Travel.State.Gov > International Travel > Country Information > Ghana International Travel Information
See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Ghana for information on U.S. - Ghana relations.
Visit the Embassy of Ghana website for the most current visa information.
Proof of yellow fever vaccination is required upon arrival in Ghana for anyone over nine months of age.
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 Ghana card. The non-citizen Ghana card will be necessary for all transactions that require identification, i.e. opening bank accounts, obtaining work permits, acquiring driver’s licenses, etc.
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.
Refer to the Ghana Travel Advisory and the U.S. Embassy Accra website for the most updated safety and security information. For further information about crime trends in Ghana, the Ghana Police Service Criminal Investigations Department issues advisories on the Ghana Police Service site.
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 faces an increased threat from transnational terrorist groups. Terrorists have targeted Westerners in Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Niger, Benin, 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.
Violent crimes such as armed robbery and kidnapping have occurred. Robberies on highways are of particular concern, especially at night. Armed robbers also sometimes target vehicles coming from Kotoka International Airport. If your car is hit by another car while you are driving, go directly to the nearest police station to report the incident. Reports of residential robberies continue to be on the rise.
Street crime remains a serious problem in Accra and other large cities. Thieves carry out crimes of opportunity such as “snatch & grabs” on city streets in isolated areas, as well as from vehicles idling in traffic. Pickpockets are also prevalent in crowded areas.
Please see Travel & Transportation section for more information.
Luggage and travel document theft 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.
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. Please visit the Department of State and the FBI pages for more information on these and other common 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 crimes.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.
Tourism: The tourism industry is unevenly regulated outside of the major cities, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities may not commonly occur. Hazardous areas/activities are not always identified with appropriate signage, and staff may not be trained or certified either by the host government or by recognized authorities in the field. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is typically available only in/near major cities. First responders are generally unable to easily access areas outside of major cities to provide urgent medical treatment. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.
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 to for help. Commercial scams are also common and involve phony offers of money transfers, lucrative sales, gold purchases, inheritance, contracts with promises of large commissions, or up-front payments.
Please contact the Embassy at ACSAccra@state.gov before sending money to anyone you have 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. U.S. citizens have been victims of false criminal accusations and have lost time and money as they sought to resolve these difficult situations. Some U.S. citizens have also reported being scammed by individuals representing themselves as public officials.
Faith-Based Travelers: See the 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.
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.
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.
See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
The U.S. Government does not pay medical bills of private U.S. citizens abroad. 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.
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:
Refer to the CDC website for health information for travelers to Ghana
The following diseases are prevalent:
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Government of Ghana requires proof of Yellow Fever vaccination at port of entry.
Further health information:
Road Conditions and Safety: Main roads in major cities are generally paved and well maintained. Secondary roads and many roads outside of major cities are mostly 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 been an increase in robberies on the highways from Bole-to-Wa and Kintampo-to-Tamale, as well as on other minor roads within parts of the Upper West, Upper East, Northern, Eastern, Bono, Bono East, and Ahafo 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 United States 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.
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 Aviation 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. Pirates/armed groups operating in the region typically use automatic weapons to carry out attacks on vessels. 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 also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website, and the NGA broadcast warnings.