If you decide to travel to Ghana:

Accra

Violent crime, such as armed robbery, is common in the following precincts:

  • Avenor
  • Sowutuom
  • Sukura
  • Agbogbloshie
  • Ashaiman
  • Nima

Local police may lack the resources to respond effectively to serious crime.

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens as U.S. government employees are instructed to avoid these precincts of Accra and are prohibited from travel at night to or through the precinct of Agbogbloshie.

Upper West, Upper East, Northern, Volta, Western, Brong Ahafo, and Ashanti

Violent crime, such as armed robbery, is common in:

  • Upper West:  Lawra and Wa Central
  • Upper East:  Bawku
  • Northern:  Bimbila, Bunkprugu, Tolon, Sagnarigu, and Yendi
  • Volta:  Nkwanta South, Hohoe, Ho Central, Adaklu, and Ketu South
  • Western:  Jomoro and Bia West
  • Brong Ahafo:  Techiman South, Tain, Berekum West, and Berekum East
  • Ashanti:  Bantama, Asokwa, Nhyiaeso, Manhyia North, Manhyia South, Suame, Oforikrom, and Asawase

Local police may lack the resources to respond effectively to serious crime.

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in these areas as U.S. government employees are prohibited from travel at night outside of major cities and are encouraged to avoid these areas outside of Accra.

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Embassy Messages
Alerts
Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:


6 months validity

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:


One page for stamp

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:


Yes

VACCINATIONS:


Yellow fever

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:


Maximum of $5,000 USD

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:


Maximum of $5,000 USD

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Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Accra

No. 24 Fourth Circular Road,
Cantonments, Accra
Ghana
Telephone:
 +233-(0)30-274-1000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +233-(0)30-274-1000

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Destination Description

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Ghana for information on U.S. - Ghana relations.

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Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Visit the Embassy of Ghana website for the most current visa information.

Documentation of yellow fever vaccination is required for those over nine months of age upon arrival in Ghana.

Foreign nationals who are over six years old and who have been physically present in Ghana for a cumulative period of 90 days or more during a calendar year are required to register with the National Identification Authority (NIA). NIA will issue registered foreign nationals a Non-citizen Ghanacard. The Non-citizen Ghanacard will be necessary for all transactions that require identification, i.e. opening bank accounts, obtaining work permits, acquiring driver’s licenses, etc. A Non-citizen Ghanacard does not guarantee issuance of a local driver’s license if you are not resident in the country for a specific period of time.

A list of permanent registration centers, fee requirements and answers to frequently asked questions can be found on the NIA website.

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Ghana.

Find information on dual nationality, prevention of international child abduction and customs regulations on our websites.

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Safety and Security

Avoid political rallies and street demonstrations and maintain situational awareness at all times. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence.

West Africa, to include Ghana, faces an increased threat from transnational terrorist groups. Terrorists have carried out attacks and/or kidnappings targeting Westerners in Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Mali..

There are a number of ongoing chieftaincy disputes in Ghana that generally involve competition over limited resources. Several of these disputes have erupted into violence and unrest during recent years. Exercise caution in rural areas and remain alert to outbreaks of unrest.

Refer to the U.S. Embassy Accra website for the most updated safety and security information.

CRIME: Street crime is a serious problem, especially in Accra and other larger cities. Pickpockets and thieves carry out crimes of opportunity such as “snatch & grab” attacks on city streets in crowded areas, as well as from vehicles idling in traffic. Violent crime, including reports of armed robberies is on the rise. Residential robberies are also on the rise, especially after dark, and resisting robbers can lead to serious injury. Robbers may wait outside houses to ambush residents as they enter or exit the property. Vehicle theft and thefts of items from vehicles are very common. Armed robbery is common on highways.

Please see Travel & Transportation section for more information.   

Be safe:

  • Travel in groups
  • Avoid travel at night and in poorly lit areas
  • Do not use highways after dark
  • Don’t use shared taxis or communal mini-buses (locally called “tro-tro”)
  • Limit your display of jewelry
  • Handle cash discreetly
  • Pay close attention to those around you or following you
  • Carry limited amounts of cash and only photocopies of key documents
  • Store expensive valuables in your hotel safety deposit box or room safe
  • Consider increased safety measures, such as a security guard, for your home
  • Lock your vehicle
  • Do not leave items in plain sight in your vehicle
  • Park your vehicle in well-lit areas

The theft of luggage and travel documents occurs at Kotoka International Airport in Accra and in hotels across Ghana. Keep your documents secure at all times and don’t leave your baggage unattended. Be wary of all offers of unsolicited assistance at the airport from anyone other than uniformed porters or officials.

Armed robbers have targeted travelers leaving Accra’s Kotoka airport. A common tactic is to deliberately cause a minor road traffic accident to stop a car, and to then rob the occupants. If your car is hit by another car it is best to drive to the nearest police station and report the incident.

For information about crime trends in Ghana, the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of Ghana Police Service issues advisories on the Ghana Police Service site.

Credit card fraud is common. Exercise caution when using credit and ATM cards in Ghana. It is very common for credit card terminals to be tampered with. Skimming is the primary means of credit card fraud and is undetectable until fraudulent charges appear on statements. If you choose to use a credit card anywhere in Ghana, monitor your credit card activity closely.

See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information on scams.

Victims of Crime:

Report crimes to the local police at the nearest police station or at +233 (0)30-277-3906 and contact the U.S. Embassy at +233-(0)30-274-1000 ext. 1570.

Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crime.

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

We can:

  • help you find appropriate medical care
  • assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
  • provide a list of local attorneys
  • provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
  • provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
  • help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • replace a stolen or lost passport

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.

For further information:

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Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the U.S., regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.

Smoking: Public smoking is illegal in Ghana. The U.S. Embassy is aware of arrests for cigarette smoking in public places, but has not received reports of prosecutions.

Building Construction Standards: Be aware that building construction standards are often lower than those found in the United States. These lower standards have contributed to building collapses, fires, and electrical shock.

Natural Resource Controls: In recent years, U.S. citizens have reported substantial financial losses from questionable transactions involving gold and other precious metals. The Government of Ghana maintains strict regulations on these natural resources. All agents must be licensed and all transactions must be certified.

Drowning Risk: Swimming in coastal waters is dangerous and strongly discouraged, even for excellent swimmers. The ocean currents along the coast are powerful and treacherous, and several people drown each year.

Romance, Financial, Commercial, and Tourism Scams: Internet romance and financial scams are rampant in Ghana. Scams are often initiated through Internet postings or by unsolicited emails and letters. Scammers almost always pose as U.S. citizens in Ghana who have no one else to turn for help. Commercial scams are also common and involve phony offers of money transfers, lucrative sales, gold purchase, inheritance, contracts with promises of large commissions, or up-front payments. If you think you might be a victim of internet fraud, please contact the Embassy at ACSAccra@state.gov before sending money to a person you had only met online as the funds cannot be recovered. For additional information on these types of scams, see the Department of State's publication, International Financial Scams and the U.S. Embassy in Accra’s website.

You should also be wary of overly-friendly locals offering tours, discounted lodging, or other services that seem too good to be true. Some U.S. citizens have been victims of false criminal accusations and have lost time and money as they seek to resolve these difficult situations. Some U.S. citizens have reported being scammed by individuals representing themselves as public officials.

Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:

LGBTI Travelers: Ghana’s criminal code outlaws “unnatural carnal knowledge” which is frequently interpreted by local authorities as consensual same-sex sexual relations. This is criminalized as a misdemeanor in Ghana. The U.S. Embassy is aware of arrests and related extortion attempts for such activities, but has not received reports of prosecutions.

See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights Report for further details.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: You may find accessibility and accommodation very different from what you find in the United States. Ghana’s Persons with Disabilities Act (2006) explicitly prohibits discrimination against persons with physical, sensory, intellectual, and mental disabilities in employment, health care, air travel and other transportation, and other domains. The government does not systematically or overtly discriminate against persons with disabilities, but such persons may experience societal discrimination.

The law provides persons with disabilities access to public buildings “as far as is practical.” However, most buildings, transportation, and educational facilities do not provide for people with special needs. Because many streets are unpaved or not well maintained, and sidewalks are not prevalent, individuals in wheelchairs or who have difficulty walking face challenges.

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers: Rape is a crime in Ghana punishable by five to 25 years in prison. However, rape is significantly underreported and remains a serious problem.

Domestic violence is a crime punishable by up to two years in prison and/or a fine. Police rarely respond to reports of domestic violence. Female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) is a crime and remains a serious problem, particularly in the north of the country.

See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

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Health

Medical facilities in Ghana are limited, particularly outside the capital, Accra. You should carry adequate supplies of any needed prescription medicines, along with copies of your prescriptions, the generic name of the drugs, and a supply of preferred over-the-counter medications.

Mosquito borne illnesses such as malaria, yellow fever, and dengue are a significant problem and prevention of bites and proper yellow fever immunization are important for all areas. Before coming to Ghana, you should consult with your physician regarding the advisibility of taking malaria prophylaxis and obtaining needed vaccinations. While in Ghana, you should:

  • Carry and use insect repellents containing either 20 percent DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535,
  • Treat clothing and tents with permethrin, and
  • Sleep in screened or air conditioned rooms under insecticide-impregnated mosquito nets.

Refer to the CDC website for health information for travelers to Ghana

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas.

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.

If traveling with prescription medication, check with the government of Ghana to ensure the medication is legal in Ghana. Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription.

The following diseases are prevelant in Ghana:

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

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Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety: Main roads in major cities are generally paved and well maintained. Other roads within major cities and many roads outside of major cities are in poor condition. Many accidents occur on the highway from Accra to Cape Coast. Travel in darkness, particularly outside the major cities, is extremely hazardous due to poor street lighting and the unpredictable behavior of pedestrians, bicyclists, and animals. Aggressive drivers, poorly maintained vehicles, and overloaded vehicles pose serious threats to road safety.

Scammers may intentionally bump into vehicles and pretend to be hit. They then attempt to extort money from the vehicle’s occupants. Scams of this nature most commonly occur in congested urban areas.

There has also been an increase in highway robberies on the road from Kintampo to Tamale in the Brong Ahafo and Northern regions. Embassy personnel are not permitted to travel at night outside of major cities and are encouraged to avoid the areas listed in our Travel Advisory.

Remain vigilant, and drive with doors locked and windows up.

Traffic Laws:  Travelers are routinely stopped at police checkpoints throughout Ghana, and vehicles and passengers may be searched. Drivers must possess an international driver’s license (available from AAA and the American Automobile Touring Alliance) or a Ghanaian driver’s license. When foreign drivers apply for their Ghanaian driver’s license they may be asked to have their international driver’s license or their home country driver’s license confirmed by their embassy. The U.S. Embassy in Ghana is unable to authenticate such state issued or international drivers’ licenses, and advises U.S. citizens to contact the National Identification Authority in Ghana or have their U.S. driver’s license authenticated in the U.S. prior to arriving in Ghana. While in Ghana, you should carry documentation of your immigration status, such as a passport and a visa.

Public Transportation: Safety standards for small private buses, often called tro-tros, are substandard. 

See our Road Safety page and Ghana’s national tourist office for more information.

Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Ghana’s Civil Aviation Authority as not being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Ghana’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

Due to safety concerns, Ghana Civil Authority prohibits transporting via air carrier any Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phone device.

Maritime Security: Piracy and armed robbery in the Gulf of Guinea continue to trend upwards with more incidents occurring in 2016 than in any of the previous four years. Pirates/armed groups operating in the region typically carry out attacks on vessels using automatic weapons. Attacks, kidnappings for ransom, and robbery of crew, passengers, and ships property, continue to be the most common type of incidents. For information on current conditions: http://www.oni.navy.mil/Intelligence-Community/Piracy/

Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Ghana should check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts at the Maritime Security Communications with Industry Web Portal. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website and as a broadcast warning on the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s website.

Hague Convention Participation
Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
No
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
No
What You Can Do
Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
Learn how to respond to abductions TO the US
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Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Accra

No. 24 Fourth Circular Road,
Cantonments, Accra
Ghana
Telephone:
 +233-(0)30-274-1000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +233-(0)30-274-1000

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General Information

For information concerning travel to Ghana, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for Ghana.

The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA).  The report is located here.

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Hague Abduction Convention

Ghana is not a signatory to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention), nor are there any bilateral agreements in force between Ghana and the United States concerning international parental child abduction.

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Return

Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country.  Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Ghana and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances. 

The Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children’s Issues provides assistance in cases of international parental child abduction.  For U.S. citizen parents whose children have been wrongfully removed to or retained in countries that are not U.S. partners under the Hague Abduction Convention, the Office of Children’s Issues can provide information and resources about country-specific options for pursuing the return of or access to an abducted child.  The Office of Children’s Issues may also coordinate with appropriate foreign and U.S. government authorities about the welfare of abducted U.S. citizen children.  Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance.

Contact information:

U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's
CA/OCS/CI
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Website: travel.state.gov
Email: AskCI@state.gov

 

Parental child abduction is a criminal offense in Ghana.  The Children’s Act of 1998 makes removal of a child from a person who has legal custody an offense with possible fines or imprisonment.  Links to Ghanaian law regarding children are available at the Ghanaian Ministry of Women and Children’s website.

The Children’s Act 1998 

Parents may wish to consult with an attorney in the United States and in the country to which the child has been removed or retained to learn more about how filing criminal charges may impact a custody case in the foreign court.  Please see Possible Solutions - Pressing Criminal Charges for more information. 

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Visitation/Access

Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country.  Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Ghana and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances.

The Office of Children’s Issues may be able to assist parents seeking access to children who have been wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States.  Parents who are seeking access to children who were not wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States should contact the appropriate U.S. Embassy in Ghana for information and possible assistance.

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Retaining an Attorney

Neither the Office of Children’s Issues nor consular officials at the U.S. Embassy in Ghana are authorized to provide legal advice.

The U.S. Embassy in Accra, Ghana, posts a list of attorneys,including those who specialize in family law.

This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the persons or firms included in this list. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.

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Mediation

Mediation is becoming a common practice to settle custody disputes in Ghana and courts will refer cases for mediation to the Department of Social Welfare to work with the families.

Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country. It is important for parents to understand that, although a left-behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.  For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney if planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

The U.S. government cannot interfere with another country’s court or law enforcement system.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney in the country in which the child is located.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

Hague Convention Participation
Hague Adoption Convention Country?
Yes
Are Intercountry Adoptions between this country and the United States possible?
Intercountry adoptions to the United States from Ghana and from the United States to Ghana are possible.
Is this country a U.S. Hague Partner?
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Hague Convention Information

Please see our section on Adoptions from the United States for more information on the process for adopting a child from the United States.  We urge prospective adoptive parents residing abroad who are considering adoption of a child from the United States to consult with the Ghanaian Central Authority for its determination as to whether it considers your adoption to be subject to the Convention.

Ghana is party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention or Convention). Intercountry adoption processing in Convention countries must be done in accordance with the requirements of the Hague Adoption Convention; the U.S. implementing legislation, the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 (IAA); and the IAA’s implementing regulations; as well as the implementing legislation and regulations of Ghana.

Note:  If any of the following occurred prior to January 1, 2017 (the date on which the Hague Adoption Convention entered into force for Ghana, the Hague Adoption Convention may not apply to your case:  1) you filed a Form I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition, identifying Ghana as the country where you intended to adopt and the approval is still valid; 2) you filed a Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, on behalf of a child from Ghana, or 3)  the adoption was completed.  Under these circumstances, your adopted child’s adoption could continue to be processed as a non-Convention intercountry adoption, provided the child’s country of origin agrees.  For more information, read about Hague Transition Cases.  Please contact adoption@state.gov with the details of the case if this situation applies to you.

More information on the definition of transition cases as applied to adoptions from Ghana is available on the USCIS website.

 

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Who Can Adopt

In addition to being found suitable and eligible to adopt by USCIS, prospective adoptive parents seeking to adopt from Ghana must meet the following requirements imposed by Ghana:

  • Minimum Residency:  There is no residency requirement to adopt a child from Ghana.
  • Age of Adopting Parents:  Adopting parents must be at least 25 years of age and at least 21 years older than the child.  If one of the adopting parents is a relative of the child, they must be at least 21 years of age. 
  • Marriage:  Generally, only married couples may adopt in Ghana.  A single person may adopt only if that person is a citizen of Ghana.  Single males may not adopt unless the child to be adopted is his birth child or the courts determine that special circumstances apply.  Same-sex couples may not adopt from Ghana. 
  • Income:  Applicants must be gainfully employed.
  • Other:  The Department of Social Development in Ghana requires that applicants must be of sound mind and must undergo a medical exam as part of the pre-approval process.  Applicants must also prove their ability to care for a child that may be socially and culturally different from themselves and who may have experienced trauma due to family deaths, institutionalization, neglect, etc.
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Who Can Be Adopted

Because Ghana is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, children from Ghana must meet the requirements of the Convention in order to be eligible for intercountry adoption.  For example, the adoption may take place only if the competent authorities of Ghana have determined that placement of the child within Ghana has been given due consideration and that an intercountry adoption is in the child’s best interests.

In addition to qualifying as a Convention adoptee under U.S. immigration law, the child must also meet the following requirements imposed by Ghana:

For a child to be eligible for adoption, he or she must meet at least one of the below criteria:

  • There is no known family for the child,
  • No family is available or capable of taking care of the child,
  • The child’s family is unwilling to take care of the child, or
  • The courts have terminated parental rights for reasons of abuse or neglect.

In cases where the family of the child is unknown, reasonable efforts must be made to locate the family for a period of at least three months.  If the family remains unknown after three months, the Department of Social Development may determine that the child is eligible for adoption.

In cases where the family is unwilling or incapable of caring for the child, birth parents must relinquish their parental rights under the Ghanaian legal system (see below).

  • Relinquishment:  The Department of Social Development determines the validity of a relinquishment.  The relinquishment of parental rights means the birth parent(s) decide they do not want to or cannot take care of the child and have decided to let the Department of Social Development find other parent(s).  Whatever the reason, they are taken through a series of counseling sessions to ensure they understand the implications of the decision.  If the birth parents decide to continue with the relinquishment, they must execute an affidavit providing consent for their decision to have the child adopted.  In some cases a pregnant mother will notify the Department of Social Development of an unwanted pregnancy and ask to give the child up for adoption after delivery.  The birth mother has the right to change her mind after she gives birth, but if she decides to relinquish the child, she is also required to give formal consent before a notary public. 

Note:  In Ghana, birth parents who relinquish or abandon their child(ren) may change their mind at any point in the adoption process prior to the final adoption order, and in such cases it is possible that the Department of Social Development and the Ghanaian court will reverse their adoptability finding and/or adoptive placement decisions.

  • Abandonment:  In the Ghana, legal abandonment means the parent(s) voluntarily leaves the child and does not return.
  • Age of Adoptive Child:  In Ghana, a child is adoptable until he or she becomes an adult at 18 years of age.  Please note that for a child to meet the definition of Convention adoptee under U.S. immigration law, a Form I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative, must be filed on the child’s behalf while the child is under the age of 16 (or under the age of 18 if the child is the birth sibling of another adopted child who meets the age and other requirements to immigrate based on adoption by the same adoptive parent(s)).  Please see the USCIS website for special rules on filing dates for children aged 15-16 or siblings aged 17-18.
  • Sibling Adoptions:  The Department of Social Development makes every effort to ensure siblings are adopted together.  It discourages splitting siblings for adoption, except under special circumstances.
  • Waiting Period or Foster Care:  Under Ghanian law, there is a three month bonding or fostering period.  The courts may waive this requirement if it is in the best interests of the child.
  • Special Needs or Medical Conditions:  The Department of Social Development determines whether children with special needs or medical issues are available for adoption.  In these cases, the three-month bonding period may be waived, particularly if there is a need for immediate medical attention.

Caution:  Prospective adoptive parents should be aware that not all children in orphanages or children’s homes are available for adoption.  In many countries, birth parents place their child(ren) temporarily in an orphanage or children’s home due to financial or other hardship, intending that the child return home when possible.  In such cases, the birth parent(s) have rarely relinquished their parental rights or consented to the adoption of their child(ren).

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How to Adopt

Warning: Do not adopt or obtain legal custody of a child in Ghana before:  1) USCIS has approved your Form I-800A, Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country, 2) the Central Authority of Ghana has determined the child is available for intercountry adoption, 3) USCIS has provisionally approved your Form I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative, and 4) a U.S. consular officer has issued an “Article 5/17 Letter” in the case.  Read on for more information.

Ghana’s Adoption Authority

Department of Social Development of the

Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection

The Process

Because Ghana is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, adoptions from Ghana must follow a specific process designed to meet the Convention’s requirements.  A brief summary of the Convention adoption process is provided below.  You must complete these steps in the following order to meet all necessary legal requirements.  Adoptions completed out of order may cause significant delays or result in the child not being eligible for an immigrant visa to the United States.

  1. Choose a U.S. Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Provider To Act as Your Primary Provider
  2. Apply to USCIS to be Found Suitable and Eligible to Adopt (Form I-800A)
  3. Apply to Ghana’s Authorities to Adopt and be Matched with a Child
  4. Apply to USCIS for the Child to be Found Provisionally Eligible for Immigration to the United States as a Convention Adoptee (Form I-800) and Receive U.S. Agreement to Proceed with the Adoption (Art. 5/17 letter)
  5. Adopt the Child in Ghana
  6. Apply for a U.S. Immigrant Visa for Your Child and Bring Your Child Home

1. Choose a U.S. Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Provider to Act as Your Primary Provider That Has Been Authorized by Ghana’s Central Authority to Operate in Ghana.

The first step in adopting a child from Ghana is to select an adoption service provider in the United States that has been accredited or approved to provide intercountry adoption services to U.S. citizens and that has been authorized by the Government of Ghana.  A primary provider must be identified in each Convention case and only accredited or approved adoption service providers may act as the primary provider in your case.  Unless a public domestic authority is providing all adoption services in your case, a primary provider is required in every intercountry adoption case. Your primary provider is responsible for:

  • Ensuring that all six adoption services defined at 22 CFR 96.2 are provided consistent with applicable laws and regulations;
  • Supervising and being responsible for any supervised providers, and otherwise complying with the requirements regarding the provision of adoption services using other providers (see 22 CFR 96.14); and
  • Developing and implementing a service plan in accordance with 22 CFR 96.44.

For more information on primary providers and the UAA, please see Universal Accreditation Act of 2012.  Learn more about Agency Accreditation.

2.  Apply to USCIS to be Found Suitable and Eligible to Adopt

In order to adopt a child from Ghana, you will need to meet the requirements of the Government of Ghana and U.S. immigration law. 

After you choose an accredited or approved adoption service provider, you must be found suitable and eligible to adopt by USCIS by submitting Form I-800A, Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country.  You will need to submit a home study, provide biometrics, and cooperate in a background check as part of this application.  Read more about Suitability and Eligibility Requirements. Unless an exception applies, the home study must be prepared by a person who is authorized under 22 CFR 96 to prepare home studies and must comply with the requirements in 8 CFR 204.311.

3.  Apply to Ghana’s Authorities to Adopt and be Matched with a Child

Submit Your Dossier to the Central Authority 

After USCIS determines that you are suitable and eligible to adopt and approves the Form I-800A application, your adoption service provider will provide your approval notice, home study, and any other required information to the adoption authority in Ghana as part of your adoption application.  Ghana’s adoption authority will review your application to determine whether you are also suitable and eligible to adopt under Ghana’s law.

Receive a Referral for a Child from the Central Authority 

If both the United States and Ghana determine that you are suitable and eligible to adopt, and Ghana’s Central Authority for Convention adoptions has determined that a child is eligible for adoption and that intercountry adoption is in that child’s best interests, the Central Authority for Convention adoptions in Ghana may provide you with a referral.  The referral is a proposed match between you and a specific child based on a review of your dossier and the needs of the child.  The adoption authority in Ghana will provide a background study and other information, if available, about the child to help you decide whether to accept the referral.  We encourage families to consider consulting with a medical professional and their adoption service provider to understand the needs of the specific child but you must decide for yourself whether you will be able to meet the needs of, and provide a permanent home for a specific child.  You must also adhere to the recommendations in the home study submitted to USCIS with respect to the number of children and capacity to deal with any special needs of an adoptive child.  Learn more about Health Considerations. If you accept the referral, the adoption service provider communicates that to the Central Authority in Ghana. 

4. Apply to USCIS for the Child to be Found Provisionally Eligible for Immigration to the United States as a Convention Adoptee and Receive U.S. Agreement to Proceed with the Adoption

Submit a Petition for a Determination on the Child’s Immigration Eligibility 

After you accept being matched with a particular child, you will apply to USCIS for provisional approval for the child to immigrate to the United States by filing the Form I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative.  USCIS will make a provisional determination as to whether the child appears to meet the definition of a Convention adoptee and will likely be eligible to be admitted to the United States.

Submit an Immigrant Visa Application 

After provisional approval of Form I-800 petition, you or your adoption service provider will submit a visa application to the consular section of the U.S. Embassy in Accra responsible for issuing immigrant visas to children from Ghana. 

You should receive a letter from the National Visa Center (NVC) confirming receipt of the provisionally approved Form I-800 petition and assigning a case number and an invoice ID number.  Use this information to log into the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) to file the Electronic Immigrant Visa Application (DS-260) for your child.  An adoptive parent should fill out these forms in your child's name.  Answer every item on the form.  If information is not applicable, please write “N/A” in the block.  Please review the DS-260 FAQs, our Online Immigrant Visa Forms page, or contact the NVC at NVCAdoptions@state.gov or +1-603-334-0700 if you have questions about completing the online DS-260 form.  A consular officer will review the provisionally approved Form I-800 petition and the visa application and, if applicable, advises you of options for the waiver of any ineligibilities related to the visa application.

The consular officer will send a letter (referred to as an “Article 5/17 Letter”) to Ghana’s Central Authority in any intercountry adoption involving U.S. citizen parents and a child from Ghana if all Convention requirements are met and the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States.  This letter will inform Ghana’s Central Authority that the parents are suitable and eligible to adopt, that the child appears eligible to enter and reside permanently in the United States and that the U.S. Central Authority agrees that the adoption may proceed.

Warning:  Do not attempt to adopt a child in Ghana before you receive provisional approval of your Form I-800 petition AND a U.S. consular officer issues the “Article 5/17 Letter” for your adoption case.

Remember:  The consular officer will make a final decision about a child’s eligibility for an immigrant visa later in the adoption process.

5.  Adopt the Child in Ghana

Remember:  Before you adopt a child in Ghana, you must have completed the above four steps.  Only after completing these steps can you proceed to finalize the adoption.

The process for finalizing the adoption in Ghana generally includes the following:

  • Role of Adoption Authority: The Department of Social Development determines whether or not a child is eligible for adoption under Ghanaian law.  In addition, the Regional Department of Social Welfare is responsible for preparing a social inquiry report for the court hearing. 
  • Role of the Court:  An application for an adoption may be made to the High Court, within the jurisdiction where the applicant or the child resides at the date of the application.
  • Role of Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Providers: Unless a public domestic authority is providing all adoption services in your case, there must be a U.S. accredited or approved adoption service provider acting as the primary provider in every case.  Also, any agency or person providing an adoption service on behalf of prospective adoptive parents in any Convention or non-Convention intercountry adoption case must be accredited or approved, or be a supervised or exempted provider.  Adoption service means any one of the following six services:
    • Identifying a child for adoption and arranging an adoption;
    • Securing the necessary consent to termination of parental rights and to adoption;
    • Performing a background study on a child or a home study on a prospective adoptive parent(s), and reporting on such a study;
    • Making non-judicial determinations of the best interests of a child and the appropriateness of an adoptive placement for the child; 
    • Monitoring a case after a child has been placed with prospective adoptive parent(s) until final adoption; or
    • When necessary because of a disruption before final adoption, assuming custody and providing (including facilitating the provision of) child care or any other social service pending an alternative placement. 22 CFR 96.2 Definitions.
  • Time Frame:  Intercountry adoptions in Ghana may take approximately one year or more. It is still uncertain how long the new Hague process will take to complete.
  • Adoption Fees: Fees for adoption in Ghana vary depending on the circumstances.  Attorney’s fees usually range from GHC 2,000 to GHC 3,000 and they generally include court costs.  Passport fees range from GHC 50 to GHC 200, depending on the age and background of the applicant. Re-issued birth certificates cost approximately GHC 50.

We encourage prospective adoptive parents to obtain detailed receipts for all fees and donations paid, either by them directly or through your U.S. adoption service provider, and to raise any concerns regarding any payment that you believe may be contrary to the Convention, U.S. law, or the law of Ghana, with your adoption service provider, and, when appropriate, through the Complaint Registry.  Improper payments violate applicable law or create the appearance of buying a child, and could put all future adoptions in Ghana at risk.  The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, for instance, makes it unlawful to make payments to foreign government officials to assist in obtaining or retaining business.  Further, the IAA makes certain actions relating to intercountry adoptions unlawful, and subject to civil and criminal penalties.  These include offering, giving, soliciting, or accepting inducement by way of compensation intended to influence or affect the relinquishment of parental rights, parental consent relating to adoption of a child, or a decision by an entity performing functions as a competent central authority, or to engage another person as an agent to take any such action. 

In the adoption services contract that you sign at the beginning of the adoption process, your adoption service provider will itemize the fees and estimated expenses related to your adoption process.

Note:  Additional documents may be requested.

  • Authentication of Documents:  You may be asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic.  The U.S Department of State’s Authentications Office has information on the subject.

6.  Apply for a U.S. Immigrant Visa for Your Child and Bring Your Child Home

Once your adoption is complete there are a few more steps to take before your child can head home.  Specifically, you need to apply for three documents before your child can travel to the United States:

Birth Certificate

You will need to obtain a birth certificate for your child.

If you have finalized the adoption in Ghana, you will first need to apply for a new birth certificate for your child.  Your name will be added to the new birth certificate. The Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection will issue a letter authorizing the Registry of Births and Deaths to issue your child a new birth certificate. Birth certificates cost approximately GHC 50.

Ghana Passport

Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or passport from Ghana.  Passports are issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration. In order to apply for a passport, adoptive parent(s) will need to submit an updated birth certificate with their names on it, as well as identification. Passport applications cost GHS 50, or GHS 100 for an expedited application. More information about the passport application process can be found at the MFA’s website.

U.S. Immigrant Visa

After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child you need to apply for a U.S. immigrant visa for your child from the U.S. Embassy in Accra.  After the adoption is granted, visit the U.S Embassy in Accra for a final review of the case, and if applicable, the issuance of a U.S. Hague Adoption Certificate, the final approval of the Form I-800 petition, and to obtain your child’s immigrant visa.  This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you and be admitted to the United States as your child.  Please contact the U.S. Embassy in Accra by email at AdoptionAccra@state.gov to schedule your child’s immigrant visa appointment.  As part of this process, you must provide the consular officer with the Panel Physician’s medical report on the child if you did not provide it during the Form I-800 provisional approval stage.  Read more about the Medical Examination.

Before coming for your child’s immigrant visa interview, please complete an Electronic Immigrant Visa Application (DS-260) online at the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC).  You should receive a letter from the National Visa Center (NVC) confirming receipt of the provisionally approved Form I-800 petition and assignment of a case number and an invoice ID number.  You will need this information to log into CEAC to file the DS-260 for your child. You should fill out these forms in your child's name.  Answer every item on the form.  If information is not applicable, please write “N/A” in the block.  Print and bring the DS-260 confirmation page to the visa interview.  Review the DS-260 FAQs, our Online Immigrant Visa Forms page, or contact NVC at NVCAdoptions@state.gov or +1-603-334-0700 if you have questions about completing the online DS-260 form.

Upon receipt of the case at post, the Consular Section generally notifies the petitioner. It is not usually possible to provide the visa to adoptive parents on the same day as the immigrant visa interview.  You should verify current processing times with the U.S. Embassy in Accra before making final travel arrangements.  Additional information on immigrant visa processing can be found on our website.

Child Citizenship Act

For adoptions finalized abroad prior to the child’s admission into the United States:  An adopted child residing in the United States in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent pursuant to a lawful admission for permanent residence generally will acquire U.S. citizenship automatically upon admission into the United States if the child otherwise meets the requirements of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, including that the child is under the age of eighteen.

Read more about the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.

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Traveling Abroad

Applying for Your U.S. Passport

U.S. citizens are required to enter and depart the United States on a valid U.S. passport.  Once your child acquires U.S. citizenship s/he will need a U.S. passport for international travel.  Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports.

Getting or renewing a passport is easy.  The Department of State’s Passport Application Wizard will help you determine which passport form you need, help you to complete the form online, estimate your payment, and generate the form for you to print—all in one place.

Obtaining a Visa to Travel to Ghana

In addition to a U.S. passport, you may also need to obtain a visa.  Where required, visas are affixed to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation.  To find information about obtaining a visa for Ghana, see the Department of State’s Country Specific Information.

Staying Safe on Your Trip

Before you travel, it is always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country.  The Department of State provides Country-Specific Information for every country in the world about various issues, including health conditions, crime, currency or entry requirements, and any areas of instability.

Staying in Touch on Your Trip

When traveling abroad during the adoption process, we encourage you to enroll with the Department of State through our Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in your destination country.  Enrollment makes it possible for the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Ghana, to contact you in an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency.  Whether there is a family emergency in the United States or a crisis in Ghana, enrollment assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.

Enrollment is free and can be done online via the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

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After Adoption

Post-Adoption/Post-Placement Reporting Requirements

We urge you to comply with Ghana’s post-adoption/post-placement requirements in a timely manner.  Ghanaian law requires updated reports on children adopted through the Hague process every six months during the first two years, and one a year during the following three years. Your adoption service provider may be able to help you with this process.  Your cooperation will contribute to Ghana’s positive experiences with U.S. citizen adoptive parents.

Post-Adoption Resources

Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption.  There are many public and private nonprofit post-adoption services available for children and their families. There are also numerous adoptive family support groups and adoptee organizations active in the United States that provide a network of options for adoptees who seek out other adoptees from the same country of origin.  You may wish to take advantage of all the resources available to your family, whether it is another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services.  Your primary provider can provide or point you to post- placement/post-adoption services to help your adopted child and your family transition smoothly and deal effectively with the many adjustments required in an intercountry adoption. 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services maintains a website, the Child Welfare Information Gateway, which can be a useful resource to get you started on your support group search.

COMPLAINTS

If you have concerns about your intercountry adoption process, we ask that you share this information with the U. S. Embassy in Accra, particularly if it involves possible fraud or misconduct specific to your child’s case.  The Department of State takes all allegations of fraud or misconduct seriously.  Our Adoption Comment Page provides several points of contact for adoptive families to comment on their adoption service provider, their experience applying for their child’s visa, or about the Form I-800/A petition process.

The Complaint Registry is an internet based registry for filing complaints about the compliance of U.S. accredited or approved adoption service providers with U.S. accreditation standards.  If you think your provider's conduct may not have been in compliance with accreditation standards, first submit your complaint in writing directly to your provider.  If the complaint is not resolved through the provider's complaint process, you may file the complaint through the Complaint Registry

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Contact Information

U.S. Embassy in Ghana
24 Fourth Circular Road
Accra, Ghana
Tel:  +233 30 274 1000
Email:  AdoptionAccra@state.gov
Internet:  gh.usembassy.gov

Ghana’s Adoption Authority
Central Adoption Authority Department of Social Development
Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection
Post Office Box MBO 186
Ministries, Accra, Ghana
Tel:  +233 30 268 8181
Fax:  +233 30 268 8188
Email:  info@mogcsp.gov.gh
Internet:  mogcsp.gov.gh

Embassy of Ghana 3512 International Drive, NW
Washington, DC 20008
Tel: 202-686-4520  Email: consular@ghanaembassydc.org
Internet: www.ghanaembassydc.org

Office of Children’s Issues
U.S. Department of State
CA/OCS/CI
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, D.C.  20522-1709
Tel:  1-888-407-4747
Email:  Adoption@state.gov
Internet:  adoption.state.gov

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) For questions about filing a Form I-800A application or a Form I-800 petition: USCIS National Benefits Center (NBC):
Tel:  1-877-424-8374 (toll free); 1-913-275-5480 (local);
Fax: 1- 913-214-5808
Email:  NBC.Adoptions@uscis.dhs.gov For general questions about immigration procedures:
USCIS National Customer Service Center (NCSC)
Tel:  1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)
Internet:  uscis.gov

 

 

 

Reciprocity Schedule

Select a visa category below to find the visa issuance fee, number of entries, and validity period for visas issued to applicants from this country*/area of authority.

Explanation of Terms

Visa Classification: The type of nonimmigrant visa you are applying for.

Fee: The reciprocity fee, also known as the visa issuance fee, you must pay. This fee is in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee (MRV fee).

Number of Entries: The number of times you may seek entry into the United States with that visa. "M" means multiple times. If there is a number, such as "One", you may apply for entry one time with that visa.

Validity Period: This generally means the visa is valid, or can be used, from the date it is issued until the date it expires, for travel with that visa. If your Validity Period is 60 months, your visa will be valid for 60 months from the date it is issued.

Visa Classifications
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
Visa
Classification
Fee Number
of Entries
Validity
Period
A-1 None Multiple 60 Months
A-2 None Multiple 60 Months
A-3 1 None Multiple 24 Months
B-1 None Multiple 60 Months
B-2 None Multiple 60 Months
B-1/B-2 None Multiple 60 Months
C-1 None Multiple 24 Months
C-1/D None Multiple 24 Months
C-2 None Multiple 24 Months
C-3 None Multiple 24 Months
CW-1 11 None Multiple 12 Months
CW-2 11 None Multiple 12 Months
D None Multiple 24 Months
E-1 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
E-2 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
E-2C 12 None Multiple 24 Months
F-1 None Multiple 48 Months
F-2 None Multiple 48 Months
G-1 None Multiple 60 Months
G-2 None Multiple 60 Months
G-3 None Multiple 60 Months
G-4 None Multiple 60 Months
G-5 1 None Multiple 24 Months
H-1B None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-1C None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2A None N/A N/A3
H-2B None N/A N/A3
H-2R None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-4 None Multiple 60 Months 3
I None Multiple 12 Months
J-1 4 None Multiple 12 Months
J-2 4 None Multiple 12 Months
K-1 None One 6 Months
K-2 None One 6 Months
K-3 None Multiple 24 Months
K-4 None Multiple 24 Months
L-1 None Multiple 60 Months
L-2 None Multiple 60 Months
M-1 None Multiple 24 Months
M-2 None Multiple 24 Months
N-8 None Multiple 36 Months
N-9 None Multiple 36 Months
NATO 1-7 N/A N/A N/A
O-1 None Multiple 60 Months 3
O-2 None Multiple 60 Months 3
O-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-1 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-2 None Multiple 6 Months 3
P-3 None Multiple 6 Months 3
P-4 None Multiple 60 Months 3
Q-1 6 None Multiple 15 Months 3
R-1 None Multiple 24 Months
R-2 None Multiple 24 Months
S-5 7 None One 1 Month
S-6 7 None One 1 Month
S-7 7 None One 1 Month
T-1 9 N/A N/A N/A
T-2 None One 6 Months
T-3 None One 6 Months
T-4 None One 6 Months
T-5 None One 6 Months
T-6 None One 6 Months
TD 5 N/A N/A N/A
U-1 None Multiple 48 Months
U-2 None Multiple 48 Months
U-3 None Multiple 48 Months
U-4 None Multiple 48 Months
U-5 None Multiple 48 Months
V-1 None Multiple 120 Months
V-2 None Multiple 120 Months 8
V-3 None Multiple 120 Months 8
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Country Specific Footnotes

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

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Visa Category Footnotes
  1. The validity of A-3, G-5, and NATO 7 visas may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the person who is employing the applicant. The "employer" would have one of the following visa classifications:

    • A-1
    • A-2
    • G-1 through G-4
    • NATO 1 through NATO 6

  2. An E-1 and E-2 visa may be issued only to a principal alien who is a national of a country having a treaty, or its equivalent, with the United States. E-1 and E-2 visas may not be issued to a principal alien if he/she is a stateless resident. The spouse and children of an E-1 or E-2 principal alien are accorded derivative E-1 or E-2 status following the reciprocity schedule, including any reciprocity fees, of the principle alien’s country of nationality.  

    Example: John Doe is a national of the country of Z that has an E-1/E-2 treaty with the U.S. His wife and child are nationals of the country of Y which has no treaty with the U.S. The wife and child would, therefore, be entitled to derivative status and receive the same reciprocity as Mr. Doe, the principal visa holder.  

  3. The validity of H-1 through H-3, O-1 and O-2, P-1 through P-3, and Q visas may not exceed the period of validity of the approved petition or the number of months shown, whichever is less.

    Under 8 CFR §214.2, H-2A and H-2B petitions may generally only be approved for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as participating countries. The current list of eligible countries is available on USCIS's website for both H-2A and H-2B visas. Nationals of countries not on this list may be the beneficiary of an approved H-2A or H2-B petition in limited circumstances at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security if specifically named on the petition.  

    Derivative H-4, L-2, O-3, and P-4 visas, issued to accompanying or following-to-join spouses and children, may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the principal alien.

  4. There is no reciprocity fee for the issuance of a J visa if the alien is a United States Government grantee or a participant in an exchange program sponsored by the United States Government.

    Also, there is no reciprocity fee for visa issuance to an accompanying or following-to-join spouse or child (J-2) of an exchange visitor grantee or participant.

    In addition, an applicant is eligible for an exemption from the MRV fee if he or she is participating in a State Department, USAID, or other federally funded educational and cultural exchange program (program serial numbers G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-7).

    However, all other applicants with U.S. Government sponsorships, including other J-visa applicants, are subject to the MRV processing fee.

  5. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canadian and Mexican nationals coming to engage in certain types of professional employment in the United States may be admitted in a special nonimmigrant category known as the "trade NAFTA" or "TN" category. Their dependents (spouse and children) accompanying or following to join them may be admitted in the "trade dependent" or "TD" category whether or not they possess Canadian or Mexican nationality. Except as noted below, the number of entries, fees and validity for non-Canadian or non-Mexican family members of a TN status holder seeking TD visas should be based on the reciprocity schedule of the TN principal alien.

    Canadian Nationals

    Since Canadian nationals generally are exempt from visa requirement, a Canadian "TN' or "TD" alien does not require a visa to enter the United States. However, the non-Canadian national dependent of a Canadian "TN", unless otherwise exempt from the visa requirement, must obtain a "TD" visa before attempting to enter the United States. The standard reciprocity fee and validity period for all non-Canadian "TD"s is no fee, issued for multiple entries for a period of 36 months, or for the duration of the principal alien's visa and/or authorized period of stay, whichever is less. See 'NOTE' under Canadian reciprocity schedule regarding applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality.

    Mexican Nationals

    Mexican nationals are not visa-exempt. Therefore, all Mexican "TN"s and both Mexican and non-Mexican national "TD"s accompanying or following to join them who are not otherwise exempt from the visa requirement (e.g., the Canadian spouse of a Mexican national "TN") must obtain nonimmigrant visas.

    Applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality, who have a permanent resident or refugee status in Canada/Mexico, may not be accorded Canadian/Mexican reciprocity, even when applying in Canada/Mexico. The reciprocity fee and period for "TD" applicants from Libya is $10.00 for one entry over a period of 3 months. The Iranian and Iraqi "TD" is no fee with one entry over a period of 3 months.

  6. Q-2 (principal) and Q-3 (dependent) visa categories are in existence as a result of the 'Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Act of 1998'. However, because the Department anticipates that virtually all applicants for this special program will be either Irish or U.K. nationals, the Q-2 and Q-3 categories have been placed only in the reciprocity schedules for those two countries. Q-2 and Q-3 visas are available only at the Embassy in Dublin and the Consulate General in Belfast.

  7. No S visa may be issued without first obtaining the Department's authorization.

  8. V-2 and V-3 status is limited to persons who have not yet attained their 21st birthday. Accordingly, the period of validity of a V-2 or V-3 visa must be limited to expire on or before the applicant's twenty-first birthday.

  9. Posts may not issue a T-1 visa. A T-1 applicant must be physically present in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or a U.S. port of entry, where he/she will apply for an adjustment of status to that of a T-1. The following dependents of a T-1 visa holder, however, may be issued a T visa at a U.S. consular office abroad:

    • T-2 (spouse)
    • T-3 (child)
    • T-4 (parent)
  10. The validity of NATO-5 visas may not exceed the period of validity of the employment contract or 12 months, whichever is less.

  11. The validity of CW-1 and CW-2 visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (12 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

  12. The validity of E-2C visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (24 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

 

 

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General Documents

Please check back for update.

Birth, Death, Burial Certificates

Birth

Available. As of February 1, 2011, only originals of the computer generated certified copies of birth certificates should be recognized and accepted for business and travel documentation.

Persons over 18 years of age must apply in person at the appropriate Registrar's Office. Records of registrations more than one year old are deposited with the Office of the Registrar of Births and Deaths for Ghana, C/O Ministry of Local Government, P.O. Box M.270, Accra, Ghana. If the applicant resides outside of Ghana, the person applying must present a written authorization from the individual whose birth certificate is being requested. Persons under 18 years of age must have their parent or guardian obtain the certificate. There may be a fee for this service.

Note: The majority of registrations are not made at the time of birth, and often no registration is made until an individual requires a birth certificate for immigration purposes. Registrations not made within one year of an individual's birth are not reliable evidence of relationship, since registration, including late registration, may often be accomplished upon demand, with little or no supporting documentation required.

  • Secondary Evidence: Because of the prevalence of late registrations, secondary evidence of birth is often required. Common secondary evidence includes midwife's certificates of birth, weight cards or welfare centre cards, and baptismal certificates. Recent affidavits by relatives or friends are not reliable.
  • Illegitimacy: Ghanaian birth documents do not indicate the marital status of the parents, and the appearance of a man's name on a birth document should not be taken as prima facie evidence of legitimate birth or of subsequent legitimation.


Death/Burial

Available. As of February 1, 2011, only originals of the computer generated certified copies of birth certificates should be recognized and accepted for business and travel documentation. Records more than one year old are deposited with the Office of the Registrar of Births and Deaths for Ghana, C/O Ministry of Local Government, P O. Box M.270, Accra, Ghana. There is a fee for this service.

Marriage, Divorce Certificates

Marriage

Available for marriages entered into under civil law from the Principal Registrar of Marriages, C/O Registrar General's Office, P.O. Box 118, Accra, Ghana. There is a fee for this service. Most marriages are performed under customary law, and written records are kept only if the couple chooses to register the marriage with the local council. Persons married under customary law who subsequently wish to marry under civil law must obtain a civil marriage certificate which reflects the words "married under native customary law" in the space provided for "condition." Polygamous marriage is permissible under the customary law of some groups, but not under civil law.

Divorce

Available. Certificates for the dissolution of a civil marriage may be obtained from the court that granted the divorce. Proper documentation of the dissolution of a customary marriage is a decree, issued by a high court, circuit court or district court under the Matrimonial Causes Act of 1971 (Act 367), Section 41(2), stating that the marriage in question was dissolved in accordance with customary law. Affidavits or "statutory declarations" attesting to a divorce under customary law, even when duly sworn, do not constitute proper documentation of the dissolution of a Ghanaian customary marriage.

Adoption Certificates

Unavailable.

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Identity Card

Unavailable.

Police, Court, Prison Records

Police Records

Ghana Police Clearance Certificate: Available. Residents of Ghana should report to the headquarters branch of the Criminal Investigations Division of the Ghana Police Authority in Accra, where a fingerprint sample will be taken. Cost for preparation of the certificate is approximately $17 USD (higher for expedited service), payable in local currency, for preparation within 7 days.

Non-residents should send a request via international courier (DHL or Fedex) and pay the round trip courier cost in advance. Accompanying the letter requesting the police certificate should be a receipt for a completed bank transfer of $200 to Ecobank Ghana (Main Headquarters), A/C 1101530940211, Commissioner of Police CID account. The international courier should deliver the documents to:

Commissioner of Police
Criminal Investigations
Department Headquarters
PO Box GP505
Accra, Ghana"

In addition, the applicant should also send the following documents/information:

  • The Bio-page of Applicant's Passport
  • Two Passport-sized Photographs
  • Full Name of Applicant
  • Date of Birth
  • Place of Birth
  • Father's Name
  • Mother's Name
  • Home Town
  • Occupation
  • List of All Schools Attended, including Year of Entry & Year of Completion
  • Contact Address
  • Email Address
  • Telephone Number

Court Records

Unavailable.

Prison Records

Available. In the case of a person who has been incarcerated, a prison record may be obtained from the Director of Prisons, P.O. Box 129, Accra. There may be a fee for this service. Processing time varies, depending on the length of the sentence, how long ago and in what prison the sentence was served.

Military Records

Available. In the case of a person who has served in the Gold Coast or Ghana Armed Forces, a military record may be obtained from the Director of Personnel Administration, Ministry of Defense, Burma Camp, Accra, Ghana.

Passports & Other Travel Documents

Certificate of Identity

Issued to residents of Ghana until citizenship status is determined. The document bears a validity date and ceases to be valid if the bearer obtains a national passport. Certificate of Commonwealth Citizenship and Laissez-Passer is issued to citizens of the Commonwealth who are residents of Ghana and who are not in possession of their own national travel document. The Certificate meets the passport requirements of Section 101(a)(30) of the Act and is valid for a period of one year in the first instance and may be renewed as circumstances demand.

Other Records

Not applicable.

Visa Issuing Posts

Accra, Ghana (Embassy)

US Embassy
No. 24, Fourth Circular Rd, Cantonments, Accra
P.O. Box 194
Accra, Ghana

Telephone: (233) 21-741-000

After Hours Emergency: (233) 21-741-775

Fax: (233) 21-741-389

Consular Section
No. 19 Fifth Link Rd.
Cantonments, Accra
Accra, Ghana

Telephone: (233) 21-741-100

Fax: (233) 21-741-362/741-426

Email: consulateaccra@state.gov

Mailed in Ghana:
Consular Section
US Embassy
P.O. Box GP 194
Accra, Ghana

Mailing Address from the United States:
Consular Section
US Dept. of State
2020 Accra Place
Washington, DC 20521-2020

Tel: (233-21) 775-347 or 775-348

Fax: (233-21) 701-1813

Visa Services

All categories for all of Ghana.

Foreign Consular Office Contact Information

Washington, DC (202) 686-4520

Houston, TX (713) 960-1950 (713) 960-8833

New York, NY (212) 832-1300 (212) 751-6743

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Accra
No. 24 Fourth Circular Road,
Cantonments, Accra,
Ghana
Telephone
+233-(0)30-274-1000
Emergency
+233-(0)30-274-1000
Fax
No Fax
Ghana Map

Learn about your destination
Additional Information for Reciprocity

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

Travel Advisory Levels
1 Exercise normal precautions, 2 Exercise increased caution, 3 Reconsider travel, 4 Do not travel

Ghana
Republic of Ghana
Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:


6 months validity

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:


One page for stamp

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:


Yes

VACCINATIONS:


Yellow fever

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:


Maximum of $5,000 USD

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:


Maximum of $5,000 USD

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Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Accra

No. 24 Fourth Circular Road,
Cantonments, Accra
Ghana
Telephone:
 +233-(0)30-274-1000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +233-(0)30-274-1000

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Destination Description

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Ghana for information on U.S. - Ghana relations.

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Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Visit the Embassy of Ghana website for the most current visa information.

Documentation of yellow fever vaccination is required for those over nine months of age upon arrival in Ghana.

Foreign nationals who are over six years old and who have been physically present in Ghana for a cumulative period of 90 days or more during a calendar year are required to register with the National Identification Authority (NIA). NIA will issue registered foreign nationals a Non-citizen Ghanacard. The Non-citizen Ghanacard will be necessary for all transactions that require identification, i.e. opening bank accounts, obtaining work permits, acquiring driver’s licenses, etc. A Non-citizen Ghanacard does not guarantee issuance of a local driver’s license if you are not resident in the country for a specific period of time.

A list of permanent registration centers, fee requirements and answers to frequently asked questions can be found on the NIA website.

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Ghana.

Find information on dual nationality, prevention of international child abduction and customs regulations on our websites.

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Safety and Security

Avoid political rallies and street demonstrations and maintain situational awareness at all times. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence.

West Africa, to include Ghana, faces an increased threat from transnational terrorist groups. Terrorists have carried out attacks and/or kidnappings targeting Westerners in Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Mali..

There are a number of ongoing chieftaincy disputes in Ghana that generally involve competition over limited resources. Several of these disputes have erupted into violence and unrest during recent years. Exercise caution in rural areas and remain alert to outbreaks of unrest.

Refer to the U.S. Embassy Accra website for the most updated safety and security information.

CRIME: Street crime is a serious problem, especially in Accra and other larger cities. Pickpockets and thieves carry out crimes of opportunity such as “snatch & grab” attacks on city streets in crowded areas, as well as from vehicles idling in traffic. Violent crime, including reports of armed robberies is on the rise. Residential robberies are also on the rise, especially after dark, and resisting robbers can lead to serious injury. Robbers may wait outside houses to ambush residents as they enter or exit the property. Vehicle theft and thefts of items from vehicles are very common. Armed robbery is common on highways.

Please see Travel & Transportation section for more information.   

Be safe:

  • Travel in groups
  • Avoid travel at night and in poorly lit areas
  • Do not use highways after dark
  • Don’t use shared taxis or communal mini-buses (locally called “tro-tro”)
  • Limit your display of jewelry
  • Handle cash discreetly
  • Pay close attention to those around you or following you
  • Carry limited amounts of cash and only photocopies of key documents
  • Store expensive valuables in your hotel safety deposit box or room safe
  • Consider increased safety measures, such as a security guard, for your home
  • Lock your vehicle
  • Do not leave items in plain sight in your vehicle
  • Park your vehicle in well-lit areas

The theft of luggage and travel documents occurs at Kotoka International Airport in Accra and in hotels across Ghana. Keep your documents secure at all times and don’t leave your baggage unattended. Be wary of all offers of unsolicited assistance at the airport from anyone other than uniformed porters or officials.

Armed robbers have targeted travelers leaving Accra’s Kotoka airport. A common tactic is to deliberately cause a minor road traffic accident to stop a car, and to then rob the occupants. If your car is hit by another car it is best to drive to the nearest police station and report the incident.

For information about crime trends in Ghana, the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of Ghana Police Service issues advisories on the Ghana Police Service site.

Credit card fraud is common. Exercise caution when using credit and ATM cards in Ghana. It is very common for credit card terminals to be tampered with. Skimming is the primary means of credit card fraud and is undetectable until fraudulent charges appear on statements. If you choose to use a credit card anywhere in Ghana, monitor your credit card activity closely.

See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information on scams.

Victims of Crime:

Report crimes to the local police at the nearest police station or at +233 (0)30-277-3906 and contact the U.S. Embassy at +233-(0)30-274-1000 ext. 1570.

Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crime.

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

We can:

  • help you find appropriate medical care
  • assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
  • provide a list of local attorneys
  • provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
  • provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
  • help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • replace a stolen or lost passport

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.

For further information:

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Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the U.S., regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.

Smoking: Public smoking is illegal in Ghana. The U.S. Embassy is aware of arrests for cigarette smoking in public places, but has not received reports of prosecutions.

Building Construction Standards: Be aware that building construction standards are often lower than those found in the United States. These lower standards have contributed to building collapses, fires, and electrical shock.

Natural Resource Controls: In recent years, U.S. citizens have reported substantial financial losses from questionable transactions involving gold and other precious metals. The Government of Ghana maintains strict regulations on these natural resources. All agents must be licensed and all transactions must be certified.

Drowning Risk: Swimming in coastal waters is dangerous and strongly discouraged, even for excellent swimmers. The ocean currents along the coast are powerful and treacherous, and several people drown each year.

Romance, Financial, Commercial, and Tourism Scams: Internet romance and financial scams are rampant in Ghana. Scams are often initiated through Internet postings or by unsolicited emails and letters. Scammers almost always pose as U.S. citizens in Ghana who have no one else to turn for help. Commercial scams are also common and involve phony offers of money transfers, lucrative sales, gold purchase, inheritance, contracts with promises of large commissions, or up-front payments. If you think you might be a victim of internet fraud, please contact the Embassy at ACSAccra@state.gov before sending money to a person you had only met online as the funds cannot be recovered. For additional information on these types of scams, see the Department of State's publication, International Financial Scams and the U.S. Embassy in Accra’s website.

You should also be wary of overly-friendly locals offering tours, discounted lodging, or other services that seem too good to be true. Some U.S. citizens have been victims of false criminal accusations and have lost time and money as they seek to resolve these difficult situations. Some U.S. citizens have reported being scammed by individuals representing themselves as public officials.

Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:

LGBTI Travelers: Ghana’s criminal code outlaws “unnatural carnal knowledge” which is frequently interpreted by local authorities as consensual same-sex sexual relations. This is criminalized as a misdemeanor in Ghana. The U.S. Embassy is aware of arrests and related extortion attempts for such activities, but has not received reports of prosecutions.

See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights Report for further details.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: You may find accessibility and accommodation very different from what you find in the United States. Ghana’s Persons with Disabilities Act (2006) explicitly prohibits discrimination against persons with physical, sensory, intellectual, and mental disabilities in employment, health care, air travel and other transportation, and other domains. The government does not systematically or overtly discriminate against persons with disabilities, but such persons may experience societal discrimination.

The law provides persons with disabilities access to public buildings “as far as is practical.” However, most buildings, transportation, and educational facilities do not provide for people with special needs. Because many streets are unpaved or not well maintained, and sidewalks are not prevalent, individuals in wheelchairs or who have difficulty walking face challenges.

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers: Rape is a crime in Ghana punishable by five to 25 years in prison. However, rape is significantly underreported and remains a serious problem.

Domestic violence is a crime punishable by up to two years in prison and/or a fine. Police rarely respond to reports of domestic violence. Female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) is a crime and remains a serious problem, particularly in the north of the country.

See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

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Health

Medical facilities in Ghana are limited, particularly outside the capital, Accra. You should carry adequate supplies of any needed prescription medicines, along with copies of your prescriptions, the generic name of the drugs, and a supply of preferred over-the-counter medications.

Mosquito borne illnesses such as malaria, yellow fever, and dengue are a significant problem and prevention of bites and proper yellow fever immunization are important for all areas. Before coming to Ghana, you should consult with your physician regarding the advisibility of taking malaria prophylaxis and obtaining needed vaccinations. While in Ghana, you should:

  • Carry and use insect repellents containing either 20 percent DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535,
  • Treat clothing and tents with permethrin, and
  • Sleep in screened or air conditioned rooms under insecticide-impregnated mosquito nets.

Refer to the CDC website for health information for travelers to Ghana

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas.

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.

If traveling with prescription medication, check with the government of Ghana to ensure the medication is legal in Ghana. Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription.

The following diseases are prevelant in Ghana:

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

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Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety: Main roads in major cities are generally paved and well maintained. Other roads within major cities and many roads outside of major cities are in poor condition. Many accidents occur on the highway from Accra to Cape Coast. Travel in darkness, particularly outside the major cities, is extremely hazardous due to poor street lighting and the unpredictable behavior of pedestrians, bicyclists, and animals. Aggressive drivers, poorly maintained vehicles, and overloaded vehicles pose serious threats to road safety.

Scammers may intentionally bump into vehicles and pretend to be hit. They then attempt to extort money from the vehicle’s occupants. Scams of this nature most commonly occur in congested urban areas.

There has also been an increase in highway robberies on the road from Kintampo to Tamale in the Brong Ahafo and Northern regions. Embassy personnel are not permitted to travel at night outside of major cities and are encouraged to avoid the areas listed in our Travel Advisory.

Remain vigilant, and drive with doors locked and windows up.

Traffic Laws:  Travelers are routinely stopped at police checkpoints throughout Ghana, and vehicles and passengers may be searched. Drivers must possess an international driver’s license (available from AAA and the American Automobile Touring Alliance) or a Ghanaian driver’s license. When foreign drivers apply for their Ghanaian driver’s license they may be asked to have their international driver’s license or their home country driver’s license confirmed by their embassy. The U.S. Embassy in Ghana is unable to authenticate such state issued or international drivers’ licenses, and advises U.S. citizens to contact the National Identification Authority in Ghana or have their U.S. driver’s license authenticated in the U.S. prior to arriving in Ghana. While in Ghana, you should carry documentation of your immigration status, such as a passport and a visa.

Public Transportation: Safety standards for small private buses, often called tro-tros, are substandard. 

See our Road Safety page and Ghana’s national tourist office for more information.

Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Ghana’s Civil Aviation Authority as not being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Ghana’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

Due to safety concerns, Ghana Civil Authority prohibits transporting via air carrier any Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phone device.

Maritime Security: Piracy and armed robbery in the Gulf of Guinea continue to trend upwards with more incidents occurring in 2016 than in any of the previous four years. Pirates/armed groups operating in the region typically carry out attacks on vessels using automatic weapons. Attacks, kidnappings for ransom, and robbery of crew, passengers, and ships property, continue to be the most common type of incidents. For information on current conditions: http://www.oni.navy.mil/Intelligence-Community/Piracy/

Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Ghana should check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts at the Maritime Security Communications with Industry Web Portal. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website and as a broadcast warning on the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s website.

Hague Convention Participation
Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
No
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
No
What You Can Do
Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
Learn how to respond to abductions TO the US
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Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Accra

No. 24 Fourth Circular Road,
Cantonments, Accra
Ghana
Telephone:
 +233-(0)30-274-1000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +233-(0)30-274-1000

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General Information

For information concerning travel to Ghana, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for Ghana.

The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA).  The report is located here.

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Hague Abduction Convention

Ghana is not a signatory to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention), nor are there any bilateral agreements in force between Ghana and the United States concerning international parental child abduction.

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Return

Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country.  Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Ghana and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances. 

The Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children’s Issues provides assistance in cases of international parental child abduction.  For U.S. citizen parents whose children have been wrongfully removed to or retained in countries that are not U.S. partners under the Hague Abduction Convention, the Office of Children’s Issues can provide information and resources about country-specific options for pursuing the return of or access to an abducted child.  The Office of Children’s Issues may also coordinate with appropriate foreign and U.S. government authorities about the welfare of abducted U.S. citizen children.  Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance.

Contact information:

U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's
CA/OCS/CI
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Website: travel.state.gov
Email: AskCI@state.gov

 

Parental child abduction is a criminal offense in Ghana.  The Children’s Act of 1998 makes removal of a child from a person who has legal custody an offense with possible fines or imprisonment.  Links to Ghanaian law regarding children are available at the Ghanaian Ministry of Women and Children’s website.

The Children’s Act 1998 

Parents may wish to consult with an attorney in the United States and in the country to which the child has been removed or retained to learn more about how filing criminal charges may impact a custody case in the foreign court.  Please see Possible Solutions - Pressing Criminal Charges for more information. 

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Visitation/Access

Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country.  Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Ghana and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances.

The Office of Children’s Issues may be able to assist parents seeking access to children who have been wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States.  Parents who are seeking access to children who were not wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States should contact the appropriate U.S. Embassy in Ghana for information and possible assistance.

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Retaining an Attorney

Neither the Office of Children’s Issues nor consular officials at the U.S. Embassy in Ghana are authorized to provide legal advice.

The U.S. Embassy in Accra, Ghana, posts a list of attorneys,including those who specialize in family law.

This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the persons or firms included in this list. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.

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Mediation

Mediation is becoming a common practice to settle custody disputes in Ghana and courts will refer cases for mediation to the Department of Social Welfare to work with the families.

Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country. It is important for parents to understand that, although a left-behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.  For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney if planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

The U.S. government cannot interfere with another country’s court or law enforcement system.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney in the country in which the child is located.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

Hague Convention Participation
Hague Adoption Convention Country?
Yes
Are Intercountry Adoptions between this country and the United States possible?
Intercountry adoptions to the United States from Ghana and from the United States to Ghana are possible.
Is this country a U.S. Hague Partner?
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Hague Convention Information

Please see our section on Adoptions from the United States for more information on the process for adopting a child from the United States.  We urge prospective adoptive parents residing abroad who are considering adoption of a child from the United States to consult with the Ghanaian Central Authority for its determination as to whether it considers your adoption to be subject to the Convention.

Ghana is party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention or Convention). Intercountry adoption processing in Convention countries must be done in accordance with the requirements of the Hague Adoption Convention; the U.S. implementing legislation, the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 (IAA); and the IAA’s implementing regulations; as well as the implementing legislation and regulations of Ghana.

Note:  If any of the following occurred prior to January 1, 2017 (the date on which the Hague Adoption Convention entered into force for Ghana, the Hague Adoption Convention may not apply to your case:  1) you filed a Form I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition, identifying Ghana as the country where you intended to adopt and the approval is still valid; 2) you filed a Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, on behalf of a child from Ghana, or 3)  the adoption was completed.  Under these circumstances, your adopted child’s adoption could continue to be processed as a non-Convention intercountry adoption, provided the child’s country of origin agrees.  For more information, read about Hague Transition Cases.  Please contact adoption@state.gov with the details of the case if this situation applies to you.

More information on the definition of transition cases as applied to adoptions from Ghana is available on the USCIS website.

 

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Who Can Adopt

In addition to being found suitable and eligible to adopt by USCIS, prospective adoptive parents seeking to adopt from Ghana must meet the following requirements imposed by Ghana:

  • Minimum Residency:  There is no residency requirement to adopt a child from Ghana.
  • Age of Adopting Parents:  Adopting parents must be at least 25 years of age and at least 21 years older than the child.  If one of the adopting parents is a relative of the child, they must be at least 21 years of age. 
  • Marriage:  Generally, only married couples may adopt in Ghana.  A single person may adopt only if that person is a citizen of Ghana.  Single males may not adopt unless the child to be adopted is his birth child or the courts determine that special circumstances apply.  Same-sex couples may not adopt from Ghana. 
  • Income:  Applicants must be gainfully employed.
  • Other:  The Department of Social Development in Ghana requires that applicants must be of sound mind and must undergo a medical exam as part of the pre-approval process.  Applicants must also prove their ability to care for a child that may be socially and culturally different from themselves and who may have experienced trauma due to family deaths, institutionalization, neglect, etc.
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Who Can Be Adopted

Because Ghana is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, children from Ghana must meet the requirements of the Convention in order to be eligible for intercountry adoption.  For example, the adoption may take place only if the competent authorities of Ghana have determined that placement of the child within Ghana has been given due consideration and that an intercountry adoption is in the child’s best interests.

In addition to qualifying as a Convention adoptee under U.S. immigration law, the child must also meet the following requirements imposed by Ghana:

For a child to be eligible for adoption, he or she must meet at least one of the below criteria:

  • There is no known family for the child,
  • No family is available or capable of taking care of the child,
  • The child’s family is unwilling to take care of the child, or
  • The courts have terminated parental rights for reasons of abuse or neglect.

In cases where the family of the child is unknown, reasonable efforts must be made to locate the family for a period of at least three months.  If the family remains unknown after three months, the Department of Social Development may determine that the child is eligible for adoption.

In cases where the family is unwilling or incapable of caring for the child, birth parents must relinquish their parental rights under the Ghanaian legal system (see below).

  • Relinquishment:  The Department of Social Development determines the validity of a relinquishment.  The relinquishment of parental rights means the birth parent(s) decide they do not want to or cannot take care of the child and have decided to let the Department of Social Development find other parent(s).  Whatever the reason, they are taken through a series of counseling sessions to ensure they understand the implications of the decision.  If the birth parents decide to continue with the relinquishment, they must execute an affidavit providing consent for their decision to have the child adopted.  In some cases a pregnant mother will notify the Department of Social Development of an unwanted pregnancy and ask to give the child up for adoption after delivery.  The birth mother has the right to change her mind after she gives birth, but if she decides to relinquish the child, she is also required to give formal consent before a notary public. 

Note:  In Ghana, birth parents who relinquish or abandon their child(ren) may change their mind at any point in the adoption process prior to the final adoption order, and in such cases it is possible that the Department of Social Development and the Ghanaian court will reverse their adoptability finding and/or adoptive placement decisions.

  • Abandonment:  In the Ghana, legal abandonment means the parent(s) voluntarily leaves the child and does not return.
  • Age of Adoptive Child:  In Ghana, a child is adoptable until he or she becomes an adult at 18 years of age.  Please note that for a child to meet the definition of Convention adoptee under U.S. immigration law, a Form I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative, must be filed on the child’s behalf while the child is under the age of 16 (or under the age of 18 if the child is the birth sibling of another adopted child who meets the age and other requirements to immigrate based on adoption by the same adoptive parent(s)).  Please see the USCIS website for special rules on filing dates for children aged 15-16 or siblings aged 17-18.
  • Sibling Adoptions:  The Department of Social Development makes every effort to ensure siblings are adopted together.  It discourages splitting siblings for adoption, except under special circumstances.
  • Waiting Period or Foster Care:  Under Ghanian law, there is a three month bonding or fostering period.  The courts may waive this requirement if it is in the best interests of the child.
  • Special Needs or Medical Conditions:  The Department of Social Development determines whether children with special needs or medical issues are available for adoption.  In these cases, the three-month bonding period may be waived, particularly if there is a need for immediate medical attention.

Caution:  Prospective adoptive parents should be aware that not all children in orphanages or children’s homes are available for adoption.  In many countries, birth parents place their child(ren) temporarily in an orphanage or children’s home due to financial or other hardship, intending that the child return home when possible.  In such cases, the birth parent(s) have rarely relinquished their parental rights or consented to the adoption of their child(ren).

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How to Adopt

Warning: Do not adopt or obtain legal custody of a child in Ghana before:  1) USCIS has approved your Form I-800A, Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country, 2) the Central Authority of Ghana has determined the child is available for intercountry adoption, 3) USCIS has provisionally approved your Form I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative, and 4) a U.S. consular officer has issued an “Article 5/17 Letter” in the case.  Read on for more information.

Ghana’s Adoption Authority

Department of Social Development of the

Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection

The Process

Because Ghana is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, adoptions from Ghana must follow a specific process designed to meet the Convention’s requirements.  A brief summary of the Convention adoption process is provided below.  You must complete these steps in the following order to meet all necessary legal requirements.  Adoptions completed out of order may cause significant delays or result in the child not being eligible for an immigrant visa to the United States.

  1. Choose a U.S. Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Provider To Act as Your Primary Provider
  2. Apply to USCIS to be Found Suitable and Eligible to Adopt (Form I-800A)
  3. Apply to Ghana’s Authorities to Adopt and be Matched with a Child
  4. Apply to USCIS for the Child to be Found Provisionally Eligible for Immigration to the United States as a Convention Adoptee (Form I-800) and Receive U.S. Agreement to Proceed with the Adoption (Art. 5/17 letter)
  5. Adopt the Child in Ghana
  6. Apply for a U.S. Immigrant Visa for Your Child and Bring Your Child Home

1. Choose a U.S. Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Provider to Act as Your Primary Provider That Has Been Authorized by Ghana’s Central Authority to Operate in Ghana.

The first step in adopting a child from Ghana is to select an adoption service provider in the United States that has been accredited or approved to provide intercountry adoption services to U.S. citizens and that has been authorized by the Government of Ghana.  A primary provider must be identified in each Convention case and only accredited or approved adoption service providers may act as the primary provider in your case.  Unless a public domestic authority is providing all adoption services in your case, a primary provider is required in every intercountry adoption case. Your primary provider is responsible for:

  • Ensuring that all six adoption services defined at 22 CFR 96.2 are provided consistent with applicable laws and regulations;
  • Supervising and being responsible for any supervised providers, and otherwise complying with the requirements regarding the provision of adoption services using other providers (see 22 CFR 96.14); and
  • Developing and implementing a service plan in accordance with 22 CFR 96.44.

For more information on primary providers and the UAA, please see Universal Accreditation Act of 2012.  Learn more about Agency Accreditation.

2.  Apply to USCIS to be Found Suitable and Eligible to Adopt

In order to adopt a child from Ghana, you will need to meet the requirements of the Government of Ghana and U.S. immigration law. 

After you choose an accredited or approved adoption service provider, you must be found suitable and eligible to adopt by USCIS by submitting Form I-800A, Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country.  You will need to submit a home study, provide biometrics, and cooperate in a background check as part of this application.  Read more about Suitability and Eligibility Requirements. Unless an exception applies, the home study must be prepared by a person who is authorized under 22 CFR 96 to prepare home studies and must comply with the requirements in 8 CFR 204.311.

3.  Apply to Ghana’s Authorities to Adopt and be Matched with a Child

Submit Your Dossier to the Central Authority 

After USCIS determines that you are suitable and eligible to adopt and approves the Form I-800A application, your adoption service provider will provide your approval notice, home study, and any other required information to the adoption authority in Ghana as part of your adoption application.  Ghana’s adoption authority will review your application to determine whether you are also suitable and eligible to adopt under Ghana’s law.

Receive a Referral for a Child from the Central Authority 

If both the United States and Ghana determine that you are suitable and eligible to adopt, and Ghana’s Central Authority for Convention adoptions has determined that a child is eligible for adoption and that intercountry adoption is in that child’s best interests, the Central Authority for Convention adoptions in Ghana may provide you with a referral.  The referral is a proposed match between you and a specific child based on a review of your dossier and the needs of the child.  The adoption authority in Ghana will provide a background study and other information, if available, about the child to help you decide whether to accept the referral.  We encourage families to consider consulting with a medical professional and their adoption service provider to understand the needs of the specific child but you must decide for yourself whether you will be able to meet the needs of, and provide a permanent home for a specific child.  You must also adhere to the recommendations in the home study submitted to USCIS with respect to the number of children and capacity to deal with any special needs of an adoptive child.  Learn more about Health Considerations. If you accept the referral, the adoption service provider communicates that to the Central Authority in Ghana. 

4. Apply to USCIS for the Child to be Found Provisionally Eligible for Immigration to the United States as a Convention Adoptee and Receive U.S. Agreement to Proceed with the Adoption

Submit a Petition for a Determination on the Child’s Immigration Eligibility 

After you accept being matched with a particular child, you will apply to USCIS for provisional approval for the child to immigrate to the United States by filing the Form I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative.  USCIS will make a provisional determination as to whether the child appears to meet the definition of a Convention adoptee and will likely be eligible to be admitted to the United States.

Submit an Immigrant Visa Application 

After provisional approval of Form I-800 petition, you or your adoption service provider will submit a visa application to the consular section of the U.S. Embassy in Accra responsible for issuing immigrant visas to children from Ghana. 

You should receive a letter from the National Visa Center (NVC) confirming receipt of the provisionally approved Form I-800 petition and assigning a case number and an invoice ID number.  Use this information to log into the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) to file the Electronic Immigrant Visa Application (DS-260) for your child.  An adoptive parent should fill out these forms in your child's name.  Answer every item on the form.  If information is not applicable, please write “N/A” in the block.  Please review the DS-260 FAQs, our Online Immigrant Visa Forms page, or contact the NVC at NVCAdoptions@state.gov or +1-603-334-0700 if you have questions about completing the online DS-260 form.  A consular officer will review the provisionally approved Form I-800 petition and the visa application and, if applicable, advises you of options for the waiver of any ineligibilities related to the visa application.

The consular officer will send a letter (referred to as an “Article 5/17 Letter”) to Ghana’s Central Authority in any intercountry adoption involving U.S. citizen parents and a child from Ghana if all Convention requirements are met and the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States.  This letter will inform Ghana’s Central Authority that the parents are suitable and eligible to adopt, that the child appears eligible to enter and reside permanently in the United States and that the U.S. Central Authority agrees that the adoption may proceed.

Warning:  Do not attempt to adopt a child in Ghana before you receive provisional approval of your Form I-800 petition AND a U.S. consular officer issues the “Article 5/17 Letter” for your adoption case.

Remember:  The consular officer will make a final decision about a child’s eligibility for an immigrant visa later in the adoption process.

5.  Adopt the Child in Ghana

Remember:  Before you adopt a child in Ghana, you must have completed the above four steps.  Only after completing these steps can you proceed to finalize the adoption.

The process for finalizing the adoption in Ghana generally includes the following:

  • Role of Adoption Authority: The Department of Social Development determines whether or not a child is eligible for adoption under Ghanaian law.  In addition, the Regional Department of Social Welfare is responsible for preparing a social inquiry report for the court hearing. 
  • Role of the Court:  An application for an adoption may be made to the High Court, within the jurisdiction where the applicant or the child resides at the date of the application.
  • Role of Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Providers: Unless a public domestic authority is providing all adoption services in your case, there must be a U.S. accredited or approved adoption service provider acting as the primary provider in every case.  Also, any agency or person providing an adoption service on behalf of prospective adoptive parents in any Convention or non-Convention intercountry adoption case must be accredited or approved, or be a supervised or exempted provider.  Adoption service means any one of the following six services:
    • Identifying a child for adoption and arranging an adoption;
    • Securing the necessary consent to termination of parental rights and to adoption;
    • Performing a background study on a child or a home study on a prospective adoptive parent(s), and reporting on such a study;
    • Making non-judicial determinations of the best interests of a child and the appropriateness of an adoptive placement for the child; 
    • Monitoring a case after a child has been placed with prospective adoptive parent(s) until final adoption; or
    • When necessary because of a disruption before final adoption, assuming custody and providing (including facilitating the provision of) child care or any other social service pending an alternative placement. 22 CFR 96.2 Definitions.
  • Time Frame:  Intercountry adoptions in Ghana may take approximately one year or more. It is still uncertain how long the new Hague process will take to complete.
  • Adoption Fees: Fees for adoption in Ghana vary depending on the circumstances.  Attorney’s fees usually range from GHC 2,000 to GHC 3,000 and they generally include court costs.  Passport fees range from GHC 50 to GHC 200, depending on the age and background of the applicant. Re-issued birth certificates cost approximately GHC 50.

We encourage prospective adoptive parents to obtain detailed receipts for all fees and donations paid, either by them directly or through your U.S. adoption service provider, and to raise any concerns regarding any payment that you believe may be contrary to the Convention, U.S. law, or the law of Ghana, with your adoption service provider, and, when appropriate, through the Complaint Registry.  Improper payments violate applicable law or create the appearance of buying a child, and could put all future adoptions in Ghana at risk.  The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, for instance, makes it unlawful to make payments to foreign government officials to assist in obtaining or retaining business.  Further, the IAA makes certain actions relating to intercountry adoptions unlawful, and subject to civil and criminal penalties.  These include offering, giving, soliciting, or accepting inducement by way of compensation intended to influence or affect the relinquishment of parental rights, parental consent relating to adoption of a child, or a decision by an entity performing functions as a competent central authority, or to engage another person as an agent to take any such action. 

In the adoption services contract that you sign at the beginning of the adoption process, your adoption service provider will itemize the fees and estimated expenses related to your adoption process.

Note:  Additional documents may be requested.

  • Authentication of Documents:  You may be asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic.  The U.S Department of State’s Authentications Office has information on the subject.

6.  Apply for a U.S. Immigrant Visa for Your Child and Bring Your Child Home

Once your adoption is complete there are a few more steps to take before your child can head home.  Specifically, you need to apply for three documents before your child can travel to the United States:

Birth Certificate

You will need to obtain a birth certificate for your child.

If you have finalized the adoption in Ghana, you will first need to apply for a new birth certificate for your child.  Your name will be added to the new birth certificate. The Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection will issue a letter authorizing the Registry of Births and Deaths to issue your child a new birth certificate. Birth certificates cost approximately GHC 50.

Ghana Passport

Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or passport from Ghana.  Passports are issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration. In order to apply for a passport, adoptive parent(s) will need to submit an updated birth certificate with their names on it, as well as identification. Passport applications cost GHS 50, or GHS 100 for an expedited application. More information about the passport application process can be found at the MFA’s website.

U.S. Immigrant Visa

After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child you need to apply for a U.S. immigrant visa for your child from the U.S. Embassy in Accra.  After the adoption is granted, visit the U.S Embassy in Accra for a final review of the case, and if applicable, the issuance of a U.S. Hague Adoption Certificate, the final approval of the Form I-800 petition, and to obtain your child’s immigrant visa.  This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you and be admitted to the United States as your child.  Please contact the U.S. Embassy in Accra by email at AdoptionAccra@state.gov to schedule your child’s immigrant visa appointment.  As part of this process, you must provide the consular officer with the Panel Physician’s medical report on the child if you did not provide it during the Form I-800 provisional approval stage.  Read more about the Medical Examination.

Before coming for your child’s immigrant visa interview, please complete an Electronic Immigrant Visa Application (DS-260) online at the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC).  You should receive a letter from the National Visa Center (NVC) confirming receipt of the provisionally approved Form I-800 petition and assignment of a case number and an invoice ID number.  You will need this information to log into CEAC to file the DS-260 for your child. You should fill out these forms in your child's name.  Answer every item on the form.  If information is not applicable, please write “N/A” in the block.  Print and bring the DS-260 confirmation page to the visa interview.  Review the DS-260 FAQs, our Online Immigrant Visa Forms page, or contact NVC at NVCAdoptions@state.gov or +1-603-334-0700 if you have questions about completing the online DS-260 form.

Upon receipt of the case at post, the Consular Section generally notifies the petitioner. It is not usually possible to provide the visa to adoptive parents on the same day as the immigrant visa interview.  You should verify current processing times with the U.S. Embassy in Accra before making final travel arrangements.  Additional information on immigrant visa processing can be found on our website.

Child Citizenship Act

For adoptions finalized abroad prior to the child’s admission into the United States:  An adopted child residing in the United States in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent pursuant to a lawful admission for permanent residence generally will acquire U.S. citizenship automatically upon admission into the United States if the child otherwise meets the requirements of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, including that the child is under the age of eighteen.

Read more about the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.

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Traveling Abroad

Applying for Your U.S. Passport

U.S. citizens are required to enter and depart the United States on a valid U.S. passport.  Once your child acquires U.S. citizenship s/he will need a U.S. passport for international travel.  Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports.

Getting or renewing a passport is easy.  The Department of State’s Passport Application Wizard will help you determine which passport form you need, help you to complete the form online, estimate your payment, and generate the form for you to print—all in one place.

Obtaining a Visa to Travel to Ghana

In addition to a U.S. passport, you may also need to obtain a visa.  Where required, visas are affixed to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation.  To find information about obtaining a visa for Ghana, see the Department of State’s Country Specific Information.

Staying Safe on Your Trip

Before you travel, it is always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country.  The Department of State provides Country-Specific Information for every country in the world about various issues, including health conditions, crime, currency or entry requirements, and any areas of instability.

Staying in Touch on Your Trip

When traveling abroad during the adoption process, we encourage you to enroll with the Department of State through our Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in your destination country.  Enrollment makes it possible for the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Ghana, to contact you in an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency.  Whether there is a family emergency in the United States or a crisis in Ghana, enrollment assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.

Enrollment is free and can be done online via the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

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After Adoption

Post-Adoption/Post-Placement Reporting Requirements

We urge you to comply with Ghana’s post-adoption/post-placement requirements in a timely manner.  Ghanaian law requires updated reports on children adopted through the Hague process every six months during the first two years, and one a year during the following three years. Your adoption service provider may be able to help you with this process.  Your cooperation will contribute to Ghana’s positive experiences with U.S. citizen adoptive parents.

Post-Adoption Resources

Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption.  There are many public and private nonprofit post-adoption services available for children and their families. There are also numerous adoptive family support groups and adoptee organizations active in the United States that provide a network of options for adoptees who seek out other adoptees from the same country of origin.  You may wish to take advantage of all the resources available to your family, whether it is another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services.  Your primary provider can provide or point you to post- placement/post-adoption services to help your adopted child and your family transition smoothly and deal effectively with the many adjustments required in an intercountry adoption. 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services maintains a website, the Child Welfare Information Gateway, which can be a useful resource to get you started on your support group search.

COMPLAINTS

If you have concerns about your intercountry adoption process, we ask that you share this information with the U. S. Embassy in Accra, particularly if it involves possible fraud or misconduct specific to your child’s case.  The Department of State takes all allegations of fraud or misconduct seriously.  Our Adoption Comment Page provides several points of contact for adoptive families to comment on their adoption service provider, their experience applying for their child’s visa, or about the Form I-800/A petition process.

The Complaint Registry is an internet based registry for filing complaints about the compliance of U.S. accredited or approved adoption service providers with U.S. accreditation standards.  If you think your provider's conduct may not have been in compliance with accreditation standards, first submit your complaint in writing directly to your provider.  If the complaint is not resolved through the provider's complaint process, you may file the complaint through the Complaint Registry

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Contact Information

U.S. Embassy in Ghana
24 Fourth Circular Road
Accra, Ghana
Tel:  +233 30 274 1000
Email:  AdoptionAccra@state.gov
Internet:  gh.usembassy.gov

Ghana’s Adoption Authority
Central Adoption Authority Department of Social Development
Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection
Post Office Box MBO 186
Ministries, Accra, Ghana
Tel:  +233 30 268 8181
Fax:  +233 30 268 8188
Email:  info@mogcsp.gov.gh
Internet:  mogcsp.gov.gh

Embassy of Ghana 3512 International Drive, NW
Washington, DC 20008
Tel: 202-686-4520  Email: consular@ghanaembassydc.org
Internet: www.ghanaembassydc.org

Office of Children’s Issues
U.S. Department of State
CA/OCS/CI
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, D.C.  20522-1709
Tel:  1-888-407-4747
Email:  Adoption@state.gov
Internet:  adoption.state.gov

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) For questions about filing a Form I-800A application or a Form I-800 petition: USCIS National Benefits Center (NBC):
Tel:  1-877-424-8374 (toll free); 1-913-275-5480 (local);
Fax: 1- 913-214-5808
Email:  NBC.Adoptions@uscis.dhs.gov For general questions about immigration procedures:
USCIS National Customer Service Center (NCSC)
Tel:  1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)
Internet:  uscis.gov

 

 

 

Reciprocity Schedule

Select a visa category below to find the visa issuance fee, number of entries, and validity period for visas issued to applicants from this country*/area of authority.

Explanation of Terms

Visa Classification: The type of nonimmigrant visa you are applying for.

Fee: The reciprocity fee, also known as the visa issuance fee, you must pay. This fee is in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee (MRV fee).

Number of Entries: The number of times you may seek entry into the United States with that visa. "M" means multiple times. If there is a number, such as "One", you may apply for entry one time with that visa.

Validity Period: This generally means the visa is valid, or can be used, from the date it is issued until the date it expires, for travel with that visa. If your Validity Period is 60 months, your visa will be valid for 60 months from the date it is issued.

Visa Classifications
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
Visa
Classification
Fee Number
of Entries
Validity
Period
A-1 None Multiple 60 Months
A-2 None Multiple 60 Months
A-3 1 None Multiple 24 Months
B-1 None Multiple 60 Months
B-2 None Multiple 60 Months
B-1/B-2 None Multiple 60 Months
C-1 None Multiple 24 Months
C-1/D None Multiple 24 Months
C-2 None Multiple 24 Months
C-3 None Multiple 24 Months
CW-1 11 None Multiple 12 Months
CW-2 11 None Multiple 12 Months
D None Multiple 24 Months
E-1 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
E-2 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
E-2C 12 None Multiple 24 Months
F-1 None Multiple 48 Months
F-2 None Multiple 48 Months
G-1 None Multiple 60 Months
G-2 None Multiple 60 Months
G-3 None Multiple 60 Months
G-4 None Multiple 60 Months
G-5 1 None Multiple 24 Months
H-1B None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-1C None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2A None N/A N/A3
H-2B None N/A N/A3
H-2R None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-4 None Multiple 60 Months 3
I None Multiple 12 Months
J-1 4 None Multiple 12 Months
J-2 4 None Multiple 12 Months
K-1 None One 6 Months
K-2 None One 6 Months
K-3 None Multiple 24 Months
K-4 None Multiple 24 Months
L-1 None Multiple 60 Months
L-2 None Multiple 60 Months
M-1 None Multiple 24 Months
M-2 None Multiple 24 Months
N-8 None Multiple 36 Months
N-9 None Multiple 36 Months
NATO 1-7 N/A N/A N/A
O-1 None Multiple 60 Months 3
O-2 None Multiple 60 Months 3
O-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-1 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-2 None Multiple 6 Months 3
P-3 None Multiple 6 Months 3
P-4 None Multiple 60 Months 3
Q-1 6 None Multiple 15 Months 3
R-1 None Multiple 24 Months
R-2 None Multiple 24 Months
S-5 7 None One 1 Month
S-6 7 None One 1 Month
S-7 7 None One 1 Month
T-1 9 N/A N/A N/A
T-2 None One 6 Months
T-3 None One 6 Months
T-4 None One 6 Months
T-5 None One 6 Months
T-6 None One 6 Months
TD 5 N/A N/A N/A
U-1 None Multiple 48 Months
U-2 None Multiple 48 Months
U-3 None Multiple 48 Months
U-4 None Multiple 48 Months
U-5 None Multiple 48 Months
V-1 None Multiple 120 Months
V-2 None Multiple 120 Months 8
V-3 None Multiple 120 Months 8
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Country Specific Footnotes

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

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Visa Category Footnotes
  1. The validity of A-3, G-5, and NATO 7 visas may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the person who is employing the applicant. The "employer" would have one of the following visa classifications:

    • A-1
    • A-2
    • G-1 through G-4
    • NATO 1 through NATO 6

  2. An E-1 and E-2 visa may be issued only to a principal alien who is a national of a country having a treaty, or its equivalent, with the United States. E-1 and E-2 visas may not be issued to a principal alien if he/she is a stateless resident. The spouse and children of an E-1 or E-2 principal alien are accorded derivative E-1 or E-2 status following the reciprocity schedule, including any reciprocity fees, of the principle alien’s country of nationality.  

    Example: John Doe is a national of the country of Z that has an E-1/E-2 treaty with the U.S. His wife and child are nationals of the country of Y which has no treaty with the U.S. The wife and child would, therefore, be entitled to derivative status and receive the same reciprocity as Mr. Doe, the principal visa holder.  

  3. The validity of H-1 through H-3, O-1 and O-2, P-1 through P-3, and Q visas may not exceed the period of validity of the approved petition or the number of months shown, whichever is less.

    Under 8 CFR §214.2, H-2A and H-2B petitions may generally only be approved for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as participating countries. The current list of eligible countries is available on USCIS's website for both H-2A and H-2B visas. Nationals of countries not on this list may be the beneficiary of an approved H-2A or H2-B petition in limited circumstances at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security if specifically named on the petition.  

    Derivative H-4, L-2, O-3, and P-4 visas, issued to accompanying or following-to-join spouses and children, may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the principal alien.

  4. There is no reciprocity fee for the issuance of a J visa if the alien is a United States Government grantee or a participant in an exchange program sponsored by the United States Government.

    Also, there is no reciprocity fee for visa issuance to an accompanying or following-to-join spouse or child (J-2) of an exchange visitor grantee or participant.

    In addition, an applicant is eligible for an exemption from the MRV fee if he or she is participating in a State Department, USAID, or other federally funded educational and cultural exchange program (program serial numbers G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-7).

    However, all other applicants with U.S. Government sponsorships, including other J-visa applicants, are subject to the MRV processing fee.

  5. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canadian and Mexican nationals coming to engage in certain types of professional employment in the United States may be admitted in a special nonimmigrant category known as the "trade NAFTA" or "TN" category. Their dependents (spouse and children) accompanying or following to join them may be admitted in the "trade dependent" or "TD" category whether or not they possess Canadian or Mexican nationality. Except as noted below, the number of entries, fees and validity for non-Canadian or non-Mexican family members of a TN status holder seeking TD visas should be based on the reciprocity schedule of the TN principal alien.

    Canadian Nationals

    Since Canadian nationals generally are exempt from visa requirement, a Canadian "TN' or "TD" alien does not require a visa to enter the United States. However, the non-Canadian national dependent of a Canadian "TN", unless otherwise exempt from the visa requirement, must obtain a "TD" visa before attempting to enter the United States. The standard reciprocity fee and validity period for all non-Canadian "TD"s is no fee, issued for multiple entries for a period of 36 months, or for the duration of the principal alien's visa and/or authorized period of stay, whichever is less. See 'NOTE' under Canadian reciprocity schedule regarding applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality.

    Mexican Nationals

    Mexican nationals are not visa-exempt. Therefore, all Mexican "TN"s and both Mexican and non-Mexican national "TD"s accompanying or following to join them who are not otherwise exempt from the visa requirement (e.g., the Canadian spouse of a Mexican national "TN") must obtain nonimmigrant visas.

    Applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality, who have a permanent resident or refugee status in Canada/Mexico, may not be accorded Canadian/Mexican reciprocity, even when applying in Canada/Mexico. The reciprocity fee and period for "TD" applicants from Libya is $10.00 for one entry over a period of 3 months. The Iranian and Iraqi "TD" is no fee with one entry over a period of 3 months.

  6. Q-2 (principal) and Q-3 (dependent) visa categories are in existence as a result of the 'Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Act of 1998'. However, because the Department anticipates that virtually all applicants for this special program will be either Irish or U.K. nationals, the Q-2 and Q-3 categories have been placed only in the reciprocity schedules for those two countries. Q-2 and Q-3 visas are available only at the Embassy in Dublin and the Consulate General in Belfast.

  7. No S visa may be issued without first obtaining the Department's authorization.

  8. V-2 and V-3 status is limited to persons who have not yet attained their 21st birthday. Accordingly, the period of validity of a V-2 or V-3 visa must be limited to expire on or before the applicant's twenty-first birthday.

  9. Posts may not issue a T-1 visa. A T-1 applicant must be physically present in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or a U.S. port of entry, where he/she will apply for an adjustment of status to that of a T-1. The following dependents of a T-1 visa holder, however, may be issued a T visa at a U.S. consular office abroad:

    • T-2 (spouse)
    • T-3 (child)
    • T-4 (parent)
  10. The validity of NATO-5 visas may not exceed the period of validity of the employment contract or 12 months, whichever is less.

  11. The validity of CW-1 and CW-2 visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (12 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

  12. The validity of E-2C visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (24 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

 

 

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General Documents

Please check back for update.

Birth, Death, Burial Certificates

Birth

Available. As of February 1, 2011, only originals of the computer generated certified copies of birth certificates should be recognized and accepted for business and travel documentation.

Persons over 18 years of age must apply in person at the appropriate Registrar's Office. Records of registrations more than one year old are deposited with the Office of the Registrar of Births and Deaths for Ghana, C/O Ministry of Local Government, P.O. Box M.270, Accra, Ghana. If the applicant resides outside of Ghana, the person applying must present a written authorization from the individual whose birth certificate is being requested. Persons under 18 years of age must have their parent or guardian obtain the certificate. There may be a fee for this service.

Note: The majority of registrations are not made at the time of birth, and often no registration is made until an individual requires a birth certificate for immigration purposes. Registrations not made within one year of an individual's birth are not reliable evidence of relationship, since registration, including late registration, may often be accomplished upon demand, with little or no supporting documentation required.

  • Secondary Evidence: Because of the prevalence of late registrations, secondary evidence of birth is often required. Common secondary evidence includes midwife's certificates of birth, weight cards or welfare centre cards, and baptismal certificates. Recent affidavits by relatives or friends are not reliable.
  • Illegitimacy: Ghanaian birth documents do not indicate the marital status of the parents, and the appearance of a man's name on a birth document should not be taken as prima facie evidence of legitimate birth or of subsequent legitimation.


Death/Burial

Available. As of February 1, 2011, only originals of the computer generated certified copies of birth certificates should be recognized and accepted for business and travel documentation. Records more than one year old are deposited with the Office of the Registrar of Births and Deaths for Ghana, C/O Ministry of Local Government, P O. Box M.270, Accra, Ghana. There is a fee for this service.

Marriage, Divorce Certificates

Marriage

Available for marriages entered into under civil law from the Principal Registrar of Marriages, C/O Registrar General's Office, P.O. Box 118, Accra, Ghana. There is a fee for this service. Most marriages are performed under customary law, and written records are kept only if the couple chooses to register the marriage with the local council. Persons married under customary law who subsequently wish to marry under civil law must obtain a civil marriage certificate which reflects the words "married under native customary law" in the space provided for "condition." Polygamous marriage is permissible under the customary law of some groups, but not under civil law.

Divorce

Available. Certificates for the dissolution of a civil marriage may be obtained from the court that granted the divorce. Proper documentation of the dissolution of a customary marriage is a decree, issued by a high court, circuit court or district court under the Matrimonial Causes Act of 1971 (Act 367), Section 41(2), stating that the marriage in question was dissolved in accordance with customary law. Affidavits or "statutory declarations" attesting to a divorce under customary law, even when duly sworn, do not constitute proper documentation of the dissolution of a Ghanaian customary marriage.

Adoption Certificates

Unavailable.

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Identity Card

Unavailable.

Police, Court, Prison Records

Police Records

Ghana Police Clearance Certificate: Available. Residents of Ghana should report to the headquarters branch of the Criminal Investigations Division of the Ghana Police Authority in Accra, where a fingerprint sample will be taken. Cost for preparation of the certificate is approximately $17 USD (higher for expedited service), payable in local currency, for preparation within 7 days.

Non-residents should send a request via international courier (DHL or Fedex) and pay the round trip courier cost in advance. Accompanying the letter requesting the police certificate should be a receipt for a completed bank transfer of $200 to Ecobank Ghana (Main Headquarters), A/C 1101530940211, Commissioner of Police CID account. The international courier should deliver the documents to:

Commissioner of Police
Criminal Investigations
Department Headquarters
PO Box GP505
Accra, Ghana"

In addition, the applicant should also send the following documents/information:

  • The Bio-page of Applicant's Passport
  • Two Passport-sized Photographs
  • Full Name of Applicant
  • Date of Birth
  • Place of Birth
  • Father's Name
  • Mother's Name
  • Home Town
  • Occupation
  • List of All Schools Attended, including Year of Entry & Year of Completion
  • Contact Address
  • Email Address
  • Telephone Number

Court Records

Unavailable.

Prison Records

Available. In the case of a person who has been incarcerated, a prison record may be obtained from the Director of Prisons, P.O. Box 129, Accra. There may be a fee for this service. Processing time varies, depending on the length of the sentence, how long ago and in what prison the sentence was served.

Military Records

Available. In the case of a person who has served in the Gold Coast or Ghana Armed Forces, a military record may be obtained from the Director of Personnel Administration, Ministry of Defense, Burma Camp, Accra, Ghana.

Passports & Other Travel Documents

Certificate of Identity

Issued to residents of Ghana until citizenship status is determined. The document bears a validity date and ceases to be valid if the bearer obtains a national passport. Certificate of Commonwealth Citizenship and Laissez-Passer is issued to citizens of the Commonwealth who are residents of Ghana and who are not in possession of their own national travel document. The Certificate meets the passport requirements of Section 101(a)(30) of the Act and is valid for a period of one year in the first instance and may be renewed as circumstances demand.

Other Records

Not applicable.

Visa Issuing Posts

Accra, Ghana (Embassy)

US Embassy
No. 24, Fourth Circular Rd, Cantonments, Accra
P.O. Box 194
Accra, Ghana

Telephone: (233) 21-741-000

After Hours Emergency: (233) 21-741-775

Fax: (233) 21-741-389

Consular Section
No. 19 Fifth Link Rd.
Cantonments, Accra
Accra, Ghana

Telephone: (233) 21-741-100

Fax: (233) 21-741-362/741-426

Email: consulateaccra@state.gov

Mailed in Ghana:
Consular Section
US Embassy
P.O. Box GP 194
Accra, Ghana

Mailing Address from the United States:
Consular Section
US Dept. of State
2020 Accra Place
Washington, DC 20521-2020

Tel: (233-21) 775-347 or 775-348

Fax: (233-21) 701-1813

Visa Services

All categories for all of Ghana.

Foreign Consular Office Contact Information

Washington, DC (202) 686-4520

Houston, TX (713) 960-1950 (713) 960-8833

New York, NY (212) 832-1300 (212) 751-6743

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Accra
No. 24 Fourth Circular Road,
Cantonments, Accra,
Ghana
Telephone
+233-(0)30-274-1000
Emergency
+233-(0)30-274-1000
Fax
No Fax
Ghana Map

Learn about your destination
Additional Information for Reciprocity

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.