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The Ghana Immigration Service is one of the security institutions of Ghana and it is responsible for controlling, regulating, conditioning and monitoring the status and activities of foreigners in Ghana. It derives its mandate from PNDCL 226 of 1989, the Immigration Service Law.
The Service is the first line of defense and as the first and foremost agency at the country's borders; it guards against the infiltration to Ghana of unscrupulous foreigners who aim at destabilizing the country.

The Service in performing its duties collaborates with Customs Excise and Preventives Service, Police, Narcotic Control Board, Bureau of National Investigations and other security agencies at the borders and within to check drug trafficking, human trafficking, smuggling, subversive activities and others that threaten the economy of Ghana and create a bad image for Ghana in international circles.

Based on the above, the service has the mandate to examine travelers entering or leaving Ghana; examines application for visa and entry permit; monitors foreign nationals in Ghana, their employment and movement; among others.


Border patrolling in Ghana has evolved over the years. It started in the18th century when the Association of Foreign Traders felt threatened by the smuggling of their merchandise. The Association prudently organized security guards which become known as Customs Preventive Service in the second half of the 19th century and operated under the 1st Customs Law enacted in July 1855.

This law was repealed and replaced by the United Kingdom Consolidated Act of 1876.
This Service was christened the Volta River Preventive Service in 1897. It was responsible in the prevention of smuggling and running the river ferry. The Service was equipped with short firearms and enrolled military personnel in it.

These military personnel who become the officers of the Service were recruited and trained at the water Guards training school in Britain. The activities of the Service were extended to cover the whole borders of Ghana after the 1st world war and more preventive stations were established along the frontiers of Ghana. Such was the state of the Service till this country attained independence in 1957.

The Service was absorbed into the Ghana Police Service in 1962 but was still a specialized unit on the prevention of smuggling. The first president of Ghana Dr. Kwame Nkrumah saw the lapses in the operational activities of the Service making the government experience a drastic loss of revenue. He made some shuffling in the Service and gave it a new name thus the Border Guard Service under the 1963 security Act 202.

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