Tanzania work permits and visas

Tanzania work permits and visas
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Tanzania is a large East African country with a vibrant online sector and an emerging information and communications technology sector. The country’s population has been steadily growing in recent years, and in conjunction with the population growth has come economic growth and a notable decrease in the country’s poverty rates.

For these reasons, Tanzania has become an attractive country for companies to hire and employees to relocate to. However, employers and employees must learn to navigate the challenges of remote international employment together to ensure the working agreement is mutually beneficial and conforms to local employment laws.

When an employee or candidate plans to live in or move to a new country, it is the responsibility of both the employee and employer to ensure the correct work visas and permits are obtained, as both parties may be held accountable if complications arise.

This article will provide an overview of the types of Tanzania work visas that are available, how to obtain a work permit in Tanzania, and all the relevant Tanzania visa requirements of which you should be aware when moving to or hiring a candidate in the country.  

Types of work permits in Tanzania

Navigating the many aspects of Tanzania immigration can be complicated, but one of the primary considerations when working or employing in the country is obtaining the correct Tanzania work permits.

Tanzania has several work permits, and the one you obtain will depend on the work you plan to do while living there. There are three classes of work permits in Tanzania that are issued to individuals who plan to live and work in the country; assess which of the following you will need to apply for:

  • Class A. These work permits are reserved for foreign individuals in Tanzania investing in local economies. This includes industries such as forestry, business, mining, and more.
  • Class B. This work permit class is intended for foreign individuals offered highly skilled positions at companies in Tanzania. This includes professions such as doctors, accountants, teachers, engineers, and more.
  • Class C. A work permit in this class is issued for individuals working or volunteering outside the typical work sector. Class C work permits are issued to students, individuals traveling to Tanzania for missionary or other volunteer purposes, foreign individuals working on projects for the local government, and other specialized cases.

Because Class A and Class C permits are issued to individuals outside the typical workforce, most standard employees will need to apply for a Class B work permit when relocating to Tanzania.

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Types of work visas in Tanzania

Tanzania has numerous types of visas that individuals entering the country for business and leisure can apply for. The following is a complete list of Tanzania visas:

  • Transit visa
  • Ordinary visa (also called a single entry visa)
  • Multiple entry visa
  • Student visa
  • Business visa
  • Gratis visa

Of the above visa types, only individuals holding a multiple entry, business, or gratis visa are permitted to work while staying in Tanzania. The guidelines for each of these visas are outlined below:

  • A business visa is a short-term visa for individuals traveling to Tanzania for work. The business visa is only valid for 90 days.
  • A multiple-entry visa is a longer-term visa that allows individuals to come to Tanzania for work several times over a year. A multiple-entry visa is valid for 12 months, but the visa holder can only enter the country for three months at a time. This visa isn't intended for individuals who wish to reside in Tanzania long-term but for those whose business needs require regular visits to the country.
  • A gratis visa is a unique work visa reserved for individuals whose work falls under the governmental or diplomatic umbrella. These visa holders can enter the country multiple times while their visa is valid.

Requirements for Tanzania work permits and visas

Each Tanzania work visa and permit has specific requirements. Therefore, you will be expected to complete the appropriate documentation and ensure you meet the Tanzania visa requirements for the specific permit or visa you're applying for.

Keep in mind that the types of work permits and visas you are granted will dictate how long you will be able to live and work in Tanzania. Some Tanzania work visas only allow short-term residence, so employers must consider potential complications and risk factors like employee relocation and limited-term employment.

Although the specific Tanzania immigration requirements vary, the list below provides a comprehensive overview of the maximum requirements individuals will need to meet when applying for work permits and visas in Tanzania:

  • Completed permit or visa application form
  • Permit or visa fee
  • A valid employment contract (some visas require proof that the employment contract is limited-term with a specific end date)
  • A job description detailing the duties you will be performing
  • Up to five passport-sized photographs
  • A valid passport that is more than six months from its expiration date as well as a photocopy of the passport
  • A completed security bond
  • A valid government document indicating the individual is entering Tanzania on official government business
  • Relevant company documents, including but not limited to:
  • A valid certificate of incorporation or document proving the company is legally entitled to operate in Tanzania
  • The company's tax identification number (TIN)
  • The company's value-added tax (VAT) number
  • Relevant certifications and licenses when entering the country to perform specific duties (e.g., a medical professional will need to prove they are qualified and legally entitled to perform the job they're being hired to do)
  • When renewing a work permit, you will also need your original issued work permit

Ensuring you meet all the minimum requirements for the work permits and visas you're applying for can be an undertaking. Still, it's essential to gather the necessary documents ahead of time to avoid unnecessary delays in receiving your work entitlements.

Note: For individuals whose native language is not English or Swahili, all documents included in your application should include two copies to meet the minimum Tanzania visa requirements: one in your native language, the other officially translated into English or Swahili.

How to apply for Tanzania work permits and visas

Applying for Tanzania work permits and visas is a relatively straightforward procedure. However, contacting your local Tanzanian embassy is recommended to ensure you meet the requirements to receive your visa or permit and successfully navigate the Tanzania immigration process the first time.

You can go about applying for your Tanzania work permits in one of two ways:

  • Through your local embassy. Fill out the necessary visa and permit applications and deliver the relevant required documents to your local embassy. They will then apply for work permits or visas on your behalf.
  • Directly with the Tanzania immigration department through their online application system. To complete a work permit application, you will need to use the government's Online Work Permit Application and Issuance System (OWAIS). Likewise, to complete a visa application, you will need to use the government's online visa application portal.

Below are the steps you will need to complete when applying for a work permit or visa online:

  1. Create an account with the relevant website. Note that the work permit site differs from the work visa site.
  • Be sure to use a secure password you will remember and an email address that you frequently check to ensure you can regularly monitor the status of your application.
  • You may be required to provide company information to register your account successfully.
  1. Scan all the documents required for your visa or work permit application and upload them to your account (e.g., a copy of your passport, an employment contract, a job description, etc.).
  2. Fill out the relevant visa or work permit application.
  3. Complete your visa or work permit application and submit it to the relevant Tanzanian governing body by pressing the "submit" button.
  4. You will receive updates about the status of your application via email, or you can check your application status online.

Note: Each visa and work application has an associated fee you will be expected to pay when applying.

How long does it take to get a work permit in Tanzania?

The permitting process in Tanzania may vary based on a variety of factors, including your country of origin, the type of permit for which you're applying, and any missing or incorrect information on your permit application. However, you can expect it to take up to two months to receive your work permit once you've applied and successfully submitted all the necessary documentation.

While this may seem like a long process, remember that Tanzania work permits are valid for up to two years, and foreigners can renew work permits in the country for up to 60 months.

Planning to hire or work in Tanzania? Here's how Skuad can help

Working is no longer a local proposition, and with the help of online staffing agencies, recruiters, and more, candidates and employers are partnering all over the world with more regularity.

Whether you're looking to hire a candidate living in Tanzania or are currently living or relocating to the country and looking for work, Skuad can help make international hiring a reality.

With Skuad's global employment solutions, you can easily hire and handle every aspect of Tanzania employee management, empowering employees to live and work wherever they choose.

Tanzania work permits and visa FAQs

How do I get a work permit in Tanzania?

There are two methods through which you can apply for a work permit in Tanzania:

How much is a Tanzania work permit?

The cost of a work permit in Tanzania depends on the type of permit. The rates for Tanzania work permits are as follows:

  • Class A: The initial cost for a Class A permit is $2,000. The initial permit lasts two years and can be renewed for $2,000.
  • Class B: The initial cost for a Class B permit is $1,500. You can renew a Class B permit for $1,500.
  • Class C: The initial cost for a Class C permit is $500. You can renew a Class C permit for $500.

How long does it take to get a work permit in Tanzania?

The time it takes to get a work permit in Tanzania may vary, but it can take up to two months.

While the application process may not take this long, depending on factors like your country of origin, the type of work permit you’re applying for, and the correctness of your application, you should prepare for the process to take this long.

How can I live and work in Tanzania?

To live and work in Tanzania, you will need two documents:

  • A visa. Which visa you get will depend on multiple factors, including your country of origin and what you plan to do while staying in Tanzania. It will also determine how long you can stay in the country.
  • A work permit. The work permit you obtain will be determined based on factors like the work you’ll conduct while living in Tanzania.

How long can U.S. citizens stay in Tanzania?

How long you can stay in Tanzania as a U.S. citizen depends on the visa type you’re granted. To live and work in Tanzania, you must have both a valid work permit and a visa.

U.S. citizens are eligible for a multiple-entry visa, which is valid for 12 months. While this visa allows an individual to remain in Tanzania for a year, you will still need to leave the country occasionally to abide by the terms of the visa.

With a multiple-entry visa, the visa holder must leave Tanzania every three months, meaning American citizens can only stay in Tanzania for up to 90 days consecutively.

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