Frequently Asked Questions - GHANA’S DUAL CITIZENSHIP

Q 1. Who is a Dual Citizen?

A: Pursuant to Ghana Dual Citizenship Law of 2000 (Act 591) Article 16(1), a citizen of Ghana may hold the citizenship of any other country in addition to his citizenship of Ghana

Q 2: What are the Rights of Dual Citizenship?

A: A dual citizen may apply and hold a Ghanaian passport, go to Ghana without entry visa, has indefinite stay while in the country. He or she can register and vote there on Presidential and General elections and Referenda and enjoy all the rights except those prohibited by law pursuant to Act 591 (16) (2) below

Q 3. Are these rights not enough for dual citizens to demand additional rights?

A: No. A citizen of a country must enjoy all the rights and privileges the constitution guarantees to all citizens. However Under Article 16 (12) without prejudice to Article 94(2) (a) of the constitution, no citizen of Ghana ( Dual Citizens) shall quality to be appointed or hold any office specified in this subsection if he or she holds the citizenship of any other country in addition to his citizenship of Ghana.

  • Chief Justice and Justice of the Supreme Court
  • Ambassador or High Commissioner
  • Secretary to the Cabinet
  • Chief of Defense Staff or any service chief
  • Inspector-General of Police
  • Commissioner CEPS
  • Director of Immigration
  • Commissioner, VAT
  • Director General Prisons Service
  • Chief Fire Officer
  • Chief Director of a Ministry;
  • And Rank of a Colonel in the Army or its equivalent to other security service; and Any other public office that the Minister may by legislative instrument prescribe.

Q.4: How do you apply to become a dual citizen?

A: You may apply to your nearest Ghana Consulate or Embassy of your place of abode for application forms by paying the required fee in US $200. Complete the form and have it notarized by a notary public, attach copies of your birth certificate and birth certificate or pages 1 and 2 photo copies of your Ghana passport and the passport of your naturalized country. Include six passport size pictures and return to the Embassy or consulate for submission to the Ministry of Interior. If you are in Ghana, you may submit same to the Ministry for processing.

Q 5: Which countries don’t allow their citizens to be naturalized citizens (dual citizens) of other countries?

A: Except NETHERLANDS which mandates all her citizens to renounce (give up their passports) upon becoming dual citizens of their countries of origin or birth, most countries including: U.S, Canada , Britain , South Korea, France and Israel recognize dual citizenship .Their naturalized citizens are not obligated to renounce or give up their citizenship of other countries.

Q 6: Does Ghana gain anything from her citizens who are also citizens of other countries?

A: Dual citizenship is becoming more common in today’s global world and economy. Countries such as India, Philippines, Mexico and Nigeria have sought to utilize the advantages of dual citizenship by liberalizing their citizenship laws. These countries have realized that dual citizenship has the advantages of broadening a country’s economic base fostering trade and investment between the two respective countries. The inflow of capital to help their home countries, for instance in Ghana this amounts to over $5Billion a year, and this plays a tremendous role in fostering the country’s balance of payment as well as increasing the purchasing power of the recipients. Helping consumption of goods and service, can’t be underestimated. This is how, as the experts have pointed out, to reverse the brain drain to brain gains. One of the benefits of dual citizenship is the ability of dual citizens to influence economic and political policies or discussions in their respective host countries.

Q 7: How does the dual citizen explain their seemingly conflicting allegiance and loyalty to his/her naturalized country vis- a-vis Ghana?

A: There is no conflict in allegiance or loyalty to the two countries one is a citizen of. For instance upon becoming a citizen of United Sates, the person is sworn to obey and respect all the laws of the country. He further swears to protect and defend the law and constitution of his new country like the rest of the citizens. There is no law which compels him to renounce the citizenship of his country of origin. In US like UK a citizen may hold the citizenship of other countries. However he may voluntarily renounce his American citizenship by following the requisite laws and regulations. No doubt our so-called patriotic or loyal Ghanaians haven’t earned a gold star in bringing Ghana to the social and economic abyss which they have so far done to the country since 1957. Therefore such argument about loyalty or allegiance is nothing but those red herring fallacious arguments opponents of dual citizenship are accustomed to throw out from time to time.

Q 8: Doesn’t the dual Citizenship Laws Act 691, in essence, create a second class citizenship for a Ghanaian of dual citizenship?

A: Yes. Ghana’s constitution has three classes of citizenship; Citizenship by birth, by naturalization and dual citizen. Unlike Nigeria which has only two classes i.e. citizen by birth and naturalization, Nigeria constitution Article 25 recognizes citizenship by birth as the preeminent citizenship. As such any Nigerian citizens of this class are entitled to all the privies and immunities the constitution guarantees. In order words they can hold any federal, state or local government employment without any restrictions. Likewise they can run for presidency, state senate and state Legislator and federal parliament without consideration to his country of abode or citizenship to any other country. This is far cry from situation in Ghana whereby her own citizens by birth, classified as dual citizens, are given only passport and free visa to visit their own country. They are excluded by law from public employment and running for any political office. If this is not discrimination, then what else is? This in essence creates a second class citizenship status which denies them the opportunity to contribute their human capital skills and experience from the socio economic development of their country. Who loses? Ghana. The framers of the Nigeria constitution obviously felt that one cannot stop being a Nigerian because he is accorded a citizenship of another country in addition to his Nigerian citizen. Unfortunately we can’t say same about Ghana, our mother land!

Q 9: What do you have to do if you want to run for an elective office in Ghana such as to be a member of parliament , president, or apply for any of the public service jobs that are prohibited to Ghanaian dual citizens as outlined in Q 3 supra and, what are the consequences of renouncing your foreign citizenship?

A: Dual Citizens are required under Ghana’s constitution to renounce or give up their foreign citizenships if they want to be parliamentarians, president, or be appointed to any of the public service positions enumerated in Act 591. (See Q and A 3, supra)
Each country has its own laws regarding renunciation of her citizenship and requirements for reinstatement. For instance, Canada is relatively liberal in restoring the applicant’s citizenship but has cumbersome laws and regulations to meet. The United States has no second chance. U.S. citizens may voluntarily renounce their citizenship by first undergoing a series of counseling at an American embassy. These are aimed to ascertain that individuals are making the decisions freely and under no duress. The individuals’ final decisions to renounce their U.S citizenship would mean that they go to the back of the line, and would need to apply for a visa, and be subject to denial each time they want to visit the USA.