Customs regulations for your trip to Ghana

Last modified: July 26, 2023
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Customs regulations

Used Household Goods and Personal Effects

Documents Required

  • Copy of valid passport with entry visa
  • Packing list
  • Original bill of lading (OBL) – no express release / air waybill (AWB)
  • Detailed valued inventory French, signed, and dated by the owner of the goods
  • Letter from the employer stating that the client is starting a new contract in Ghana
  • PUBD form (personal unaccompanied baggage declaration) to be filled out at the airport of arrival
  • Failure to do so will attract heavy penalties and delays in Customs clearance
  • Invoice for the electrical and hi-fi appliances and for all the items bought less than 6 months before the shipment’s arrival

Specific Information

  • Diplomatic shipments can be imported duty free, provided that the diplomatic organization has received the exemption certificate from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  • To apply for this exemption, original documents are needed (including the original AWB) at least 14 days prior to arrival of the shipment.
  • Agents must have all Customs documents at least 15 days prior to the shipment’s arrival to Ghana in order to obtain the document for free entry.
    • “Diplomatic shipment” to be shown on the OBL / AWB.

Ghana is a conservative and deeply religious country. Although modern and progressive attitudes also prevail, you should show respect for traditional values and morals.

Dress modestly in public.

Wearing military clothing including camouflage is prohibited.

Don’t become involved with drugs of any kind. Penalties for drug related offences are severe. Even possession of small amounts of marijuana can lead to a prison sentence in excess of 5 years, usually after a lengthy and expensive legal process. Bail is not normally granted. Class A drugs like cocaine are likely to be laced with other substances. Foreign visitors, including British nationals, have died after taking these drugs.

Carry a photocopy of your passport with you at all times, and put the original document in a safe.

There is a zero tolerance towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Ghana. This could lead to a custodial sentence between 3 and 25 years.

Anti LGBT rhetoric/hate speech by religious leaders and government officials and a local media that tends to sensationalise homosexuality, can incite homophobia against the LGBT community. Although there’s a small gay community, there is no ‘scene’ and most Ghanaians don’t accept that such relationships exist. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.

Photography near sensitive sites like military installations or the airport is strictly prohibited. Ask permission if you want to take a photograph of a building where there are guards on duty. Beware of self-appointed officials trying to charge fees to take pictures of well-known sites of interest.

Ghanaian family law is very different from UK law, particularly when child custody becomes an issue.
UNIPASS Port Revenue Collection System

The Ghana Revenue Authority in April 2020 announced the implementation of the newly integrated UNIPASS/Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS) at the Tema Port and other ports of entry across the country. The UNIPASS/ICUMS replaced the Ghana Customs Management System (GCMS) run by the Ghana Community Network Services, commonly called GCNet, and Customs World of Dubai.

In general, all imports are subject to customs duties. However, Ghanaian law provides exemptions for government, diplomatic personnel, NGOs and some others.  Ghana operates under the Customs Valuation Code (CVC), the value assessment method of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Ghana also has a Destination Inspection Scheme, which means that imports are inspected at the port of clearance in Ghana rather than prior to export. In September 2015, the Ghana Revenue Authority took over all destination inspection processes at Ghana’s ports.  For more information about imports to Ghana, visit the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority import information page: https://gra.gov.gh/

Aside from a few items that are exempt from the payment of customs duty, all imports are subject to import duty plus Value Added Tax (VAT). VAT is calculated on the duty-inclusive value of the goods at rates contained in the HS manual. The extractive industries have sector-specific exemptions and duties.

The tariff system, which has been simplified and harmonized with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) trade liberalization program, has only four ad valorem import duties: 0 percent, 5 percent, 10 percent and 20 percent. The standard rate of duty is 20 percent. The zero-rate duty continues to apply to agricultural and industrial machinery, solar, wind, and thermal energy, and educational materials.

Dutiable Items

  • Any cats, dogs or other animals being imported will require an Import permit from the Veterinary Head Office in Accra. Travellers will need to provide a veterinarian good health and rabies inoculation certificate alongside a copy of the import permit for the pet to be allowed entry into the country.
  • Arms and ammunition legally entering the country will require a special permit from the ministry of the interior.
  • Poultry products from certain countries will require permission from the Ministries of Trade and Agriculture.
  • Live Plants and plant products will require a permit from the Ministry of Agriculture
  • Any rough or uncut diamonds will need a licence from the Ministry of Finance
  • Firearms and ammunitions (authorization from the territorial administration is required)
  • Drugs
  • Alcohol (“Fond de Cave”) is acceptable and duty free (max 20 bottles)
  • Rough or uncut diamonds (license from the Ministry of Finance required)
  • Live plants and plant products (a permit from the Ministry of Agriculture is required)
  • Poultry products (permission from the Ministries of Trade and Agriculture is required for certain countries); contact agent for specific information.

Click here to view : Country Guides

Free import by persons over 18 years of age:

  • 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250 grams of tobacco;
  • 2 liters of table wine;
  • 1 liter of spirits over 22% volume or 2 liters of spirits less than 22% volume;
  • 250 cc. of eau de toilette and 60 cc. of perfume.

Prohibited Items

  • Used refrigerator, used air conditioner, and used deep freezer regardless of owner of the goods’ status
  • Firearms and ammunition are permitted subject to authorization from the territorial administration
  • Unlawful drugs
  • Foreign cigarettes without warning notice
  • Mercuric medicated soap
  • Toxic waste, contaminated goods
  • Animals as well as plant and seeds infected with disease
  • Foreign soil
  • Pornography, defamatory, obscene articles or publications
  • Dangerous weapons (including flick and paper knives)
  • Alcohol and other spirits are allowed in reasonable quantity (maximum of 10 bottles. Duties will be levied for the excess)

Click here to view : Country Guides

Prohibited imports include narcotics, mercuric medicated soap, toxic waste, contaminated goods, certain tobacco products, certain agricultural materials and other goods prohibited by local law. For a complete, current list of import restrictions, visit the Customs Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) website:  https://gra.gov.gh/

The list of Absolute Prohibitions includes:

  • Used mattresses
  • Refrigerators and air conditioners
  • Used underwear
  • Used sanitary products

Click here to view : Prohibited restricted imports

Miscellaneous (Pets, Motors, and others.)

Arms and Ammunition regulations:

Arms and ammunition are restricted items and can only be imported after issuance of a special permit by the Ministry of Interior.

Wild Fauna and Flora:

The import of certain endangered species of plant, live animals and their products is prohibited or restricted under CITES.
For further details please refer to CITES: www.cites.org.

Crew members customs regulations:

  • Same regulations as for passengers apply.

Pets:

Cats and dogs must be accompanied by:

  • an import permit; and
  • an export permit issued by the exporting country; and
  • a rabies vaccination certificate; and
  • a veterinarian good health certificate issued at point of origin.

For more information to obtain an import permit, contact the Veterinary Services Directorate, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, P.O. Box M161, Ministries Accra, Ghana or by email: [email protected] .

On arrival inspection will take place by the Veterinary Regulatory Unit at Kotoka International Airport (KIA).
Pets may enter as passenger’s checked baggage in the cabin or as cargo.

Baggage Clearance regulations:

Baggage is cleared at the first airport of entry in Ghana.

Exempt: baggage of transit passengers with a destination outside of Ghana if passengers do not leave the terminal.

Currency

Currency Import regulations:

Local (Ghanaian Cedi-GHS) and foreign currencies: up to USD 10,000.- or its equivalent. Passengers are required to declare the amounts to Customs and fill the BOG Foreign Exchange Declaration Form (FXDF) at the port of entry (or departure). Amounts exceeding USD 10,000.- will be seized.

Currency Export regulations:

Same regulations as for Import apply.

Click here to view : Airport tax regulations details

Motor Vehicles

Documents Required

  • Original registration card
  • Copy of purchase invoice
  • Certificate of ownership
  • OBL
  • Non-sale certificate

Specific Information

  • The OBL must show chassis number, engine number, cylindrical power, cubic capacity, year of manufacture, brand, and model of vehicle.
  • This information must also be available on at least one of the official car documents provided (certificate of ownership, car title, car invoice, etc.).
  • Cars up to 10 years can be imported in Ghana but will be taxed.
  • Right hand drive vehicles are banned.
  • Cylinder capacity below 1900 cc : 10% C.I.F. value (import duty).
  • Cylinder capacity below 2500 cc : add V.A.T. of 10% C.I.G. value and import duty.
  • Cylinder capacity over 2500 cc : add special tax of 17.5% CIF value = V.A.T. + import duty.
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