Your company’s most important assets are your employees. When undertaking an expansion to the Maldives, you need to find talented individuals to join your team, whether they’re locals or foreigners. However, when hiring foreign employees, you will also need to research how to get a work visa in the Maldives for each one.
Types of Work Visas in the Maldives
Visitors of all nationalities are eligible for a free, 30-day tourist visa in the Maldives. This visa is given on arrival, so your employees do not need a prior visa to enter the country. However, they will need to have a passport with at least three months’ validity, a confirmed hotel reservation, and a confirmed ticket to fly out of the country. There’s a possibility to extend the visa by 60 days as long as your employee is in a suitable financial situation to remain the full 90 days.
Another Maldives visa option is the business visa. This visa requires at least a diploma or a letter from an overseas company stating the individual’s competency along with the purpose for the visit. If approved, the visa is valid for up to 90 days.
Although a tourist visa allows foreigners to enter the country, it does not permit work. You, as an employer, will need to submit documents to the Maldives Immigration (MI) Department to obtain a work permit in the Maldives for each employee. Once approved, your employees can enter the country and also secure a resident visa.
It may be tempting to have employees enter the country under a tourist or business visa and then apply for the resident version. However, tourist and business visas cannot be canceled or changed to one permitting residency, so going through the process incorrectly will result in your employees having to leave the country and reenter to obtain a new visa.
Requirements to Obtain Maldives Work Visas
Anyone entering the Maldives for a job will have 15 days from their arrival date to obtain a work permit. During this pre-period, your employees should seek a valid Employment Approval (EA) — a written statement from the PFED granting expatriates permission to work in the Maldives — and go for a medical check-up at a hospital or clinic. Other requirements for the entry and application processes include:
- Passport bio-data page copy
- Completed disembarkation/embarkation card approved by the MI
- Proof of yellow fever vaccine, if necessary
- Payment of the work visa card fee of MVR 50
- Passport-size photo
The Permits and Foreign Employment Division (PFED) of the MI grants permission for foreigners to work in the country. MI will issue a work visa based on the EA, which you apply for on behalf of your employees. This includes three stages — an online preliminary check, verification, and a final approval. After the EA is issued, your employee has 90 days to arrive in the Maldives. Then, you need to pay the work visa fees and submit the application within 15 days of the employee’s arrival.
The EA is issued under three different categories, these being commercial, government, and domestic. Your company will most likely fall under the commercial category, which means you need these supporting documents when applying for the EA:
- Passport biodata
- Passport-size digital photo of your employee
- Letter of appointment with information about you, the employee, and nature of the employment
- Relevant education and professional certificates
Other Important Considerations
In addition to tourist and work visas, the Maldives has several other options available to accommodate various circumstances, including:
- Marriage visa
- Student visa
- Dependent visa
- And more
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