Cameroon’s biometric visa application online portal goes live 30 April
Cameroon’s Foreign Minister Lejeune Mbella Mbella has announced that the online application platform for the new generation of the country’s biometric entry visas will go operational 30 April.
Mbella Mbella issued the statement 7 April describing the digitization of the visa process as one of the steps in a series of reforms to transform Cameroon’s diplomatic apparatus.
The announcement comes a month after the Head of State Paul Biya signed a decree outlining new modalities for the implementation of the 1997 law on the entry, stay and exit of foreigners in Cameroon.
According to the Minister’s statement, from Saturday April 30, all visa requests for entry into Cameroon will be completed exclusively via this portal and applicants will be expected to complete four processes.
Going by Mbella Mbella’s directive, an applicant must begin by creating a user account on the website before filling out and validating the online form, after which a notification of successful application is sent to the applicant either via SMS or email.
Meanwhile, at some stage in the filling of the application form, the applicant will be required to make payment – digitally – with a flurry of payment options which include Mastercard and Visa debit cards, PayPal as well as some mobile money transfer options.
Once the online application process is completed, processing will then begin by the competent diplomatic or consular posts or the closest one geographically to which the application has been made, Mbella Mbella’s statement notes. However, applicants found in destinations far-flung from a diplomatic mission will only be sent a digital visa issuance authorization which will have a QR code containing all the details of the applicant.
The last stage of the visa process, as explained by Mbella Mbella, is the affixing of the visa sticker to the applicant’s passport either at the diplomatic or consular post or at the point of entry into the country.
“It is done either at the border post for holders of the digital visa authorisation or at the competent diplomatic mission or consular post for applicants having completed their biometric enrollment at the said mission or consular post,” says Mbella Mbella.
Cameroonian visas include fingerprint or iris biometrics, in addition to a digitized facial photograph.
He discloses that the digital visa system will systematically be installed at all of the country’s land and maritime borders, and reiterates that the novelty falls in line with government efforts “to turn Cameroon into a more attractive destination, while at the same time addressing some of the concerns of Cameroon’s diaspora and aligning our consular system to the highest international standards.”
Cote d’Ivoire-based security and identity solutions company Impact Palmarès R&D SAS is supplying the technology for the digital visa system. In April last year, the firm signed a contract with the Cameroon government which will last ten years, renewable.