What is the change? Ghana has announced that it plans to offer a new class of visas on arrival to nationals of member countries of the African Union.

What does the change mean? Once the new scheme is introduced, nationals of all but one African country will no longer need to secure a visa from either a consulate or the Ghana Immigration Service before traveling to Ghana for visits of up to 30 days.

  • Implementation time frame:Approximately July 2016.
  • Visas/permits affected:Visit visas.
  • Who is affected:Eligible nationals of all African countries, except Morocco.
  • Impact on processing times:The change will eliminate consular processing for eligible travelers.
  • Business impact:The new class of visas on arrival will significantly facilitate travel and stimulate business contacts between Ghana and the rest of Africa.
  • Next steps:The plan has been announced but not yet implemented.

Background: Ghanaian President John Mahama announced the plan Feb. 25 in his State of the Nation address to Parliament. Under the new policy, nationals of all member states of the African Union will no longer be required to secure a visit visa prior to travelling to Ghana. Rather, the visit visa will be issued at the port of entry.

Currently, only nationals of the 15 countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) are exempted from needing a visit visa prior to traveling to Ghana. Once the new scheme is introduced, nationals of all 54 countries of the African Union will no longer need such pre-travel approval. The only country in Africa that is not a member of the African Union is Morocco. The Central African Republic was suspended from all African Union activities in March 2013 but continues to be a member state.

BAL Analysis: The visas on arrival will significantly improve travel for African nationals doing business in or visiting Ghana for short stays. Details of implementation will become clearer in the coming months. BAL is following this change and will provide updates as information becomes available.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Ghana. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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