Work and residence permit application process for investors and other foreign nationals in Tanzania

  • Legal Development 06 April 2023 06 April 2023
  • Africa

  • Top workplace issues

As foreign investment into Tanzania continues to soar, companies are focusing on the work permit and immigration system in order to ensure that the most efficient application process is followed. Foreigners who intend to reside in Tanzania for investment, business, employment or other acceptable purposes are issued with both a work permit and a residence permit (the Permits).

The ministry responsible for labour matters has developed an Online Work Permit Application System (OWAIS) that integrates labour and immigration permits. Once the work permit application has been accepted, the OWAIS forwards the application to the Immigration Department to process a residence permit application.

The table below contains the applicable classes for the Permits together with the official fees:

Class  Item

Fee (USD) 

Work Permit 

Fee (USD)

Residence Permit

Fee (USD) 

Residence Permit for EAC Citizens

A Investors and self employed 1000 1050-3050
(Non-citizens of Class A on Work Permit)
(Non-citizens of Class A on Work Permit)
B Non-citizens in possession of prescribed professions 500 2050
(Non-citizens of Class B & C on Work Permit and STP)
(Non-citizens of Class B & C on Work Permit and STP)
C Non-citizens in possession of other professions 1000 250-550
(Non-citizens of Class D on Work Permit)
(Non-citizens of Class D on Work Permit)
D Non-citizens employed or engaged in approved religious and charitable activities  500    
E Refugees




Below is the process of the application for the Permits:

  • an application for a work permit must be submitted online prior to the applicant's entry into Tanzania;
  • the applicant will need to collate the application documents which are listed in Appendix A to this updater (the Application Documents);
  • the applicant has to make the application through the OWAIS that is available at Tanzania Work Permit Application (;
  • the applicant must create an account on the OWAIS, complete the prescribed application form, attach the application documents and submit the application via the OWAIS portal;
  • upon submission of the application, the applicant will receive a notification through the registered email address with a control number for payment;
  • once payment is made, OWAIS automatically forwards the application to the Labour Commissioner at the Labour Department (the Labour Commissioner) who will review the application;
  • when the work permit application is approved, OWAIS will forward the application to the Commissioner General at the Immigration Department (the Commissioner General);
  • the Commissioner General will then process the application for a residence permit based on the documents submitted by the applicant;
  • if the residence permit application is approved, the applicant will receive a notification to that effect and OWAIS will generate a control number for payment of the residence permit fee. The applicant can then make payment using the control number provided;
  • after making payment for the residence permit, the applicant will receive a notification requiring him/her to report to an Immigration Office in Mainland Tanzania for biometric enrolment procedures; and
  • Upon completion of the biometric, the applicant will then be issued with an e-Permit Smart Card (the Smart Card) that contains details for both work and residence permits. The Smart Card can be collected at an Immigration Office in Tanzania. 


In the event that the applicant is in Tanzania at the time of the application, he is required to have a special pass. The special pass is usually issued to a foreigner living in or entering in Tanzania in order to afford him the opportunity to apply for and obtain the Permits or to complete any immigration formalities. 


The validity of the work permit is as follows:

  • Class A work permit of an investor, whose contribution to the economy or the wellbeing of Tanzanians through investment is of great value may exceed 10 years; and
  • Class B work permit is valid for a period of two years from the date of issue and may be renewed provided that the total period of validity of the first grant and its renewals must not exceed eight years.

The residence permit is valid for a period not exceeding two years and it can be renewed. It can be renewed for another period not exceeding two years but cannot exceed eight years depending on the duration of the work permit. 

Short Term Permit (STP)

An STP is a type of work permit, in practice it is applied at the Labour Department prior to entry of the employee into Tanzania. Although there is no statutory provision which specifically addresses an STP.

Documents required: The documents in relation to the application for an STP are similar to those of work permit. 
Fee: The applicable fee for an STP is USD 550. 
Timing: Approximately one to two weeks. 
Validity: Six months and it is non-renewable.


For one to qualify as a dependent one must fundamentally be dependent on the applicant of the residence permit. 

The following are regarded as legal dependants of the applicant:

  • legal wife;
  • legal children - a birth child or legally adopted child; and 
  • near relatives - the applicant must establish proof of their relationship. 

A list of documents required for the application of a dependent pass is set out in Appendix B to this updater. 

Fee: The applicable fee for a dependant pass is USD 550.

Appendix A 

The documents required

The following is a list of the documents required for the application for the Permits: 

  1. Duly filled online application;
  2. Application letter;
  3. A copy of the applicant’s passport (with a validity of not less than six months);
  4. National passport of dependants;
  5. Passport size photograph;
  6. Curriculum vitae of the employee;
  7. The company statutory documents - memorandum and articles of association or extract from registrar showing company shareholders, share distribution and nominal capital of the company, certificate of incorporation or certificate compliance or business name registration or certificate of change of name, valid business licence, certificate of registration for TIN, valid tax clearance certificate and lease agreement or certificate of occupancy;
  8. Sectoral approvals/permits/registrations (where applicable) i.e., TMDA, TBS, ERB, NBAA, TCAA, CRB, LATRA, TIC, EPZA, TASAC, Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Mining Commission, etc.;
  9. Evidence of capital and financial statement for replacement;
  10. Current directors and shareholders of a new company from BRELA/ZBPRA;
  11. Current immigration status of an applicant;
  12. Employment contract;
  13. Job description for the expatriate/employee;
  14. Certified copies of the academic certificates;
  15. Official translation of documents/certificates in case they are written in languages other than English or Swahili;
  16. Previous original Class A permit (in case of renewal or replacement);
  17. Letter of no objection (if the application has shifted from another company);
  18. Physical Verification Visit Report (PVV) where necessary;
  19. Enrolment process; and
  20. Any other documents or requirements as may be directed by the Commissioner General of Immigration.

Appendix B

Requirements for dependant pass

  1. Security bond form attached with stamp duty worth TZS 500 from Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA);
  2. Copy of the applicant’s valid passport;
  3. Passport copy of dependent;
  4. A soft copy of passport size photograph;
  5. Copy of marriage certificate if wife is dependent;
  6. Copy of birth certificate if dependent is a child;
  7. Copy of birth certificate if dependent is a parent (mother/father) of the applicant;
  8. If the applicant is not a Tanzanian citizen but a resident, either of the following resident permits should be attached depending on the immigration status of the applicant (exemption certificate, resident permit class A, B or C); and
  9. Any other documents or requirements as may be directed by the Commissioner General of Immigration.

If you have any questions about the work and residence permit application process for investors and other foreign nationals in Tanzania, please contact us. 


Stay up to date with Clyde & Co

Sign up to receive email updates straight to your inbox!

You might be interested in...