Before deciding that living in Ghana as a foreigner is what you want to do, have you made your research? Have you considered the pros and cons of moving to Ghana as a foreigner or Black-American?
While Ghana is one of the nations with amazing cultural heritage and boasts of advancing economic growth, you must know what it takes to become a resident of Ghana.
This relocation guide will provide you with sufficient information about moving to Ghana from the USA, and living in Ghana 2020 and beyond. Towards the end, you will also get answers to some frequently asked questions about living in Ghana as a foreigner.
What Is So Fascinating About Ghana?
Of all West African nations, Ghana is usually at the forefront of people’s minds when it comes to relocating from the USA or Europe mainly because these continents have strong historical ties to West Africa. As such, when most African-Americans think of returning to their roots, they decide on where their ties are the strongest.
Apart from this traditional reason for choosing Ghana, many foreigners decide to settle in Ghana because of its beautiful landscape and tropical sights that represent peace to foreigners who come from conflicting cultures and climates.
With so many fun natural sights, tropical beaches that give the real definition of being sun-kissed, and humid yet warm weather that’s a far cry from the usually freezing climates they are used to, Ghana holds a lot of appeal to foreigners looking to settle in a laidback setting.
Another fascinating factor that draws in visitors who end up deciding to move to Ghana is the country’s hospitality towards tourists and visitors. Ghanaians, being warm people, love to extend greetings and warm pleasantries to you even though you are a stranger.
They offer you a drink when you visit them, and though these pleasantries might appear awkward and strange, it’s just a part of their culture and upbringing to do so. If you are big on culture and the idea of one big family, this peculiarity of the Ghanaian people might appeal to you.
In terms of economic growth, the country is also among the top five rapidly growing African nations, and so it attracts many foreign investors, thanks to its arable lands and gold too. Technology has also been a promising venture that has been attracting investors both locally and internationally.
As such, if your fear is whether you will flourish as a business owner, investor, or an employed person, the country has enjoyed some progress on these levels.
With evolution and societal changes, the benefits of moving to Ghana from the USA have also seemingly increased.
After the tumultuous events of the year 2020; with the covid-19 pandemic and the relatively low number of casualties in Africa as a whole, as well as the Black Lives Matter movement that was once again triggered by the death of George Floyd, Africa and Ghana especially hasn’t held this much appeal to ex-pats as it now does.
Ghana, also being an advanced African society, as further portrayed by 2018 globally accepted movie Wakanda, has many alluring things that encourage Black people in the diaspora to want to settle in the country.
For many ex-pats and Black-Americans, the fact that they can move freely among people who have faces and features similar to theirs is enough to want to relocate to Ghana. To such people who already attained a level of success in the USA, but are seeking peace, freedom, and societal inclusivity, the booming economy and business opportunities are bonus advantages.
It also doesn’t hurt that the official language of the Ghanaian people is English, and so there’s no language disparity to battle upon moving to Ghana. The language barrier is one of the major issues migrators experience within the first few weeks of settling in their new homes.
While transitioning from the American lifestyle to the Ghanaian will come with some difficulty, complete language won’t be one of them, and that’s something less to worry about.
Another reason you should be at peace with your decision to move to Ghana is that the country has in place a Right of Abode law that allows blacks in the diaspora legal right to live in Ghana, thus giving you and many others access to the goodness the country offers.
Meaning, you can live and thrive in Ghana without immediate fear of racism by a set of different-looking people who choose to dominate you. If you are a black woman, you get to remove yourself from the larger pool of people tagged as a minority, and the rights you fight for become more specific.
In other words, your scope of advantages widens and you get to hope for more on home turf. Is it any wonder Stevie Wonder is planning to move to Ghana?
Should The Climatic Difference Influence your Decision?
With all the physical, economic, social, and financial advantages moving to Ghana portends, should you even consider the cons of switching from an environment you’ve lived all your life? You should certainly give a thought to how a change in environment and climate will affect you, or your family if you are moving down to Ghana with them.
The first thing you should do when you decide to make the move to Ghana is to be mentally prepared for the change. The easiest part for someone moving from the USA or any other continent is probably physical transportation.
You need to prepare yourself psychologically, mentally, and emotionally for any eventuality you will encounter. Beyond preparing the necessary amount of money or ensuring you secure your things in storage till you can send them to your new home, are you prepared for climate change?
If you are used to freezing weather or at least a level of coldness that exists in Africa only a handful of times in a year, your body system might go through a series of shock before it gets used to the new climate. However, if you aren’t prepared for the worst, you might find it harder to control your shock at the climatic differences between America and Ghana.
Rather than the four seasons you are used to, you’ll be experiencing two major seasons that occur multiple times within a year; dry and rainy seasons. The dry season could come with so much humidity or harmattan, while the rainy season brings with it wetness and cold.
You may not need to bundle yourself up in swaths of clothes in the rainy or harmattan season because the temperature can drop easily too.
If you are thinking of moving to one of the southern coastal regions, the local climate will be more warm or humid than hot, which is better because your body is used to cool weather, not hot.
On the other hand, the southwestern part of Ghana is hot and humid because it is surrounded by rainforests while the northern region is hot and dry, meaning drought and limited water supply is a common factor in that part of the country.
In short, you need less bulky clothes and more comfortable ones if you intend to make Ghana your home.
The Ghanaian government has been extending an invitation to Ghanaians and Black Diasporians, telling them to come home to own lands at a subsidized rate as part of an initiative called The year of Return.
This initiative was created in 2019 but proved more essential in 2020 in support of Black-Americans whose fear of police brutality towards blacks in America increased.
As such, if one of your worries is living a life free of fear due to your physical appearance or you don’t want your kids to grow up with such fears, the climatic differences will be the least of things to worry about when moving to Ghana.
The Best Places To Live In Ghana.
Even if your major reason for moving to Ghana is to live a life free of fear and filled with the kind of inclusivity you’ve always desired, you shouldn’t have to deny yourself the good standard of living you enjoyed in the USA.
As such, when putting together your plan of moving to Ghana, Reddit might provide some needful answers, but the next few tips would prove even more useful and help you with your plans.
The location you settle for is just as important as every other decision you make regarding your move to Ghana. The goal is not to simply move to Ghana, the goal is to move and live there successfully.
However, if you’re not armed with the right information, you might end up with a sob story of ‘things we wish we’d known as African-Americans or Jamaicans living in Ghana’. As such, you cannot finalize your plans to move to Ghana if you haven’t seriously considered where in Ghana you want to settle down.
If you simply want to visit the country as a tourist willing to explore exotic wildlife destinations or historic attractions, your best bet would be the large cities such as Kumasi, Accra, or Takoradi because they have some major tourist attraction sights. They also offer the most comfortable modern amenities, compared to the smaller cities.
As an ex-pat too, settling in one of the big cities might be the best choice, especially if you come from a busy city like New York. You should also ask yourself,
What kind of lifestyle do I hope to settle for?
Do I want to be surrounded by people or mostly keep to myself?
What kind of school do I want my children to attend (if you have any) or which of the schools should I attend (if you are still in the learning process)?
Where is my job or business located and how close will my residence be to it?
These questions will help you decide where you should live as a Ghanaian resident. You might want to consider the following places if you’re moving from the USA:
As one of the developing areas in the country, Dandoman attracts different sets of people; from low to middle and even high-income earners, who want to live in a part of the country where life is fun and fast. Dansoma is located near the Guinea coast Gulf which is 14km southwest from the center of the city.
It is one of the largest areas of Ghana, and because of the bustling nightlife activities and fun spots, it is normal to often encounter heavy traffic.
While the Dansoman area sometimes experiences low water supply problems, there is usually the availability of water and electricity supply, making it a desirable location.
2. Airport Residential Area
The major allure of this location is its proximity to the Kotoka International Airport and that means the cost of living is more expensive than some other parts of Accra. If you can afford the opulence of this area, you will have access to the best restaurants, schools, clubs, supermarkets, hotels hospitals, banks and so much more.
Owning your vehicle is also necessary because public transportation is rare in this area. Also, renting a home might be more feasible than buying a property in this Airport Residential Area. As such, you should be reasonably loaded with money if this is your kind of thing.
3. Roman Ridge
If serenity is what you seek, Roman Ridge is one of the best places you’ll find that offers exactly what you need. Located in the west of the Airport Residential region, Roman Ridge has well-serviced apartments and several amazing restaurants with delicious cuisines.
As such, you don’t lack good food or housing even though you need to visit neighboring cities such as Dzorwulu and Osu for nightlife enjoyment.
The Importance of Socio-cultural Integration When You Move.
Apart from where to live in Ghana, you should be familiar with some cultural and social practices that will help you get settled in quickly. These peculiarities might not have any direct implications on how you choose to live your life as a foreigner living in Ghana but they can affect your interactions with the native people.
If you are to attain the inclusiveness you seek from your African brothers and sisters, you should be willing to integrate yourself into the culture and know certain things even though you are a foreigner. What is considered taboo and what is acceptable among different tribes? How do the people greet one another? How do you reply to people of different ages?
For example, Ghanaians, like many other African countries, love to exchange pleasantries. It is a part of their culture to call our respectful greetings regardless of the time of the day.
You, coming from a different culture, might find this weird because you only greet people you know in America, but the Ghanaian people will think you’re rude if you don’t return their greetings.
Other things such as haggling prices of things in the market so you don’t get ripped off because you’re new, understanding popular local vernacular, and learning popular landmarks will save you time, money, and stress. As such, you might want to build relationships with some of the locals on arrival.
Making The Move To Ghana: Steps To Take.
Now, to the most important part, how to get into Ghana as a resident. The first step is knowing how to get a permit to enter the country.
Citizens of certain African nations such as Zambia, Lesotho, Malawi, and Tanzania do not need to apply for a visa in their country of residence to travel to Ghana. All they need is an entry Visa stamp on their passport on arrival.
However, as an American citizen, you need to apply for a visa at the Ghanaian embassy or consulate in your country before you can enter the country.
What you need for your visa application:
- A passport with at least 6 months validity left.
- Two signed and filled application forms.
- A well-stated financial statement.
- Two passport-sized photographs.
- The names and addresses of reputable references.
The Ghana embassy in your country will help you process your visa and let you know when it is approved. The normal duration for visiting permits is 2 months (60 days), but if you’re moving to Ghana, the procedure is different and more time-consuming.
Residing and Working in Ghana
For you to work in Ghana, you either need to be a resident or have a work permit for the duration you’ll be in the country.
The previous immigration policy allowed ex-pats to enter the country and work while their work permit is still in progress, but the new policy demands that all documents related to relocation and work permit be ready before you can enter Ghana.
If you’re entering Ghana as an employee, the immigration authority will first consider the ratio of employable Ghanaians to employable non-Ghanaians, then accept or reject your application based on where the number swings. Meaning, foreigners are at a disadvantage if more Ghanaians are vying for the same job opportunities as them.
However, if the opportunity swings in your favor and you’re granted the job, you’ll need the following to apply for a work permit at the Ghana Immigration Service:
- Your completed and signed application form from your employer.
- Your completed work permit application form
- A well-written CV
- Your educational and professional certificates
- Employment contract
- Favorably, a clean sheet police report from your country of residence.
- Your medical report
- Photocopies of important pages of your passport
Processing takes about four weeks and your employer will be actively involved with helping you with getting the work permit.
The process of getting a residence permit is similar to that of a work permit and your employer will assist you with that also. You will need to submit the same documents you submitted for the work permit with the addition of two passport photos and proof of travel insurance.
Your employer will also need to submit the following on your behalf:
- The company’s Code
- The Certificate of Incorporation
- Application letter for the residence permit
- Tax clearance certificate
- Certificate to Commence Business
- Approval letter from Ministry of Interior
Your residence and work permits should get to you in no time if there is no glitch along the way.
FAQs for moving to Ghana from USA
What do I need to know before moving to Ghana?
Before relocating to Ghana from Nigeria or anywhere else, you should understand that the Ghanaian way of life is different and things might be slower than you are used to in your country. Also, it is best if you start searching for a job before you finalize moving to Ghana so you’re not stranded your first few months in the country.
How much do you need to live in Ghana?
You should discard the common notion that it is so cheap to live in Ghana because things can be just as expensive here too. As such, budget to spend more rather than less, this way, you’re cautious of how and how much you spend your cedis.
Is Ghana a nice place to live?
There are has lots of benefits of living in Ghana, some of which are the friendly people, nice climate, several fun activities, and good food. You can also do most of what you enjoy doing in your current country of residence in Ghana. So yes, Ghana is a nice enough place to live.
Is Ghana giving free land?
There isn’t free land for African-Americans in Ghana. What the government is offering are large chunks of land at subsidized rates for returning ex-pats.
Is Ghana a poor country?
Ghana is the fifth fastest-growing economy in Africa and so, the country is far from poor even though it has its setbacks and is still developing.
Are Jamaicans from Ghana?
While not all Jamaicans are from Ghana, some have their roots in certain parts of Ghana. This relation can be traced to the slaves captured from places like Asante in Ghana to Jamaica.
What is the biggest problem in Ghana?
Ghana’s biggest is the unwillingness to progress, and this is seen in the way most of its citizens lazily approach work and growth. They also appear content with the unjust way the government rules them.
What is Ghana famous for?
Ghana is most famous for Lake Volta, the largest artificial lake in the world.
What language is spoken in Ghana?
While the official language spoken by Ghanaians is the English language, Ghana is rich in diverse ethnic groups and its people speak different languages. However, the most popular ethnic language is Akan because the largest ethnic group is Akans comprising 47% of the entire population.
Ghana is far from perfect as it still deals with several challenges like any other developing country. However, the country has improved over the years and it is a relatively safe place for ex-pats from the USA who want to call Ghana home.
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