A Comprehensive Guide on Moving to Sierra Leone

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  • Giovanni Gallo

    Tips from other Freetown expats and locals opened my eyes to Sierra Leone's many facets, from town masquerades to national parks.

Relocating to Sierra Leone

The Land and Its People 

Sierra Leone is a West African nation covering nearly 72,000 square kilometers, with a population of approximately 6.4 million people. If you move to Sierra Leone you will find that the capital, Freetown, has quite an international community of expatriates. The official language is English, although the language most commonly spoken among residents is Krio, which has elements of English. There are numerous other languages spoken in rural areas.

The people in Sierra Leone are friendly and will give new expats a warm welcome, especially if they are happy to discuss football, and in particular the English Premier League — it’s a passion for many Sierra Leoneans.

Thanks to its coastal position and airport, Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown, has an international atmosphere and visitors are always welcomed. All major religions are also represented and catered for.

The Climate in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone has a tropical, humid climate. The rainy season lasts from May to October, and the rains during this time can be torrential. From November to April, the climate is hot and dry; coastal areas benefit from sea breezes, though.

Harmattan winds blow in from the Sahara Desert during January and February, the coolest and least humid period of the year, although these winds can bring a significant amount of dust with them. Sierra Leone sees spectacular tropical storms, and there is a fabled ‘seven day rainfall’ in August when the rain does not stop for seven whole days; this is the peak of the rainy or ‘monsoon’ season.

The average daytime temperature is 32°C. If you move to Sierra Leone, don’t forget to pack your waterproofs, your sunscreen and your sunglasses — you’re likely to need all three.

Visas for Sierra Leone

To enter Sierra Leone, travelers need to have a valid passport or travel document, and a visa (unless they are a citizen of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)). If you plan to move to Sierra Leone on a business trip, you will need to obtain a business visa. You can typically find the relevant visa application forms as well as further instructions on the application process online on the website of your nearest Sierra Leone embassy.

Types of visas include tourist visas, business visas, student visas, on-arrival visas, spouse or partner visas, transit visas, and temporary worker visas. You will also need an up-to-date certificate of vaccinations.

If you have any questions about moving to Sierra Leone, best consult your local Sierra Leonean embassy. You can find a list of all embassies and high commissions, both in Sierra Leone and abroad, online.

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Our Global Partners

  • Giovanni Gallo

    Tips from other Freetown expats and locals opened my eyes to Sierra Leone's many facets, from town masquerades to national parks.

  • Claudine Duret

    My expat contacts in the NGO circles of Freetown supported me a lot in getting adjusted to daily life in this country.

Our Global Partners

Communities in Sierra Leone

Like-Minded Expatriates in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone Guide Topics