In the context we intend to discuss here, the DIRE (residence permit) is a document issued to foreign nationals who have a work permit, so that they can legally reside in the Republic of Mozambique. An employment contract duly approved by the labor authorities is one of the basic preconditions for the issuing of a work permit, which is currently also a sine qua non condition for the issuing of a DIRE, so it is recommended that an employment contract with the foreign employee, as defined above, is signed before the foreigner enters Mozambique.
Foreign citizens who reside or are in the country enjoy the same rights and guarantees and are subject to the same obligations as Mozambican citizens, pursuant to paragraph 1 of Article 4 of Law 5/93.
I.2 Requirements for obtaining a DIRE
The requirements for obtaining a DIRE are set out in paragraph 1 of Article 3 of Decree 108/2014, which approves the Regulation Establishing the Legal Framework Applicable to Foreign Nationals regarding their entry into, stay in and departure from the country.These requirements are:
- Application letter ;
- Passport, original and photocopy;
- Photocopy of residence visa;
- Three passport photographs;
- Proof of means of subsistence;
- Operating license (alvará) in the case of business people or company representatives;
- Tax quit claim certificate;
- Police report (criminal record);
- Other documents that the applicant deems appropriate.
Usually it is an additional requirement that the applicant is present at the time of submission of the application. The application for a residence permit can cover spouses, minors and other dependents provided that the applicant submits a liability waiver.
The letters submitted with the application must include notarized signatures, and, in the case of letters provided by a company or other entity, a copy of the power of attorney or other document empowering the signatory to represent the institution may be required by the authorities. These require- ments are not established by law, but in practice they are often demanded by those receiving the application.
However, we would like to express our opinion when it comes to residence permit application letters with original signatures and company stamps. We believe that notarized signatures should not be required because firstly this requirement is not required by law and secondly the presentation of an original document dispenses the need to notarize the document as this procedure is only required when photocopies and not originals are submit- ted. It is worth mentioning that this requirement makes the process of obtaining a DIRE more bureaucratic and expensive for people who want to reside in Mozambique.
On application for the DIRE a payment is made in the amount set out in Annexes 1 and 3 of Ministerial Decree 262/2010, ranging from 19,200.00 MT to 22,200.00 MT, depending on whether the DIRE applied for is temporary, interim, permanent or lifetime, except for citizens of the Commonwealth of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP) where the value is 14. 400.00 MT regardless the DIRE type.
I.3 Types of residence authorized
The Law establishes the following types of residence:
- Interim Residence - issued on application to a foreigner staying in Mozam- bique for more than 90 days and less than five years;
- Temporary Residence - issued on application to a foreign citizen who has had interim residence for more than five years; and
- Permanent Residence - issued on application to a foreigner who has had temporary residence for over 10 years (consecutively). Both interim and temporary residence permits are valid for one year and are renewable for the same period. The difference is that temporary residence permits the subsequent application for a permanent residence authorization. The permanent residence permit is valid for five years and is renewable for the same period as long as the reasons for granting it remain valid. However, there is also the possibility of obtaining a permanent lifetime residence if the conditions for this are met.
I.4 Cancellation of DIRE
The residence permit is cancelled in the following cases:
- Absence from the country for a period longer than that established by law for each type of DIRE;
- In the case of deportation or declaration that the bearer is persona non grata;
- Non-renewal; and
- Whenever facts are established that would have prevented the concession of the permit had they been known by the relevant authorities at the time.
Regardless of type of DIRE, if the foreign national DIRE-holder wants to leave the country for a period longer than that established by law, they should seek advice in order to ensure that their document is not cancelled by virtue of having remained outside Mozambique for longer than legally allowed.
It should also be noted that, pursuant to paragraph 2 of Article 32 of the Mozambican Labor Law, when the employment contract ends, workers with temporary residence (i.e. bearers of interim and temporary DIREs) may not stay in Mozambique, unless the contract has expired and the same employer that applied for the DIRE on behalf of the worker wishes to renew the contract.
The application for a DIRE is complex as it first involves obtaining a residence / work visa. The DIRE is issued by the Immigration Service and gives the bearer the right to identify himself in Mozambique, and should be shown to any authority that requests it. It also confers the right to remain in Mozam- bique, unless any legal fact gives rise to its cancellation and DIRE-holders should be well acquainted with these facts, for example, those seeking to obtain a permanent DIRE in the future must ensure that no situation arises which interrupts the legally established time period which must elapse before the issuing of such a DIRE.