Freetown at a Glance
Working in Freetown
Sierra Leone is a country on the up and Freetown in particular has seen an influx of international investment over the past decade. Many young professionals are relocating to Freetown, riding on the wave of optimism and economic growth.
Freetown’s harbor is the largest hub for international imports and exports in the country and is one of the city’s main sources of revenue and employment. A huge investment has recently been made in modernizing the container terminal and in implementing a digital management system, which should see a huge increase in productivity and income in the near future.
Another major industry in the country is mining. Sierra Leone is well known for its abundance of natural resources, which includes diamonds, iron ore and gold, and Freetown employs a vast number of overseas professionals in these trades. Oil is also big business, as is the growing offshore energy trade.
Work Permits for Freetown
Unless you are a citizen of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), you will need a visa to enter the country, for those travelling for short-term work purposes, this will be a business visa. You may need to apply for a temporary residency visa if you are required to stay for a substantial period of time, these last for one year but you can apply for an extension.
In order to apply for your visa, you will need to provide the authorities with a company profile and letter of invitation from your Sierra Leonean employer, a visa application form, proof of accommodation reservations and proof that you have travel insurance. You will also need to provide evidence that you have sufficient funds to cover your period in the country (such as a bank statement).
Please note that to enter the country, you will also need to show your passport and evidence of your yellow fever vaccination.
Income Taxation in Freetown
Income tax payments range from 20–30% of your salary depending on the amount you earn. These are assessed and collected by the Income Tax Department, a subdivision of the National Revenue Authority. The National Revenue Authority will allocate you a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN). To apply for your ID number you must complete the online registration form or visit a NRA office. The NRA head office is based in Freetown and there are smaller tax offices dotted all around the city.
For most business transactions and credit applications you will be required to provide a Tax Clearance Certificate. This certificate verifies that you have met your tax obligations. You should apply to the NRA for the certificate and provide evidence of your tax payments.