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Cameroon is a multilingual and multicultural country in West Africa, rich in mineral and human resources. This country is becoming one of the best places to hire remotely on the continent. You can also bring in foreign talents to supplement the local team. Although promising, employing foreigners in Cameroon is a tricky venture.
This West African nation observes strict immigration policies that affect how employers hire foreigners. To illustrate, all foreigners, including Cameroon-born, need a work visa and residence permit to work. Adding expatriates to your Cameroonian workforce may attract extra fees and is a multifaceted process.
Compliance with employment and immigration laws is essential to hire foreigners legally in this country. Therefore, many foreign employers work with employers of record in Cameroon, like Skuad, to simplify these processes.
In this guide, you will learn how to obtain work visas in Cameroon. What’s more, you will discover the types of work visas, how much they cost, and the steps for obtaining them.
Types of Cameroon work visas
To expand globally, you must know the visa types your employees will need abroad. Cameroon has two major categories of visas: short and long-stay. While short-stay visas are only valid for up to 90 days, long-stay visas permit the holder to stay in Cameroon for up to six months.
The Cameroon work visa is one of the two main types of long-stay visas. Cameroon has only one type of work visa.
The Cameroon work visa is a long-stay visa that allows foreigners to enter the country for employment reasons. A work visa is valid for up to six months. However, any foreigner wanting to reside in Cameroon for over six months must have a residence permit. Foreigners can stay in the country when their Cameroon work permit expires if they renew it.
The applicant must possess vital documents when applying for a Cameroon work visa. These documents must include the applicant’s work, financial, and contact information. The applicant must also possess documents proving they have an employment agreement with a Cameroon-based employer.
Further, the applicant will tender a letter of invitation from the company employing them. The letter must contain crucial details about the company and the nature of employment. The information in the letter will include the employment contract’s duration and both parties' legal and financial responsibilities. Ensure that the letter is signed by the Minister of Labor and Social Security.
Who needs a work visa in Cameroon?
Like most countries, foreigners wanting to visit or move in permanently for various reasons must have legal authorization. This authorization is a visa.
Cameroon is a West African nation that permits non-Cameroonians from neighboring states to enter its shores without a visa. Foreigners from these countries can enter temporarily without a visa:
- Equatorial Guinea
- Republic of Congo
- Central African Republic
Nationals from other countries outside West Africa may also enter Cameroon without a visa. For instance, a diplomatic passport holder from any of the following countries does not need a visa to visit Cameroon:
Duration and costs of work visa in Cameroon
The work visa is a long-stay visa for up to six months. This period can be extended. However, an extension would give rise to issuing a residence permit.
The fee for processing a work visa in Cameroon varies for different countries. Work visa application fee costs between $70 and $300. Applicants must pay this fee at the consulate or Cameroonian embassy.
These fees tend to change frequently. Thus, contacting the consulate to confirm the fee before applying for visas is advisable.
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Cameroon visa requirements
Hiring a global team in Cameroon has lots of potential. However, knowing the visa requirements for employers and employees in this country is advisable.
Employees’ Cameroon work visa requirements
There are unique rules for hiring talent in different countries. To hire a foreigner in this country, here are the Cameroon visa requirements:
- An international passport, valid for at least six months after the visa expires
- Two filled-out visa application forms
- Two color passport photographs taken within six months
- A travel itinerary document detailing personal details and planned visits
- Proof of accommodation during your stay in Cameroon
- A Curriculum Vitae
- A police clearance certificate (criminal record, which must be clean)
- Marriage or birth certificate
- Return flight tickets
- Yellow fever vaccination card
Employers’ Cameroon work visa requirements
Employers wanting to hire foreign nationals in Cameroon must undergo the proper process. The procedure starts with formally informing the labor department of their willingness to hire foreigners. They must also prove to the department that they couldn’t find a Cameroonian suitable for the role.
After contacting the labor department, the employer would request that the Minister approve the contract. The request can be approved in two ways. First, the minister approves the contract and informs the employer. Secondly, the contract becomes automatically valid if the minister fails to approve it within two months.
Here are the documents an employer must present:
- Copies of the employment contract signed by the employer and employee
- A detailed description of the employee’s responsibilities
- The company’s organogram
- A staffing plan approved by the labor minister
- A residence permit copy (for Cameroonian foreign residents)
The application process for a Cameroon work visa
Applying for a Cameroon work visa is a simple yet complex process. Applicants must ensure they have all the vital documents ready and enough funds in their credit or debit cards.
Cameroon provides visa applicants with three options. The methods are online, at an entry port, or at the Cameroonian embassy in their country.
Foreigners can apply for a Cameroon work visa online with these steps:
- Fill out the visa application form online.
- Ensure to fill other accompanying pages.
- After applying, wait for an email confirmation of your results.
Applying at the consulate
Applying at the consulate or a Cameroonian embassy is the oldest visa application method still relevant. Applicants must do the following:
- Visit the nearest Cameroonian embassy either within their country or in a neighboring country.
- Obtain and fill out the visa application form.
- Prepare and tender the original copies of all the vital documents.
- Anticipate a response from the officials on their application status.
Applying at an entry port
When applying at the port of entry, foreigners must hold a diplomatic passport from a specific country. Before arriving at the entry port, these individuals should contact the embassy for information on the latest developments.
Application processing time
The processing time for a work permit application varies, depending on the validity of the Cameroon immigration documents. Work permit processing may take up to two weeks to complete. Meanwhile, some complete this procedure between two and three working days at the earliest.
Various forms of delay may arise when seeking a residence permit. Some may be due to incorrect information on vital documents. Others may be caused by delays in getting approval from the labor ministry. Companies wanting to legally speed up the processing time partner with an employer of record in Cameroon.
Considerations for hiring foreigners in Cameroon
To ensure compliance while hiring foreigners in Cameroon, you must consider these two crucial factors:
Unique requirements for foreign employers in Cameroon
Foreigners wanting to move to Cameroon to establish a business or hire workers must have a business permit. They must present original copies of their business incorporation documents and their company taxpayer’s card.
They will also need a copy of their 3-month visa document and a valid international passport. Copies of an application for a business permit, a residence permit, and the company profile will also be requested.
Conditions for establishing a legal entity
A foreign national wanting to work in Cameroon must be contracted with a local business. It also implies that hiring in this country is allowed if the employer has a registered local establishment. Setting up a local business in a foreign land like Cameroon is not always straightforward. Thus, it is advisable to consider the cost, time, and effort before hiring.
Planning to hire or work in Cameroon? Here’s how Skuad can help
You’re probably set to add homegrown and foreign talent to your global team in Cameroon. While this collaboration sounds promising, achieving it can be tricky without an employer of record to guide you. Rest assured, Skuad will help you get started in no time.
Working with Skuad may be the best business decision you could make to support your employee’s Cameroon immigration. We’ll leave you to take charge of identifying who you want to hire and then handle the rest. At Skuad, we will help you onboard, pay, and manage your global team. Contact our relocation experts today and discover how we will make your global market expansion aspirations a reality.
Frequently Asked Questions about Cameroon work permits and visas
How do I get a work permit in Cameroon?
After agreeing to employment terms with the foreigner, the employer takes care of the work permit application. First, the company informs the labor ministry of its hiring intentions and seeks approval. If the ministry approves the request, the employer will get an attestation. The employer will present this attestation and other supporting documents when applying for a work permit.
How long can a US citizen stay in Cameroon?
The duration of a United States citizen’s stay in Cameroon depends on the purpose of Cameroon immigration and visa type. Americans going to Cameroon for tourism can stay for up to 30 days. Meanwhile, those in transit have up to five days of temporary stay.
Short-term visits last up to three months, while long-stays can last up to a year. US citizens traveling to Cameroon for courtesy or diplomatic reasons can legally stay for six months. Short stays can be extended upon request.
How much is a Cameroon residence permit?
A residence permit (Carte de Séjour) is another vital document that allows foreigners to stay in the country legally while working. Although the rate varies, expect to pay at least 250,000XFA for a residence permit. Payment of this fee occurs during the application process.
Do US citizens need visas to Cameroon?
Regarding “passport freedom,” the US passport ranks among the top seven in the world. Although US passport holders have visa-free access to nearly 190 countries, Cameroon isn’t one of them. To enter this country for tourism, visit, or work purposes, Americans must apply for a visa.
In addition to the essential travel documents, they must possess an international vaccination certificate. The immigration authorities in Cameroon will also request a record of their recent immunization medications or procedures.
Can a foreigner work without a permit?
Section 1(3) of the Cameroon labor code (Law No. 92/007 of 14 August 1992) defines who can work without a permit. According to this rule, only Cameroon citizens have a right to work without special documentation or permits. A foreigner wanting to work in this country must have a work permit or visa along with a residence permit.
Moreso, a foreigner of Cameroonian descent cannot work in the country without a work permit. Cameroonian law does not recognize dual citizenship. Thus, individuals with a foreign passport must have a work permit to earn legally on Cameroonian soil.