In order to travel to Ghana, participants must obtain a valid visa by or before the visa deadline.
Visas are necessary for all travel to Ghana. Visa applications are administered by the Ghanaian Embassy in Washington D.C. and the Ghanaian Consulate in New York, as well as the Honorary Consulate in Houston, Texas. Visa applications can be submitted by mail or in person. Participants should begin applying for a visa immediately after being offered admission into the program. It can take several weeks to acquire the materials needed for your visa application and receive approval. Thus it is very important that students complete their visa application by or before the stated deadline to ensure their participation in the program. Star Service and Study Abroad does not offer refunds for denied or late visas. We do not administer this service and we encourage participants to contact their respective embassy or consulate with any visa related questions. Rules and policies can also change between each processing center. On this page, we have compiled general information about what each center offers, but we advise participants to speak with each office directly to confirm their processes. If you anticipate any delays in obtaining your visa, please inform Star Service and Study Abroad right away.
How does it work?
Visas are given in the form of a stamp on one of the pages inside your passport. Prospective travelers must gather all necessary materials (including a valid passport) and submit them (by mail or in person) to one of the three visa processing centers listed above. Once approved, the processing center will stamp a page in your passport with their nation's seal and the dates that your visa is valid. This stamp inside your passport is your visa. They will then mail your stamped passport back to you. Once you have received a visa stamped inside of your valid passport, you are ready to take off to Ghana!
Who to contact?
Visa applications can be submitted by mail or in person to the embassy or consulate of your choice. There are 3 visa processing locations in the United States, each of which is listed below. For general instructions we recommend reviewing the Ghanaian Consulate of New York's website as they give the clearest instructions. All information on this page is correct to the best of our knowledge, however, we are not responsible for any discrepancies or policy changes. For this reason, students are required to be in direct contact with their respective embassy or consulate for all visa related matters.
What type of visa should I apply for?
All SSSA participants should apply for a volunteer visa, if the volunteer option is not available on your consulate's application form participants should apply for a tourism visa.
How long does it take?
Standard applications usually take 14 business days to be processed starting from the day that the hard copy was received. This does not include the time it takes for the consulate or embassy to mail your visa back to you. For an additional fee, participants may request expedited processing services (24 and 72 hour services available). Texas residents can receive same or next day processing services from the Honorary Consulate in Houston. Participants should not have to pay additional fees for a rush order if they abide by our deadlines and submit all materials on time. Single entry visas are good for 3 months.
How much does it cost?
There are two types of visas available to non-Ghanaian citizens, single entry and multiple entry, which cost different amounts to process. Additionally, each visa processing location offers different services (including standard, same day, next day & 72 hour processing). The costs for these services range from each location. All to say, the cost to process a visa can range from $60 to $290. Payments must be made by money order (if mailed) or paid by credit or debit card (if sent in person). The current visa processing fees have been outlined below. Please note that the fees do not include mailing fees. For the most accurate and up to date information, please go to your embassy or consulate's website.
Single Entry: $60
Single Entry Expedited (5 days): $100
Multiple Entry: $100
Multiple Entry Expedited (5 days): $200
Single Entry: $100
Single Entry Express (72 hours): $140
Single Entry Priority (24 hours): $190
Multiple Entry: $140
Multiple Entry Express (72 hours): $240
Multiple Entry Priority (24 hours): $290
Houston (single entry visas not offered at this location)
Multiple Entry - $100
Multiple Entry Rush Order - $200
**please note, for multiple entry visas you will not have to submit a flight itinerary as part of your application.
What materials should I gather prior to applying?
In order to to successfully submit a completed, error-free application, participants must gather the following materials:
1. An application form
2. A valid passport - see Passports page
3. Proof of yellow fever vaccination - see Vaccinations page
4. Two passport sized photographs - taken within the last 3 months (see Passports page)
5. A letter of invitation from your host - The Cheerful Hearts Foundation will provide this letter to participants to include in their application
6. Processing fee - can be paid in the form of money order or credit/debit (if applying in person). Cash and checks are not accepted
7. A prepaid, overnight trackable envelope - for those applying by mail, this will be used for the center to return your passport to you
8. Flight itinerary - for participants applying for a single-entry visa you will have to buy your ticket prior to applying to show the government that you do not have plans to stay beyond your proposed dates)
**Like SSSA, the Ghanaian Embassy and Consulates do not grant refunds for denied, late or unused visas so it is very important that all materials are included in your application and all materials are submitted in a timely manner. Star Service and Study Abroad strongly encourages participants to review application materials as stated on the embassy or consulate website. We do not take responsibility for changed policies or misinformation as summarized on this page. We do not administer this service rather we have compiled general application information to help assist participants in their applying with a third party.
This is all really confusing....
We know and we are here to help! Send us an email to schedule a phone or Skype session and we will help walk you through the process. In the meantime, we have written out our own recommendations for which processing center to send your materials to depending on your specific needs.
THE QUICKEST WAY
Send your materials to the Honorary Consulate in Houston. They will process your visa the same day that they receive it (if received during business hours) and mail your passport and visa right back to you. This usually takes 5 days total. This option will cost $200.
THE CHEAPEST WAY
Send your materials to the Embassy of Ghana in Washington D.C. They will process your visa within two weeks. This option will cost $60 (not including mailing fees).
- OR -
You can apply for a multiple entry visa to Ghana with the Houston or D.C. office. This option will cost $100....(then why are you calling it "the cheapest way" you ask?)....single entry visas require a plane ticket itinerary to be submitted along with your application materials. This means that you have to buy your plane ticket prior to applying. They require this as a way to make sure folks aren't staying in country past their proposed dates. However, multiple entry visas do not require a plane ticket to be bought in advance. If your money is tight or you are waiting on that financial aid or summer internship check to buy your plane ticket the multiple entry visa might be the option for you because you can send in your visa application without buying your plane ticket first.
**Please note that getting a multiple entry visa now and getting your plane ticket later may mean that plane ticket prices go up so this plan does have its downside.
THE MOST STRAIGHT FORWARD WAY
Send your materials to the Ghana Consulate in New York. They will process your single entry visa within two weeks. This option will cost $100. Their website is the easiest to navigate and they are located closest to the Five College area in case you would prefer to go in person. They are also in the same time zone as Massachusetts so there will be no time difference to account for if and when calling their office.