In Ghana, no foreigner shall employ or accept employment unless that person is granted a work permit or immigrant quota. Work permit or Immigrant quota is an authorization granted to an employer or employee to engage in lawful and gainful employment in Ghana. The work permit or immigrant quota specifies the job title. It indicates the employer by whom that person is employed, and the holder cannot engage in any other employment, business, profession or occupation in Ghana for reward than what is specified by the work permit or Immigrant quota.

Usually, a work permit is valid for one (1) year with the option of renewal. It must be noted however that, a foreigner that has been granted a work permit or immigrant quota cannot start working immediately in Ghana unless that person is issued residence permit by the Director of Immigration to remain and work in the country.

From the preceding introductory remarks, it is essential for foreigners intending to work in Ghana to apply and obtain a work permit from the relevant authorities before the commencement of work. For these discussions, the competent authority is the Ghana Immigration Service.


Application for the work permit shall be lodge at the Ghana Immigration Service. Forms for the application can be obtained from the Ghana Immigration Service office in Accra, Ghana. The forms ought to be completed and signed by the Applicant. The Applicant is expected to provide accurate and credible answers to all questions asked.

Submission of Application Forms and Related Documents

To apply for a work permit from the Ghana Immigration Service, the following related documents ought to accompany the application forms;

  1. Cover Letter.
  2. Biodata page of the prospective employer's passport.
  3. Company's certificate of Registration
  4. Company's certificate of incorporation.
  5. Company's certificate for commencement of business
  6. Valid Tax Clearance Certificate of the Company
  7. Medical Report of the Prospective Employee
  8. Police Report of the Prospective Employee
  9. Professional and Educational Certificate of Applicant
  10. Employment Contract issued by the Company
  11. Completed Application Documents/ Forms
  12. CV

Additional Documents

The following documents usually must accompany the application for the work permit in Ghana.

  1. Medical report
  2. Police clearance report from home country
  3. Passport pictures (current one)
  4. Appointment letter if employed

Legal Advice

Usually, under some circumstances, some additional documents may be requested by the Ghana Immigration Service. However, this depends on the individual Applicant's circumstances and the type of work he is being engaged and or employed to do in Ghana. There is, therefore, the need to seek legal advice before applying for a work permit in Ghana.

Assessment and Evaluation of Application

Once submitted, Ghana Immigration Service will cause an extensive review of the application to ascertain whether all relevant documents have been presented in consideration of the work permit. In some instances, the outcome of the evaluation could be any of the following;

  1. application refused- meaning the application lacks merit.
  2. Additional information required- meaning recommendation for approval will be subject to additional information being provided.
  3. Application approved- meaning the application satisfies all the requirements hence granted by the Ghana Immigration Service.

Notice of Issuance of Permit

The Applicant shall be informed by the issuance of the work permit by the Ghana Immigration Service for pick up.

Notes on contributor

Mr David Yaw Danquah is the founder and Managing Partner of Legalstone Solicitors LLP, a boutique law firm in Ghana with a concentration on Corporate and Commercial, Mining and Infrastructure, Debt Recovery and Restructuring, Real Estate and Construction Law, and Commercial Arbitration.

He heads the firm's practice areas of focusing are Corporate and Commercial, Mining and Infrastructure, Debt Recovery and Restructuring, and Commercial Arbitration.

David has advised on numerous investment and mining-related transactions. He also has assisted countless international entities in establishing their operations in Ghana, and through his firms, offers support services to those entities. He has an impeccable record of providing technical savvy and exceptional client services.

David is a graduate of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi, where he received his Bachelor's Degree in Law (LL. B) and the Ghana School of Law, where he studied and received a Post Graduate Qualifying Certificate in Law (PQCL). He holds a Certificate in Negotiation Mastery from Harvard University. Presently, he is pursuing an LL.M Degree in International Dispute Resolution at the prestigious Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom.

David is a member of the Ghana Bar Association, Association of International Petroleum Negotiators (AIPN) and Institute of Energy Law (IEL) based in Houston, U.S.

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The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.