Sierra Leone has undergone significant growth in the past decade. With economic development steady across sectors, there are new and diverse job opportunities for expats and companies looking to expand to the country. However, if you want to open a new location in Sierra Leone and employ expats, you’ll need to consider how to get Sierra Leone work permits for each foreigner.
Types of Work Visas in Sierra Leone
While Sierra Leone offers several types of work visas, the most applicable for global companies include the following:
- Business visa: This visa is typically for self-employed individuals who can demonstrate their ability to operate a business in the country. Minimum capital requirements are based on the applicant’s business type and sector.
- Work permit: A work permit is the most common option for employees of foreign companies. As the intended employer, you must sponsor each employee for their entire stay.
- Tourist visa: Foreign nationals from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) can come and stay in Sierra Leone without a visa. Everyone else needs a tourist visa from the Sierra Leone embassies and consulates in their country of residence.
Other common visas cover different activities, from studying to meeting a life partner or spouse to retirement to medical treatment. Your employees can obtain different visas as their role with your company changes too. For example, they may need an initial business visa for some work abroad in Sierra Leone. If they become a permanent fixture at your office in Sierra Leone, they’ll need a work permit and temporary resident visa.
Requirements to Obtain Sierra Leone Work Visas
Your employees will need to meet the country’s normal visa requirements as well as specific Sierra Leone working visa requirements. General requirements include the following:
- Passport photo
- Visa application form
- Proof of travel
- Letter of invitation
- Business letter
Effective June 1, 2022, all work and residence permit applicants will need to obtain a National Identity Number (NIN) prior to application.
Additional working visa requirements include providing a profile on your company and showing a letter of invitation. Your company also needs to be registered in Sierra Leone, either as a subsidiary or with a global PEO. Finally, employees will need to provide evidence that they have sufficient financial resources to fund their stay in Sierra Leone.
Employees must fill out and submit all documents with a Sierra Leone embassy in their home country. The country’s National Revenue Authority will process all applications. If granted, your employees should show all documents to immigration officials when they arrive at the airport. Once their work permits expire, they can apply for extensions with the relevant high commission or embassy in Freetown.
Keep in mind that your employees will also need a temporary residency visa in addition to their work permit. You, as the employer, have to help them obtain the residency visa. To obtain this visa, employees must show a valid passport, two passport photos, and their work permit.
Other Important Considerations
Sierra Leone has different visa fees, which will depend on your employees’ nationalities. For example, non-ECOWAS citizens owe $35 for their visas. Most visas are $100 for individuals from the following regions and nations:
- North and South America
- The Middle East
Partner With Globalization Partners
As a global PEO, we work with numerous companies looking to expand to new countries. We’ll use our PEOs in different nations to help you expand using our existing infrastructure. From running your payroll to handling compensation and benefits, you can count on us to ensure that you meet Sierra Leone’s laws and regulations.
Get in touch with us today for more information about our Global Expansion solution.