Acquiring Ghanaian Citizenship

Citizenship in Ghana is a question of law and is governed by the Citizenship Act, 2000.

[The] law outlines 3 main categories of nationality. Hence, a person can be a citizen by Birth, Registration through marriage and by Naturalization. Aside these three (3) main categories, one can become a citizen of Ghana through foundling and adoption.

Nationality by Birth

Under the Ghanaian law, nationality by birth is determined by the date and year the person was born. For example, if you were born before 6th March 1957, then you are a citizen of Ghana by birth if you were born in Ghana and one of your parents were born in Ghana or one of your grandparents was born in Ghana.

Nationality by Registration & Marriage

Where a person is a citizen of any country, such a person may become a citizen of Ghana by application and approval. Such a person must be of good character, resident in Ghana for at least 5 years (or a shorter period in special circumstances) before the application and must be able to speak an indigenous Ghanaian language.

Also, where a non-citizen marries a citizen of Ghana, by proper application, that person can register to be a citizen of Ghana. Where there is a dissolution of marriage, such a person continues to be a citizen unless the citizenship is renounced. The registration is done after the oath of allegiance is taken and the person becomes a citizen by registration from the date stated on the certificate of Registration.

Nationality by Neutralization

A person is a citizen of Ghana by neutralization where such a person has applied to the Minister and approved by the President of Ghana. Such a person becomes a citizen after the certificate of neutralization has been issued and oath of allegiance sworn to.

Nationality by Founding

A person is a citizen of Ghana by foundling and presumed to be a citizen by birth where the person is under 7 years and was found in Ghana and such person’s parents are unknown.

Nationality by Adoption

A person is a citizen of Ghana by adoption if that person is less than 16 years and the adopted parents are Ghanaians.

Dual Nationality

Dual Nationality is acceptable under the Ghanaian laws. This means that a Ghanaian can hold citizenship in any other country and still hold citizenship in Ghana. However, a person with a dual nationality cannot hold certain public offices and cannot be a Member of Parliament or Speaker of Parliament. The Supreme Court of Ghana has given reasons that people with dual nationality cannot hold public offices because of the issue of conflict of interest, national security, and state allegiance to Ghana and confidentiality.

AUTHOR: AB Lexmall & Associates

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