Moving to Gabon is a very enriching and exotic adventure.
French-speaking and with a good expat community, this country is characterized by a diversified culture, made of exciting traditions. Dances, masks, cults, and local languages are all fascinating subjects; it would be a shame to miss an opportunity to learn about them.
But before moving to Gabon, there are a few important things to know.
Formalities Before Moving to Gabon
An expat in Gabon must be in possession of certain documents in order to settle in the country:
- An international vaccination booklet
- An insurance certificate for health and repatriation expenses
- A passport valid for at least 6 months after the date of arrival and presenting at least 2 blank pages side by side
- Proof of study or professional travel (mission order, work contract for the Gabon work visa, registration certificate, invitation letter, etc.)
- A visa or e-visa (electronic visa).
The visa can be requested before the expat’s departure for Gabon, or upon arrival.
In all cases, it is mandatory, and checks on supporting documents are strict. It is therefore important to be well informed to avoid being turned away at the border.
For more than 3 months of residence, a residence permit is required.
In Gabon, expats can use their Foreign driver’s license, but must exchange it for a local license after 3 months (the procedure is simple).
Living and Working in Gabon
Gabon is characterized by good economic growth and a high purchasing power compared to neighboring countries, despite the high unemployment rate, especially among young people and women.
It is still possible for an expat in Gabon to be living and working in the country, provided that he or she has the required skills.
However, it is still advisable to find a job before moving to Gabon.
The local job market offers opportunities mainly in the primary sector, particularly in areas such as:
- Extraction of minerals such as iron, gold, or manganese oil
A Gabon work permit is required to hold a position in Gabon.
Health and Medical Precautions When Living in Gabon
An international insurance policy covering health care, hospitalization, and repatriation is mandatory when living in Gabon.
Medical care when living in Gabon
Even if there is a health insurance system in the country, and even if the seconded workers are always covered by their social security system during their stay in Gabon, the conditions of care on the spot are far from the Western standards.
In order to be well treated, it is, therefore, necessary to be taken care of in a private establishment.
Private establishments are generally located in the capital and represent a significant expense that is poorly covered by the public health insurance system.
In case of illness or serious accident, repatriation will have to be considered. This is a very costly operation that is not covered by social security.
It is therefore essential to choose the best possible coverage, especially if you are moving to Gabon with children, who are more fragile and more exposed to the risks of illness abroad.
Finding expat insurance for Gabon living conditions
The easiest way to find the most appropriate contract is to use an online insurance comparison service.
In order to limit health risks as much as possible in Gabon living conditions, you should always take certain precautions:
- Be up-to-date with all important vaccinations, including diphtheria and DTP
- Protect yourself from malaria, and therefore from mosquitoes
- Do not buy medicines in the street, but only in official pharmacies
- Cook your food well
- Always prefer bottled water to tap water, unless it is filtered or boiled.