IMPACT – LOW

What is the change? The Ghana Immigration Services will begin requiring that tax clearance certificates state that they have been issued specifically for immigration purposes.

What does the change mean? The stricter requirement will initially apply to individuals applying for an emergency visa on arrival. However, the policy is likely to be extended to all immigration services that require the sponsor company’s valid tax clearance certificate to be submitted in support of the application, including work permits.

  • Implementation time frame: Oct. 1.
  • Visas/permits affected: Emergency visas on arrival.
  • Who is affected: Foreign nationals applying for emergency visas on arrival and other immigration services, such as work permits, that require submission of the sponsor company’s valid tax clearance certificate.
  • Impact on processing times: To avoid delays, sponsor companies should ensure that tax clearance certificates obtained to support immigration applications specifically state that their purpose is for immigration use.
  • Business impact: Business travelers who rely on the emergency visa on arrival for travel on short notice, and their Ghanaian sponsor companies, should be aware of the new requirement. Companies sponsoring foreign employees and, therefore, submitting the tax clearance certificate for immigration purposes should anticipate obtaining the certificate from the Ghana Revenue Authority clearly stating its use for immigration purposes.

Background: The change in policy was posted as a public notice at the Ghana Immigration Service office in Accra and states that, effective Oct. 1, tax clearance certificates submitted in support of applications for an emergency visa on arrival must be valid and clearly state that their purpose is for immigration-related services. The Immigration Service is apparently concerned that applications for emergency visas on arrival are currently being supported by certificates that the tax authorities originally issued for purposes other than immigration.

Emergency visas on arrival are available at Ghanaian ports of entry to foreign nationals traveling on short notice. The visa requires pre-travel approval by the Immigration Service and applications in this regard must include an application letter from the Ghanaian sponsor company and other supporting documentation, including a tax clearance certificate demonstrating that the Ghanaian sponsor company’s required tax payments are up to date.

BAL Analysis: Ghanaian sponsor companies supporting applications for emergency visas on arrival should make sure their tax clearance certificate is valid and clearly states that it is for immigration purposes. Such companies should also assume that tax clearance certificates submitted in support of work permit applications clearly state their use is for immigration purposes.