How To when I step down from the plane
WELCOME TO GHANA !
and Kotoka International airport.
We hope you had a good flight!
Tips on what to do on arrival, as you proceed.
1 - While taxiing, change your watch to Ghana time
2 - Go through immigration
3 - Pass customs
4 - Declare foreign currency
5 - Get free maps and tourism information
6 - Change or get money
7 - Deal with weather shock
8 - Get transportation
9 - Call home
10 - At your destination
11 - Handle jetlag
Note on accommodation search
Kotoka International Airport (ACC IATA Code) is the main point of entry in Ghana.
It was renamed from Ghana International Airport, in honour of Lieutenant General Emmanuel Kwasi Kotoka (1926–1967), a member of the ruling National Liberation Council. Kotoka was killed in an abortive coup attempt, at a location which is now the forecourt of the airport.
Kotoka airport consists of two passenger terminals, labelled as Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. Terminal 1 serves primarily domestic and regional operators, while Terminal 2 serves primarily international and longhaul operators. The terminals are connected by an internal walkway. There is also a VIP terminal and a military terminal used for military operations. Terminal 2 is the principal international departure terminal and includes restaurants, duty-free shops and two Business Class lounges.
KIA is in a somehow permanent state of redevelopment and the lastest improvments have been the Terminal 2 immigration hall and the relocation of the customs area where the arrival waiting area was before.
A Terminal 3 is under way.
KIA has passed the million-passenger/year mark in 2006 and the figure was 2.547 million in 2014.
Conveniently located within the city, KIA is very close to many expatriate residential areas
See our Map of Residential areas.
For more information, visit Ghana Airports website.
1 – While taxiing to the gate, change your watch to Ghana’s time
Local time in Ghana is the same as GMT/UTC (the country is on the Greenwich meridian line which
passes through the seaport of Tema, about 25km east of Accra – Ghana lays just above the equator as well)
When it is noon in Accra, it is:
- 5am in Los Angeles
- 8am in New York
- 9am in Brazil
- 1pm London
- 2pm in Western Europe. Egypt and South Africa
- 3pm in Kenya and Ethiopia
- 4pm in Dubai and Moscow
- 5.30pm in India
- 8pm in Singapore and Shanghai
- 9pm in Tokyo
Should your home country is among the 82 around the world that observe daylight saving time,
Accra time will be different in winter, like 11am instead of 10am when it is noon in France.
2 – Go through immigration
Presenting your passport or recognized ID, visa and fully completed Entry Form at the brand new immigration hall
should ensure a prompt clearance unless you arrive with one of the many evening flights from Europe.
The length of stay which will be granted to you is totally unrelated to your type of visa,
is at the discretion of the officer and will not exceed two month.
For information about stay extensions, see the “How To with visas and non-resident immigration matters” page.
Those planning to reside in Ghana can see the "How To with immigration matters" page.
A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from everyone above 9 months old when entering Ghana.
Learn more on health issues in Ghana in the "How To with Health page".
Collection of checked-in luggage is done after immigration.
NOTE ON THEFT AT KOTOKA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
There has been a confirmed report of a passenger flying in from London at 9:20pm on Nov. 5, 2012 who had his checked-in luggage tampered with. It has been taken out of the conveyor belt in the public area, opened and various objects have been removed.
Five other passengers faced the same incident that evening and similar occurences took place in 2013.
Advice: when waiting, stand close to where the luggage is put on the belt so you can identify yours quiclky and remove it before it goes around.
3 – Pass customs
See the "Customs Travel Guide"
The new customs area is downstairs near the exit of the terminal.
Passing customs at Kotoka is usually trouble-free.
You may just walk through at a normal pace and not be called by an agent.
The personal baggage of a visitor is admitted free of duty (such as clothing, household items and electrical goods, as well as instruments/tools for professional use).
You should however declare if carrying goods in commercial quantities, in excess of allowed quantities, and restricted goods requiring permits or licences (such as plants, animals, firearms and ammunitions).
Persons under 18 do not qualify for the concession for tobacco goods and alcoholic beverages.
In very rare instances, visitors arriving in Ghana with sophisticated electronic equipment may have to deposit 17.5 per cent of the item's value with the Customs and Excise office at the airport.
To get the deposit refunded, visitors must apply to the Customs and Excise Office in central Accra 48 hours before departure but a longer delay is advised.
IMPORTANT - Should you have sent unaccompanied bona fide personal and household effects
for which you wish to claim exemption from duty, you must not forget to enter them in a Passenger Unaccompanied Baggage Declaration (P.U.B.D.) Form 48 to claim that exemption.
Not doing so at the time of entry or within 48 hours mean the concession is forfeited. Goods must arrive within two month of the declaration or else an application must be submitted to the Customs Commissioner to extend the period.
4 – Declare foreign currency
There is no restriction on the amount of foreign currency you may bring into Ghana.
Should you have more than US$10,000 (or equivalent), you must declare the amount on a form.
Should you intend to take all or part of the foreign currency you brought when leaving Ghana,
it is recommended to fill the Ghana Exchange Control Form T5.
Should any part of the stated capital of a new company registered in Ghana be carried into the country by a traveler (in addition to any bank transfers made into Ghana), the same Bank of Ghana T5 form must be completed upon arrival at any entry point with the company’s name stated so it can be considered as part of the require minimum capital to be brought in Ghana.
5 – Get free maps and tourism information
After customs and as you move towards the exit door, you will see a Ghana Tourism Authority desk on your right.
While often unattended, it displays various flyers and good maps of Accra and the country sometimes:
they are free to pick-up.
If not, you can get maps at the magazine section of supermarkets and in hotels.
Good maps will go a long way in helping you understand and
assimilate you new home city/country and will be handy.
In the meantime, maps of various areas of Accra can be found here.
6 – Change or get money
There is a FOREX bureau located on the right of the exit door after customs. It has another booth on the left after exiting, next to ATM’s (this can be handy if you need to change after meeting the people awaiting you).
However, use this company only if you have to.
The best changers in Accra are near the airport: at Marina Mall (on the left after the ground floor entrance, before the supermarket - 0900-2030), at Holiday Inn Hotel (0730-1930)
and a bit further on Liberation Road at Golden Tulip Hotel (0700-2100).
We advise to buy more than enough local currency right on arrival to avoid the pressure of looking for/going to a FOREX location in a hurry and/or losing money by changing anywhere, at a bad changer or by paying with foreign currency in retail outlets (rarely accepted).
Be alert when you get out of the Terminal on your way to your car or a taxi if people come to you and say they will escort/help you (even airport staff with badges): always keep them at a distance... they distract and may steal money by pickpocketing. An Indian expatriate was victim of this in May 2015.
7 – Deal with weather shock
Depending of your country of origin and/or the season, you might be in for some serious temperature change, plus a dose of humidity. You may even feel that right away if your plane stays on the tarmac and you have to walk to the bus or terminal. Day time temperature in Accra is above 30 Celsius (except during the summer rainy season) and will feel like more when you get out of the plane and the terminal.
Plan for it both mentally and practically by having a free hand to carry your coat, sweater and/or everything else than the shirt or T-Shirt you will keep on.
8 – Get transportation
Unless a company car awaits you, a friend picks you up or you have booked a transfer
(such as accraexpat ’s Airport Greet & Transfer), you have the following options:
- car hire: several companies are represented at the airport, with booths outside the arrival hall.
These include Avis and Europcar (chauffeur-driven cars only).
- taxis: taxis are plenty but many are in poor condition and most of all, have no air-conditioning. Should you take one, be sure to negotiate the fare before embarking so you will not pay more than GHS 15.00/20.00 for an average urban destination.
Avoid unlicensed unmarked taxis. You can ask uniformed airport employees to assist you in finding a taxi.
Anyone you let help you will expect a tip (two Cedis would be fine).
The use of buses and ‘tro-tros’ (vans) is not recommended due to problems with access, security,
convenience, reliability and lack of space for luggage.
9 – Call home
Besides laying your head on the car window and gazing at your new environment, your airport transfer is a good opportunity to call your loved ones (unless they are all with you!). One of the first things to do after your land in Ghana is to buy a very affordable local SIM card (you will need your passport) and credit (do not forget to unblock your phone before leaving your home country) so you can call home the cheapest way.
Mobile telecommunications are probably more affordable in and from Ghana than in your home country.
See the “How To with mobile communications” page.
Note: a telephone store is located on the right after passing customs.
Opened till 10/11pm, it sells Ghana SIM cards and call credit.
10 – At your destination
Unless going home, do not forget to put your valuables in your room or hotel’s safe. Should you carry a large amount of cash, you can keep it there or in your company’s safe if you are going to work the next day.
In any case, do NOT carry large amounts of cash around.
Our advice is changing your cash at a good FOREX bureau and put it in the bank if you manage to open a local currency bank account as a non-resident or before you obtain your resident/work permit. Your money will be safe and you will get a convenient ATM card to withdraw cash as you need.
See the “How To change and bank” page.
11 – Handling jetlag
For a few days stay, remain on you home eating and sleeping schedule as much as you can.
Otherwise, it is advised to change timings right away (trying hard to restrain hunger and sleep).
For more on jetlag, visit BodyClock, Nojetlag and/or the CDC page.
NOTE ON ACCOMMODATION SEARCH
We offer an established real estate service to
international organisations, embassies, foreign companies and individuals.
Through our unique network of partners (selected professionals - agents, property managers, etc.),
our clients access the largest selection of verified and ready-to-move-in properties of international standards,
including for short-stays.
See a selection in accraexpat ’s “Real Estate section”, with an extensive Residential rentals guide,
or simply email your requirements to email@example.com.
Access all our relocation services.
Wishing you a great first day/night in your new home country !