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Local laws and customs

Know the law and stay out of trouble during your stay in Ghana


Ghana is, for the most part, a modern and progressive country and a bit of common sense and basic respect for local laws and customs should be all you need for a safe and enjoyable stay. There are a few things to be aware of, however, in order to minimise the risk of things going awry.


Drugs offences are taken very seriously in Ghana, in part due to the country's growing drug problem. Bail is not granted for those caught with drugs of any kind (including class C drugs) and being in possession of even small amounts of marijuana can result in prison sentences of up to five years. Class A drugs such as cocaine and heroin carry far lengthier gaol terms.


Homosexuality is illegal in Ghana and as a result there is no open gay scene in Accra. Many Ghanaians do not accept that homosexuality even exists so same sex couples should exercise discretion in public and when making hotel bookings.

Age restrictions

The age of consent for sex is 16.
For smoking, drinking, buying alcohol and driving, the minimum age is 18.


It is prohibited to take photographs of military installations, airports or other sensitive sites even where this is not clearly marked. Photographers should always seek permission to photograph a building where there are guards on duty. If there is no guard or signage, caution should still be exercised. Beware of being scammed by phony officials who try to charge fees for tourists to photograph places of interest.


Without paying import duties, visitors to Ghana can bring in:
• up to 200 cigarettes,
• 50 cigars or 1lb of tobacco
• 250ml of spirits or wine
• 250ml of perfume

Those wishing to export handicrafts and antiques not exempt from duties must obtain a certificate from the Museums and Monuments Board; these are available from the main craft centre or the National Museum.

Banned imports into Ghana include animals, firearms and ammunition and explosives.

Reporting a lost passport

It's advisable to carry a photocopy of your passport with you at all times and to store your passport somewhere safe. In you do lose your passport, report the loss to the nearest police station and make sure to get a copy of the police report. Report the incident to the People Services and the Ghana Immigration Service and include a copy of the police report. Contact your local embassy to obtain a new passport - you may need the police report for this as well.

National Identification Card

NOTE: a new law is in place that requires all permanent resident foreign nationals to have a national identity card issued by the National Identification Authority. It costs $120. This also includes refugees.

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