Ghana Country Travel Infomation

Travel Transportation

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.

See our Road Safety page for more information. Visit the website of Ghana?s national tourist office and national authority responsible for road safety.

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 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.

Health

Please visit the Embassy’s COVID-19 page?for more information on COVID-19 in?Ghana.?

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. 

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.

For emergency services in Ghana, dial 211.

Ambulance services are:

  • Not widely available, and training and availability of emergency responders may be below U.S. standards. 
  • Not equipped with state-of-the-art medical equipment.  
  • Not staffed with trained paramedics, and often have little or no medical equipment. 
  • Injured or seriously ill travelers may prefer to take a taxi or private vehicle to the nearest major hospital rather than wait for an ambulance.  

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not apply overseas. Most hospitals and doctors overseas do not accept U.S. health insurance.

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. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information on type of insurance you should consider before you travel overseas.

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.

Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor?s prescription. Check with the Ghana Food and Drugs Authority to ensure the medication is legal in Ghana.

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

Further health information:

Air Quality: Visit AirNow Department of State for information on air quality at U.S. Embassies and Consulates. 

The U.S. Embassy maintains a list of doctors and hospitals.  We do not endorse or recommend any specific medical provider or clinic. 

Health Facilities in General:

  • Public medical clinics lack basic resources and supplies.  
  • Hospitals and doctors often require payment ?up front? prior to service or admission. Credit card payment is not always available. Most hospitals and medical professionals require cash payment. 
  • Private hospitals usually require advance payment or proof of adequate insurance before admitting a patient.  
  • Generally, in public hospitals only minimal staff is available overnight in non-emergency wards.
  • Patients bear all costs for transfer to or between hospitals. 

Medical Tourism and Elective Surgery:

  • Medical tourism is a rapidly growing industry. People seeking health care overseas should understand that medical systems operate differently from those in the United States, and are not subject to the same rules and regulations. Anyone interested in traveling for medical purposes should consult with their local physician before traveling.
  • Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for information on medical tourism, the risks of medical tourism, and what you can do to prepare before traveling to Ghana. 
  • We strongly recommend supplemental insurance?to cover medical evacuation in the event of unforeseen medical complications.  

Pharmaceuticals:

  • Exercise caution when purchasing medication overseas. Pharmaceuticals, both over the counter and requiring prescriptions in the United States, are often readily available for purchase with little controls. Counterfeit medication is common, and may prove to be ineffective, the wrong strength, or contain dangerous ingredients. Medication should be purchased in consultation with a medical professional and from reputable establishments.  
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Food and Drug Administration are responsible for rules governing the transport of medication back to the United States. Medication purchased abroad must meet their requirements to be legally brought back into the United States. Medication should be for personal use and must be approved for usage in the United States. Please visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Food and Drug Administration websites for more information.   

Assisted Reproductive Technology and Surrogacy:

  • If you are considering traveling to Ghana to have a child through use of assisted reproductive technology (ART) or surrogacy, please see our ART and Surrogacy Abroad page

Water Quality:

  • In many areas, tap water is not potable. Bottled water and beverages are generally safe, although you should be aware that many restaurants and hotels serve tap water unless bottled water is specifically requested. Be aware that ice for drinks may be made using tap water. 

Adventure Travel:

  • Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about Adventure Travel

General Health:

The following diseases are prevalent:

Air Quality:

  • Air pollution is a significant problem in several major cities in Ghana. Consider the impact seasonal smog and heavy particulate pollution may have on you, and consult your doctor before traveling if necessary.   
  • The air quality varies considerably and fluctuates with the seasons. It is typically at its worst in the dry season from October to February. People at the greatest risk from particle pollution exposure include: 
    • Infants, children, and teens. 
    • People over 65 years of age. 
    • People with lung disease, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. 
    • People with heart disease or diabetes. 
    • People who work or are active outdoors. 

Local laws and Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Individuals establishing a business or practicing a profession that requires additional permits or licensing should seek information from the competent local authorities prior to practicing or operating a business. 

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.

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.

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.

Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the United States, 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.

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.

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.

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.

Furthermore, 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.

See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

Safety and Security

West Africa faces an increased threat from transnational terrorist groups. Terrorists have targeted Westerners in C?te d?Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Niger, Benin, and Mali.

For more information, see our Terrorism page.

Crime:? Violent crimes, such as armed robbery and kidnapping, occasionally occur. 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.

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 scammers to tamper with credit card terminals. 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.

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. Please see the Travel & Transportation section for more information.  

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.

Demonstrations?occur frequently. They may take place in response to political or economic issues, on politically significant holidays, and during international events.?

  • Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly become violent.?
  • Avoid areas around protests and demonstrations.?
  • Check local media for updates and traffic advisories. 

International Financial Scams:? See the?Department of State?and the?FBI?pages for information.

Internet romance and financial scams are prevalent in Ghana. Scams are often initiated through Internet postings/profiles or by unsolicited emails and letters. Scammers almost always pose as U.S. citizens who have no one else to turn to for help. Common scams include:  

  • Romance/online dating 
  • Money transfers
  • Lucrative sales
  • Gold purchase
  • Contracts with promises of large commissions
  • Grandparent/relative targeting 
  • Free trip/luggage 
  • Lotteries
  • Inheritance notices
  • Work permits/job offers
  • Bank overpayments

Victims of Crime: U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault are encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy for assistance. Report crimes to the local police 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 United States.
  • 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.

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.

Maritime Security: Piracy and armed robbery in the Gulf of Guinea continue to trend upwards. 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 ship?s property continue to be common occurrences.

Entry exit Requirementsh

Please visit the Embassy’s COVID-19 page for more information on entry/exit requirements related to COVID-19 in?Ghana.?

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). The 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.

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

Destination Description

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

Travel Embassy and Consulate

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
Email: 

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