Valid passports and visas are required for all foreign nationals visiting or living in Ghana. If you think you might travel outside of Ghana once you are here, you should request a multiple-entry visa at the time of application, rather than a single entry visa. It is a time-consuming and confusing process to get one after you've arrived. For stays of longer than a few months duration, you will likely need to visit the Ghana Immigration Service to obtain a Residence Permit.
If you are living in Ghana or visiting for more than 90 cumulative days in a year, you will also need to register for a Non-Citizen Ghana card. The Non-Citizen Ghana card was introduced in early 2013, as part of the National Identification Authority to manage the identification of foreigners in the country. All foreign nationals are required to register (with some exemptions) and this includes all children over the age of 6 years. For registration and further details, visit the Foreigner Identification Management System website at www.fims.org.gh. (Note: As at May 2013, this was just being introduced).
According to tenets of the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic, if you hold a valid driver's license issued from your home country, you are permitted by international law to drive in Ghana, provided that the driver's license if written in English. If your driver's license is issued in a foreign language (i.e. French, Spanish, etc.), you must obtain an International Driver's Permit (IDP), which basically affirms, in several foreign languages, that you hold a valid driver's license from your home country. You must carry your IDP along with your home-issued driver's license at all times. That being said, it is relatively easy to obtain a Ghanaian driver's license provided that you posses a valid one back home (see Transportation section).
Yellow fever vaccinations are required for all foreign nationals visiting Ghana. Updating your tetanus vaccine and any others your doctor might recommend (such as cholera, typhoid, meningitis or rabies) is also a good idea.
Taking malaria prophylactics before you arrive is recommended (see Health section). There are several other health-related concerns you should be aware of before you arrive, including bilharzia and tumbu fly.
Bilharzia (or schistosomiasis) is a parasite with a long and complicated lifecycle. It is quite common in fresh water all over Africa, and because of it, you should use extreme caution when swimming in lakes, lagoons, or rivers. Cautionary measures include having regular tests for the parasite, as it can take 30-40 days for symptoms to appear, and basically avoiding fresh water swimming. It is relatively easy to cure if caught early, but can do significant damage if not detected.
Tumbu fly is the reason everyone irons all of his or her clothing. If your clothes and linens are dried on a line, and not ironed, the tumbu fly may lay its eggs in the cloth. When you next use the item, the egg can become embedded into the surface of your skin, and later develop into a lump, from which the worm eventually emerges in a thoroughly disgusting manner. Similarly, if you brush against a leaf or sit on grass or the cushions of patio furniture that have been left out, you can contract a case, especially during the mango seasons of November through December and May through June. The risk of tumbu fly infestation can be minimized by: Either using a tumble dryer or ironing all fabrics before wearing them; (2) Not sitting directly on the grass; (3) And taking cushions for patio furniture inside while not in use. In any event, seek medical treatment if you develop a boil-like bump in order to rule out tumbu fly.
Dermatological problems like rashes and blemishes and conjunctivitis are also common health concerns. While easily treatable, they can be irritating and uncomfortable. For recommended books on health concerns in the Tropics see the Health section.
Unsafe driving and poor road conditions contributes to one of the greatest health risks in Ghana. Poorly lit streets and deep and wide gutters along the roadside make driving after dark particularly hazardous. Outside of Accra, driving at night is not recommended because of careless drivers, poor road conditions, absence of street and traffic lights and lack of the proper use of other drivers' headlights and turn indicators. See the Driving tips in this section for more info.
For more tips on Health concerns and a list of doctors, see the Health section.