Insight Into Ghanaian Dual Citizenship

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For many of us whose parents left Ghana to start a new life abroad, one of the biggest blessings bestowed on us was to be born in Europe or America and having a citizenship that has proven to be quite powerful. My dad always used to say to my siblings and I, “ You have the best of both worlds…” and I only understood it once I hit my teens. So why now as adults trying to travel and move between our amazing worlds, does it all feel like a disadvantage, as airport officials jostle us about Visas and passports? Enter the mystery of dual citizenship and where it’s necessary or even advantageous. We take a closer look at the possible legal implications and the process of seeking dual citizenship status.  

If one has the almighty British passport, why then bother with a Ghanaian one or dual citizenship? I’m sure as it did me, this battle plagued many of you who went ahead to attain an ECOWAS passport or decided against if for some reason. Perhaps you tried to go a few countries over and went to a consulate in Accra to get a Visa and where told that can only be done in “your home country” or you’ve been far beyond three months on a Visa to Ghana granted abroad. Overstaying costs money and it starts to get annoying and costly, and also wasted time at the airport where you may even miss a flight. The idea of obtaining a residence permit when you know you are Ghanaian (just not on paper) is a serious eye-roll. Sigh….

What’s the way out of this mess, you think? Do you need a Ghana passport? It never seemed that valuable…Or perhaps the dual citizenship card will prove you have two nationalities and these travel personnel should know that means your easy movement through airports. Is it either, or do you actually need both? It’s all very confusing. Three things are certain:

  1. Ghana permits her citizens to assume another nationality
  2. Be reminded that citizenship and travel documents are not one and the same. The issues that arise are because citizenship laws differ between countries. Citizenship is acquired either at birth or through naturalization. Countries like USA  follow the jus soli doctrine (citizenship determined by the soil on which you are born) while others like Ghana, follow the jus sanguinis doctrine (citizenship is determined by your parents’ blood)
  3. The best place to start deciphering what to do per your unique circumstance, is to go to the Ministry of the Interior (located near the Accra Sports Stadium) in Accra or our Diplomatic Missions abroad

Whether needed or not, this is the process of attaining a dual citizen green card that you can show at immigration should there be any questions if you’re travelling out of Ghana with your other passport.

  • You’ll need: Copies of bio-data page of both Ghanaian and foreign passports;  parents’ Ghanaian passport scans (even if expired), a color scan of your birth certificate, four (4) recent passport sized photographs; a copy of naturalization certificate from foreign country; fees
  • Costs – All in all, it’ll cost you about 600-800 cedis, depending on if you solicit the help of an agent to help you. It’s about 500 cedis to get the application form (Dual Citizenship Form 10) and 100 for processing.
  • Write a letter addressed to the Minister of the Interior explaining why you are applying
  • You should have your card in about 6 weeks

In 2015, this piece which arguments that dual citizenship is acquired once you have a passport or naturalization from another country was written by a Ghanaian man who took the case to court. He argued one doesn’t have to register as a dual citizenship in Ghana if he/she is Ghanaian, and has taken up another nationality (refer to Asare vs Attorney-General)     

As it appears using an ECOWAS/Ghana passport to enter and foreign passport to exit is illegal and could lead to serious troubles, for instance,  your foreign nationality being revoked in the case of most European countries; Ghana now grants a dual nationality card which is accepted by all airlines. This is to be used alongside your foreign passport to show proof of access when returning to Ghana, and means you would not need a Visa coming to Ghana –  great for the diasporan traveler. If you reside abroad, the Ghana embassy or consulate can provide you with requisite documents needed to apply for dual citizenship card and certificate. The documentation needed is minimal. With the “green card” you can now obtain a Ghana/ECOWAS passport.

Still looking for more clarity or ready to apply for dual citizenship? Read more about it and reach out to the Ministry of the Interior for assistance.

 

~By Awoyaa Mensah

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