Cameroon biometric visa system now functional
Hundreds of biometric visas have already been issued by different diplomatic services of Cameroon since the online application system went live on May 1.
The country’s embassy in Belgium said it issued more than one hundred visas within two days after the system rolled out, according to information from the Foreign Ministry in Yaounde.
Ahead of the launch, Foreign Minister Mbella Mbella, in a briefing on April 25, explained the purpose and functionalities of the biometric visa system, saying it is the first step in a series of government efforts aimed at improving the country’s diplomatic machinery by aligning it with cutting-edge international best practices in the domain of visa issuance.
“Cameroon is writing a new page in its history. If things go on as planned, from May 1, applicants will be able to get their entry visa into Cameroon within a period of 72 hours upon submission of the online application,” said Mbella Mbella at the briefing.
He also explained the category of visas available for long and short visits and their fees, which have seen an increase from the previous visa regime, in line with the prescriptions of the 2023 state budget.
Short-stay visas have a validity of six months while long-stay ones are valid for 12 months, costing between 100,000 Central African francs (US$167) and XAF 200,000 ($334) depending on the type (either ordinary or express). Express visas are issued within 24 hours.
The government official also explained that the new system has been designed in a flexible way to deliver secure visa stickers. The process is fast, efficient and cuts wait time and other procedural bottlenecks, he added.
In a previous government communication, Mbella Mbella had explained how the system works and the various stages involved in the application process.
Impact Palmarès R&D SAS is the Cote d’Ivoire-based company running the system under a ten-year contract on a Public-Private Partnership basis. It is reported that per the contract terms, the company earns 30 percent of the fee paid for each visa issued.
Since the system went live, the Foreign Ministry has been running an awareness campaign on its official social media pages on how the system works. It publishes short messages explaining the online application process to applicants, and calling on them to guard against cybercriminals who may try to create a prototype system.