The scope of foreign direct investment, the quest for specialist services by homegrown companies and industries in Cameroon usually require the importation of foreign services from expatriates. This makes the need to obtaining/apply for a resident permit and work permit for expatriates very expedient in the Cameroon business environment. However, most foreigners do not understand the scope to apply for a resident permit and work permit in Cameroon. Failure to obtain a resident and work permit in Cameroon, a foreigner will not be able to benefit from the employment market as regards any registered company in Cameroon. Immigration in Cameroon is governed by Decree No. 2007/255/PR of 4th September 2007, which lays down the conditions which foreigners must satisfy in order to be issued a residence permit and work permit in Cameroon. However, before we delve into the subject matter of obtaining a resident permit it is important we examine the scope of the various Cameroon work visa options.
CAMEROON WORK VISA OPTIONS
Any foreign national travelling to Cameroon for business purposes needs to obtain either a temporary or long stay visa. The validity period for a temporary stay visa is three (3) months whilst that for a long stay visa is six (6) months. However, for purposes of guiding foreign nationals who may come to Cameroon either for business, tourism, transit or diplomatic reasons, there are five categories of visas in Cameroon and each has its duration of validity. They are as follows;
- Tourism: This category of visa is valid for one (01) to thirty (30) days for tourists.
- Transit: This category is valid for one (01) to five (05) days for travelers passing through Cameroon to another destination.
- Short Stay: This category is given to visitors in the category of business travelers, students and volunteers wishing to stay in Cameroon for one (01) day to three (03) months.
- Long Stay: For visitors as cited above and wishing to stay in Cameroon for more than three (03) months and a maximum of six (06) months.
- Diplomats: This include government officials, members of International Organizations with diplomatic passports or Laissez-Passer can stay six (06) months.
Interested foreign nationals usually ask the question; How is the application process engaged?
We recommend applying for an entry visa no more than 90 days before planning to arrive in Cameroon. Most work permits take three days to two weeks to issue, but it takes two to five months to complete the entire process, including:
- Applying for the work permit
- Completing a visa application upon arrival
- Entering Cameroon
- Applying for a residence permit
- Applying for an exit visa
RESIDENT PERMIT IN CAMEROON
Foreigners are advised to comply with the law on immigration in view of regularizing their stay in Cameroon. This, therefore, means that a valid resident permit should be obtained by a foreigner upon fulfilment of the following conditions;
- Apply for a resident permit addressed to the immigration office,
- A copy of residence certificate,
- yellow fever vaccination card,
- A copy of entry visa,
- An employment contract or admission letter,
- A copy of the lease agreement.
The resident permit is valid for 2 years. After which it must be renewed.
A foreigner wishing to benefit from the employment sector in Cameroon must first apply for a work permit. It is important for an applicant to prove that he/she has acquired employment with a registered company in Cameroon. The registered company or better still the employer can take steps to secure the work permit of the expatriate employee by sponsoring the procedure. The expatriate is expected to fulfil the following requirements;
- An application for a work permit addressed to the Minister in charge,
- Six copies of the contract of employment dated and signed by the parties,
- A detailed description of the job,
- A copy of the medical certificate,
- Certified true copies of academic and professional certificates,
- A curriculum vitae,
- A certified true copy of entry visa or resident permit for those already resident in Cameroon,
- A copy of the company’s profile,
- Summary of company activities, etc.
The Minister in charge will receive the documents. He will give his decision in two months. The Minister in charge either grants or rejects the application. The absence of any response will signify approval.
Kima and Partners firm provides the professional services needed for expatriates to secure a resident permit and work permit in Cameroon in a very efficient manner.
Article by Barr. Agbor Kima Divine NgemaKima & Partners Firm