A. Guiding Principles
Guyanese residents who wish to enter Guyana must produce passports, birth certificates, identification cards or other proof of identification and airline tickets.
Nonresidents who wish to enter Guyana must produce the same documents as Guyanese residents. Foreign nationals entering Guyana must produce at the port of entry valid passports or travel documents, return or onward tickets, and evidence of sufficient funds for their stay.
B. Temporary Permits
Visas are issued under the following five categories and are valid for multiple periods of three months to a maximum of three years:
- Tourist; and
C. Work Permits
Guyana’s work permit policy is informal due to the small population. Because of the growing demand for skilled labor, the Ministry of Home Affairs, the agency responsible for issuing work permits, responds promptly to applications. It may waive some of the normal procedures, such as advertising in the local paper, when it is known that the desired skills are not readily available.
A work permit is good for the duration of an expatriate’s contract, up to a maximum of three years.
D. Residence Permits
The most common residence permit is valid for one year, but permits may be obtained that are valid for up to three years. Residence permits are renewable, and the renewed permit may be valid for a maximum of three years.
E. Steps for Obtaining Permits
A prospective employer may offer a job to a foreign national if the job was first advertised locally and no suitable Guyanese national was available. Under such conditions, the prospective employer must apply on the employee’s behalf to the Ministry of Home Affairs for a work permit. If the ministry is satisfied with the credentials of the applicant, a letter is given to the employer stating that the foreign national may be employed by the employer. The letter also sets out the requirements for a medical certificate and registration with the Inland Revenue Department.
The prospective employee must take a copy of the letter of employment to the Guyana embassy in his or her country to receive a visa to enter Guyana. Applications for visas should be made on prescribed forms at overseas missions and consulate offices.
The following documents must accompany a visa application:
- Valid passport (with at least six months remaining validity);
- One passport-size photograph;
- Evidence of sufficient funds for the duration of the visit or proof of other support while in Guyana; and
- Letter of approval from the Ministry of Home Affairs if the applicant is taking up employment or residing in Guyana.
- If it is inconvenient to go to the embassy personally, a work permit may be issued shortly after arrival in Guyana by presenting a copy of the letter to the Central Immigration and Passport Office.
The period of stay is usually three months, but may be extended from time to time for a total period of three years.
Graduates of the University of the West Indies are exempt from the work permit requirement.
Any foreign national visiting Guyana for a period of three months or more must satisfy the following medical requirements:
- Stool examination for ova and parasites;
- Blood examination for evidence of active venereal disease;
- Chest X-rays; and
- HIV test.
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F. Self Employment
If an applicant for a work permit is a self-employed person, he or she must provide evidence of a business plan and adequate funds for the investment, including working capital. Generally, the applicant is advised to incorporate a company or set up a branch if the entity is registered in the applicant’s home country.
G. Family Members
No special privileges or obligations are given to family members of foreign nationals. Family members are given permission to stay in Guyana coinciding with the approval granted to the foreign national. If accompanying family members wish to engage in employment in Guyana, they must apply for and obtain work permits in their own right.
H. Tax Considerations
Nonresidents are subject to income tax on all income arising from Guyana. Income from employment in Guyana is taxable in Guyana regardless of where the payment is made. Employment income includes housing and other benefits attached to the employment.
Double tax treaties are in effect with member states of CARICOM, Canada and the United Kingdom. A tax information exchange agreement is in effect with the United States.
I. Steps for Obtaining Drivers Permits
Individuals holding international drivers’ licenses may drive in Guyana without restriction.
Foreign nationals holding drivers’ licenses issued by their home countries must present their licenses to the License Revenue Office. On payment of a small fee, Guyana licenses are issued. No medical, physical or written examination is necessary.
Guyana does not have driver’s license reciprocity arrangements with any country.