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Moving to Abidjan?

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Adam Malewski

Living in Côte d'Ivoire, from Poland

"I use InterNations mainly for business and made some very valuable expat contacts here in Abidjan."

Lotta Koskinen

Living in Côte d'Ivoire, from Finland

"Settling as an expat woman in Abidjan wasn't easy in the beginning. Until a friend invited me to InterNations..."

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Abidjan at a Glance

Moving to Abidjan

Abidjan is home to five million people and the official language is French. The city has a tropical wet and dry climate. Expats who plan to move to Abidjan need to obtain a visa or a resident permit. Check out the InterNations Expat Guide for more information about moving to Abidjan.

About the City

Located on the south-east coast of Ivory Coast, Abidjan is one of the largest and most populous cities in West Africa, with only Lagos, the former capital of Nigeria, home to more people. Abidjan's population of nearly 5 million people accounts for over 20% of the entire population of Ivory Coast, mainly due to its status as the economic capital of the country. Abidjan is also the expatriate capital of Ivory Coast, and is home to many expats and foreigners from across Europe and Africa, and is particularly popular with citizens of France and other Francophone nations. Although Abidjan was designated the capital of Ivory Coast when it was under French rule, it is now merely the economic capital, as Yamoussoukro was named the official capital after gaining independence in 1960. The official language of Abidjan is French, which is used on all official documentation and in business transactions; however, many local residents also speak one or many of the 78 indigenous languages.

The Climate in Abidjan

Expatriates moving to Abidjan will need to adjust to a tropical wet and dry climate, which is characterized by wet and dry seasons. Abidjan has two wet seasons each year, which run from May to July, and from September to November; and two dry seasons each year, which run from December to May, and from July/August to September.

During the rainy season, it can rain consistently over a period of days, and extreme short bursts of rain that last between one and two hours are also common. The tropical climate also means that the humidity in Abidjan is high all year round, but especially in the wet seasons. Although precipitation varies throughout the year, the temperature is consistent all year long, usually averaging at around 27°C (81°F). Highs of up to 39°C (102°F) are not uncommon.

Visas for Ivory Coast

Foreigners wanting to move to Abidjan will need a visa and a residency permit in order to do so; however, citizens from countries included in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) will not need a visa or a work permit to move to the city.

In Ivory Coast, visas are packaged with work permits, and as a result visas are rarely issued to foreigners that aren't moving to Abidjan to undertake employment, except in some cases where the expatriate can prove that they can support themselves financially throughout their stay in the country.

Therefore, expatriates wanting to move to Abidjan will need to first secure work in the city, and then apply for a visa/work permit through their local embassy or consulate in their home country. These visas/work permits are usually temporary, and will last between three months and a year, depending on the expatriate in question.

InterNations Expat Magazine