GHANA

COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Ghana is a developing country on the west coast of Africa. Facilities for tourism in the capital city of Accra are available, but are limited in the more remote areas of the country.

Passport and/or Visa Requirements: A passport and visa are required. The departure tax, formerly paid by the traveler at the airport, is now included in the cost of the air ticket. Travelers should obtain the latest information and details from the Embassy of Ghana, 3512 International Drive, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone (202)686-4520; or the Ghanaian Consulate General at 19 East 47th Street, New York, N.Y. 10017, telephone (212) 832-1300. Overseas, inquiries should be made at the nearest Ghanaian embassy or consulate.

Travel Warnings, Advisories and Areas of Instability: Travel to and through the northern region of Ghana could be dangerous because of the potential for the resumption of ethnic violence.

Medical Facilities: Medical facilities are limited, particularly outside the capital. Doctors and hospitals often request immediate cash payment for health care services. U.S. medical insurance is not always valid or accepted outside the United States. The Medicare/Medicaid program does not provide for payment of medical services outside the United States. Travelers have found supplemental medical insurance with specific overseas and medical evacuation coverage to be useful. For additional health information, travelers can contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's international travelers hotline at (404) 332- 4559 or their toll-free CDC autofax at (888) 232-3299, or the Internet: http://www.cdc.gov.

Travel Warnings, Advisories and Areas of Instability: Petty crime, such as pickpocketing, is common. Robberies often occur in public places and at beaches.

Business fraud stemming from Nigerian scam operations targets foreigners, including Americans, and poses a danger of financial loss and physical harm. Persons contemplating business deals in Ghana with individuals promoting investment in Nigeria, especially the Central Bank of Nigeria or the Nigerian National Petroleum Company, are strongly urged to check with the U.S. Department of Commerce or the U.S. Department of State before providing any information, making financial commitments, or traveling to Ghana.

The Department of State has issued a brochure for business travelers to Nigeria; single copies are available at no charge from the Office Of American Citizens Services and Crisis Management, Room 4811, Department of State, Washington, D.C. 20520-4818. Please enclose a stamped, self-addressed envelope.

The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to local police and to the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy. The pamphlets "A Safe Trip Abroad" and "Tips for Travelers to Sub-Saharan Africa" provide useful information on protecting personal security while traveling abroad and on travel in the region in general. Both are available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402.

Road Safety and In-Country Travel: Most primary roads are generally paved and well maintained. However, roads outside the major cities are in poor condition, making overland travel off the main network of roads rather dangerous, particularly at night. Travelers are routinely stopped at police checkpoints.

DRUG PENALTIES: U.S. citizens are subject to the laws of the country in which they are traveling. Penalties for possession, use or trafficking in illegal drugs are strict. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and fines.

Import-Export Restrictions: Currency exchange is readily available at most banks and foreign exchange bureaus. However, strict restrictions on the import and export of gold, diamonds and other natural resources remain. Only designated agencies are authorized to handle import-export transactions. Attempts to evade regulations are punishable by a three-to-seven-year prison term. Smuggling of any kind is a serious crime; airport officials have the authority to conduct body searches. Currency transactions with private citizens are illegal. Ghana has roadblock checkpoints where automobiles and, at times, passengers may be searched. Visitors arriving in Ghana with electronic equipment, particularly video cameras and laptop computers, may have to pay a deposit of 17.5 per cent of the item's value. To get the deposit refunded, visitors must apply to the Customs and Excise Office in central Accra 48 hours before departure.

Prohibitions on Photography: In some areas, possession of a camera is considered suspicious. Individuals have been arrested for taking pictures near sensitive installations. Photographs of Accra's International Airport are prohibited.

Dual Nationality: The government of Ghana does not recognize dual nationality except for minors under 21 years of age. A dual national who enters Ghana with a Ghanaian passport is treated as a Ghanaian citizen only. If a dual national Ghanaian-American enters Ghana on a Ghanaian passport and is later arrested for any reason while in Ghana, the U.S. Embassy normally is not notified of the arrest by Ghanaian authorities. As a result, consular assistance for dual U.S.-Ghanaian citizens may be limited.

Clothing Prohibitions: The wearing of any military apparel, such as camouflage jackets or pants, or any clothing or items which may appear military in nature, is strictly prohibited.

Civil Aviation Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Ghana's civil aviation authority as Category 1 -- in compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of Ghana's air carrier operations. For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at telephone 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA's Internet home page at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa.htm. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For information regarding DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact the Pentagon at telephone 703-697-7288.

Service of Regional Airlines: Service provided by a number of regional air carriers, including Ghana Airways, is reported to be unreliable. The airlines are known to skip scheduled stops, arrive on non-scheduled days and regularly overbook flights, all of which can cause unexpected delays and additional expense. Travelers may be required to handle increased financing of alternate ticketing and/or increased food and lodging needs.

Embassy Location/Registration: U.S. citizens are encouraged to register with the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy at the Embassy Annex, 10th and 11th Lanes, near Danquah Circle, OSU; and to obtain updated information on travel and security in Ghana. The Consular Section's telephone numbers are (233-21) 77-66-01 or 02. The Consular Section's fax number is (233-21) 77-57-47. The U.S. Embassy is located on Ring Road East, P.O. Box 194, Accra, Ghana; telephone (233-21) 77-53-47 or 48.

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