Legal Article : Equatorial Guinea

 

Visa, Immigration and Employment Requirements

Visa, immigration and employment compliance is paramount, and our clients’ success largely depends on getting it right. Visa and immigration issues can have a serious impact on a company’s freedom to operate and thus we recommend our clients to ensure their personnel know the applicable visa and immigration rules during their time in Equatorial Guinea.

 

Stakeholders and Responsibilities

Stakeholder Role
The Company Prepares and submits the visa, immigration and employment applications, directly or via an agent
Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Promotion of Employment (“MLSSPE”) Authorises employment contracts, processes and issues authorizations of employment and work permits.
Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons (“MMH”) Receives LOIs applications and issues a favourable report addressed to the MNS.
Ministry of National Security (“MNS”) Processes and approves LOIs, Permanencias, Visas and Residence cards.
Centro Nacional de Documentación para Guinea Ecuatorial (CNDGE) In charge of issuing residence cards/permits.
City Hall Grants registration certificates to foreign nationals residing in their area (empadronamiento).

 

Stakeholder Role
The Company Prepares and submits the visa, immigration and employment applications, directly or via an agent
Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Promotion of Employment (“MLSSPE”) Authorises employment contracts, processes and issues authorizations of employment and work permits.
Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons (“MMH”) Receives LOIs applications and issues a favourable report addressed to the MNS.
Ministry of National Security (“MNS”) Processes and approves LOIs, Permanencias, Visas and Residence cards.
Centro Nacional de Documentación para Guinea Ecuatorial (CNDGE) In charge of issuing residence cards/permits.
City Hall Grants registration certificates to foreign nationals residing in their area (empadronamiento).

Visa & Immigration Requirements

Except United States, Tunisian and CEMAC citizens and Chinese diplomats, all foreign workers are required to apply for visas to enter the territory of Equatorial Guinea.

Letters of Invitation (“LOIs” also known as Autorizaciones de Entrada)

Letters of invitation (LOIs), also known as entry authorisations, are issued by the MNS and used by applicants as part of his visa application at their country of residence. The LOIs requirements are:

  • A copy of the applicant’s passport;
  • A copy of the applicant’s police clearance report;
  • A copy of the applicant’s updated curriculum vitae;
  • A sworn oath and application letter from the applicant’s employer/EG national inviting the foreigner to Equatorial Guinea;
  • Submit an application letter to the MMH (if being permanently transferred into Equatorial Guinea);
  • Obtain a favourable resolution from the MMH (if the person is being permanently transferred to Equatorial Guinea);
  • Proof of payment of the applicable fees at the Public Treasury’s account; and
  • Apply for the letter of invitation and submit the aforementioned documents to the MNS.
Visa Application at the Equatorial Guinean Embassy

Applicant must submit a visa application at the Equatorial Guinean Embassy located in its country of residence. If there is no Embassy in the applicant’s country of residence, he/she is required to apply at the closest Equatorial Guinean Embassy. A visa on arrival may also be granted.

Under decree 49/2019, there are four different types of visas:

  • Tourist Visas
  • Business Visas
  • Visas to Attend Conferences and Seminars
  • Emergency/Humanitarian Causes Visas
Multiple Entry Visa & Permanencia

If the employee is to remain in Equatorial Guinea, the validity of the entry visa is usually not sufficient to obtain the required work and residence permits. Therefore, an application for a ‘right to remain permit’ (permanencia) and a multiple entry visa is applied for on behalf of the employee. In order to obtain a multiple entry visa and permanencia, the MNS requires the following documents:

  • An application letter;
  • Proof of payment of the applicable fees at the Public Treasury’s account;
  • Completion of the repatriation insurance form at the MNS;
  • Proof of payment of the repatriation insurance at the Public Treasury’s account; and
  • The applicant’s original passport.
City Hall Registration

All foreign nationals are required to register at the City Hall closest to their place of residence.
The application requirements are:

  • An application letter addressed to H.E. the Mayor of Malabo/Bata or applicable city/town;
  • A certificate or registration from the President of the Community of Neighbours (certificado del Presidente de la Comunidad de Vecinos), where the applicant resides;
  • A copy of the applicant’s passport or residence card;
  • Two passport-size photographs; and
  • The applicant’s telephone number.
Residence Card

After a work permit has been expressly approved, the employee must apply for a residence permit. Residence permits are usually valid for one or two years and they give the employee the right to remain, exit and re-enter Equatorial Guinea without the need for a visa.

First Time Applications:
Below are the residence permit requirements:

  • An application letter addressed to the Director of National Security;
  • Complete the residence card application form issued by CNDGE;
  • Three (3) recent passport-size photos with a white background;
  • Be in the country legality, submit the original passport or travel document;
  • Submit HIV/Aids test result;
  • An affidavit of the activity that the applicant will be involved in while in Equatorial Guinea;
  • Employment contract;
  • The company’s Tax Identification Number;
  • Certificate of Registration at the City Hall; and
  • The applicant’s ID Card.

Renewals:

  • Application letter addressed to the Director of National Security
  • Completed residence card application form issued by CNDGE;
  • Submit the previous original residence card;
  • Submit HIV/Aids test result;
  • Photocopy of the Applicant’s passport;
  • Three (3) recent passport-size photos with a white background;
  • The applicant’s ID Card; and
  • A certificate of good conduct issued by the Applicant’s current or former employer.

Employment Requirements

Employment Contracts

All individuals working in Equatorial Guinea must have an employment contract approved by the MLSSPE. The Ministry has a standard template which must be used.

Employment Authorisations

All foreign nationals must have an employment authorisation before they start working for a company in Equatorial Guinea. This document is issued by the MLSSPE.

Work Permits

Work Permits – Applicability
Any person who enters Equatorial Guinea to work or do business as an employed or self-employed worker, regardless of the duration of his stay, shall obtain a work permit.

US nationals are exempt from work permit requirements for a maximum of 90 days per year. After this period, their situation should be regularised, and a work permit obtained.

Type Condition
B1 Initial Work Permit which allows workers to work for the Client for a period of 1 year.
BR Renewal of the B1 Work Permit – valid for 2 years.
C Renewal of the BR Work Permit – valid for 3 years.
A Temporary Work Permit for temporary employees – valid for 6 months (renewable).
I Informal Work Permit for workers of the informal sector that provide services as employed or self-employed that are not allowed to contract workers – valid for 1-year (renewable).
PCP Work Permit for Self-employed Workers for foreigners conducting business that are allowed to contract workers – valid for up to 3 years.
PTA Agriculture Work Permit for employed or self-employed workers that work in the agricultural sector – valid for 3 years (renewable).
PP Permanent Work Permit – granted to foreigners meeting certain conditions rooted in the country.

 

Type Condition
B1 Initial Work Permit which allows workers to work for the Client for a period of 1 year.
BR Renewal of the B1 Work Permit – valid for 2 years.
C Renewal of the BR Work Permit – valid for 3 years.
A Temporary Work Permit for temporary employees – valid for 6 months (renewable).
I Informal Work Permit for workers of the informal sector that provide services as employed or self-employed that are not allowed to contract workers – valid for 1-year (renewable).
PCP Work Permit for Self-employed Workers for foreigners conducting business that are allowed to contract workers – valid for up to 3 years.
PTA Agriculture Work Permit for employed or self-employed workers that work in the agricultural sector – valid for 3 years (renewable).
PP Permanent Work Permit – granted to foreigners meeting certain conditions rooted in the country.

Application Process

  • Applicants shall submit a formal letter addressed to the General Director of Labour enclosing an application form and other required documents; and
  • Once the complete application is received, within 7 days, the application should be given to the General Directorate of Labour for the General Director to decide on the merits of the application and hand down his decision.

Work Permit for Employed Workers
The Client shall provide documents proving its business activity and specify the services that will be rendered by the foreign worker.

When the job position requires a specific qualification, the foreign employee shall provide proof of the later

Work Permit for Self-Employed Workers
Self-employed workers shall provide documents that prove their business activity in the country.

Fees
The fees are only payable once the work permit has been approved. Payment shall be made to the Public Treasury.

Administrative Appeals
Appeals may be filed by applicants whose applications have been rejected by the General Director of Labour. Appeals shall be filed with the Minister of Labour, Promotion of Employment and Social Security. The Minister’s decision exhausts the administrative appeal process.

Cancelation of Work Permits
Valid and legally granted work permits shall be cancelled if:

  • The work permit holder has had his/her residence card application rejected by the competent body;
  • The work permit holder changes employer.

Invalid Work Permits
The following work permits will be considered invalid:

  • Those granted by incompetent bodies; and
  • Those granted outside the process established by law.

Invalid Employment Contracts
All employment contracts entered into with a foreigner without a valid work permit or with an invalid work permit will be null and void.

Infringements and Sanctions

  • Any entrepreneur who contracts a foreign worker without a valid work permit will be sanctioned in accordance with the applicable law.
  • Foreign self-employed workers that carry out business activities without a work permit will be sanctioned in accordance with the applicable law.
  • The forgery of work permits or of documents submitted with a work permit application will be notified to the Attorney General with the applicant’s file enclosed. In addition, the documents will be null and void.

Visa, Immigration and Employment – Official Fees

Immigration Documents Fee
Invitation Letter XAF 10,000
City Hall Registration for Foreign Nationals (Empadronamiento) XAF 10,000
Visa on Arrival/Entry Visa XAF 50,000
Multiple Entry Visa (3 Months) XAF 20,000
Multiple Entry Visa (6 Months) XAF 40,000
Multiple Entry Visa (12 Months) XAF 80,000
Renewal of Visa on Arrival/Entry Visa (1 month) XAF 20,000
Visa Extensions for 15 days XAF 30,000
Multiple Entry Visa (24 Months) XAF 600,000
Ordinary Visa Authorisation XAF 40,000
Permanency (per Month) – first time applications XAF 150,000
Permanency (per Month) – renewals XAF 50,000
Residence Permit for Foreigners (12 Months) XAF 200,000
Residence Permit for Foreigners (24 Months) XAF 400,000
Duplicate Residence Permit (if police report issued) XAF 10,000
Exit with Expired Visa (Per Month) XAF 30,000
Repatriation Insurance (MNS) XAF 100,000
Immigration Documents Fee
Invitation Letter XAF 10,000
City Hall Registration for Foreign Nationals (Empadronamiento) XAF 10,000
Visa on Arrival/Entry Visa XAF 50,000
Multiple Entry Visa (3 Months) XAF 20,000
Multiple Entry Visa (6 Months) XAF 40,000
Multiple Entry Visa (12 Months) XAF 80,000
Renewal of Visa on Arrival/Entry Visa (1 month) XAF 20,000
Visa Extensions for 15 days XAF 30,000
Multiple Entry Visa (24 Months) XAF 600,000
Ordinary Visa Authorisation XAF 40,000
Permanency (per Month) – first time applications XAF 150,000
Permanency (per Month) – renewals XAF 50,000
Residence Permit for Foreigners (12 Months) XAF 200,000
Residence Permit for Foreigners (24 Months) XAF 400,000
Duplicate Residence Permit (if police report issued) XAF 10,000
Exit with Expired Visa (Per Month) XAF 30,000
Repatriation Insurance (MNS) XAF 100,000
Work Permits Fee
B1 (1 year validity) XAF 75,000
BR (2 years validity) XAF 10,000
C Renewal of the BI Work Permit (2 years validity) XAF 150,000
A Renewal of the BR Work Permit (6 months – renewable) XAF 50,000
I Temporary Work Permit (1year validity- renewable) XAF TBA
PCP Informal Work Permit (up to 3 years) XAF 150,000
PTA Work Permit for Self-employed Workers (3 years – renewable) XAF TBA
Work Permits Fee
B1 (1 year validity) XAF 75,000
BR (2 years validity) XAF 10,000
C Renewal of the BI Work Permit (2 years validity) XAF 150,000
A Renewal of the BR Work Permit (6 months – renewable) XAF 50,000
I Temporary Work Permit (1year validity- renewable) XAF TBA
PCP Informal Work Permit (up to 3 years) XAF 150,000
PTA Work Permit for Self-employed Workers (3 years – renewable) XAF TBA
Other Documents Fee
Certificate of Good Conduct (Foreigners) XAF 5,000
Certificate of Good Conduct (Nationals) XAF 2,000
Employment Contract XAF 0
Tax Solvency Certificate XAF 2,000
Recruitment Authorisation (to be discussed) XAF 50,000
Other Documents Fee
Certificate of Good Conduct (Foreigners) XAF 5,000
Certificate of Good Conduct (Nationals) XAF 2,000
Employment Contract XAF 0
Tax Solvency Certificate XAF 2,000
Recruitment Authorisation (to be discussed) XAF 50,000
Mode of Payment

All payments made for visa, immigration and employment documents should be made in accordance with the laws of Equatorial Guinea. It is advisable to ensure that the correct fees are paid, and that the payment is made to the public treasury’s bank account.

Payments for the City Hall registration are made to the bank account of the applicable City Hall. The bank details can be obtained at the respective City Hall.

Uncertainty and changes in the requirements

Although we have seen a more consistent approach in recent years, visa and immigration practices/rules change from time to time, and it is not uncommon for the government to change visa and immigration requirements without prior official announcement. In such cases, information may come from a visa and immigration agent or from employees who were affected by the change upon their arrival at one of the ports of entry into the country. It is advisable to corroborate such information and act promptly to implement any changes to avoid an adverse impact on operations.

Record Retention

It is advisable for the HR Manager to maintain all visa, immigration and employment records as a legal and internal requirement, and in anticipation of any potential inspections by the government.

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