General framework


What primary and secondary legislation governs immigration in your jurisdiction?

The primary legislation governing immigration in Tanzania is the Non-Citizens (Employment Regulation) Act 2015 (the Act). Secondary legislation constitutes the Immigration Act 1995, the Immigration (Visa) Regulations 2016 and the Immigration (Amendment) Regulations 2016.

International agreements

Has your jurisdiction concluded any international agreements affecting immigration (eg, free trade agreements or free movement accords)?

Tanzania is a party to the East Africa Community Treaty, which, among other things, provides for the free movement of persons. However, under Annex I (the East African Community Common Market (Free Movement of Persons) Regulations), a citizen of one member state who seeks to enter or exit the territory of another member state must comply with the national laws of that member state and must comply with the established immigration procedures. This means provision of the Treaty does not change the immigration procedures, as an individual is required to comply with the local laws of the member state.

Regulatory authorities

Which government authorities regulate immigration and what is the extent of their enforcement powers? Can the decisions of these authorities be appealed?

The government authorities that regulate immigration are the Labour Commissioner under the Ministry of Labour, Youth, Employment and Persons with Disability (the Commissioner), and the Commissioner of Immigration Services under the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Government policy

In broad terms what is your government’s policy towards business immigration?

For a long time, Tanzania did not have a business immigration policy, although labour and immigration matters for non-citizens had been heavily regulated by fragmented laws and regulations since the mid-1990s.

However, in 2015, Tanzania passed the Act, which seeks to regulate employment of non-citizens and simplify the process for application and issuance of work permits under the immigration regime. The Act further seeks to centralise powers for issuing work permits with the Commissioner, as opposed to the previous position where the Commissioner’s role was to recommend to the Director of Immigration Services who issued the permits.

Generally, Tanzania invites foreigners to invest in the country and share their skills and knowledge with local people. A good example of such laws is the Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) Act that entitles investors registered under it to an initial automatic immigrant quota of up to five persons during the start-up period of investment in Tanzania.

The overall objective of immigration law is to ensure that a non-citizen who will be employed or engaged to work in Tanzania holds qualifications, knowledge and skills required for the performance of the job for which the permit is issued and, further, that the laws restrict the hiring of expatriate employees to job positions for which there are local experts. Therefore, the Commissioner must be satisfied that every possible effort has been made to find a local expert prior to approving an application for a work permit.

The Act also requires an employer intending to employ or engage a non-citizen in employment or any other occupation to prepare a well-articulated succession plan of the non-citizen’s knowledge or expertise for citizens during his or her tenure of employment. This person will also be required to establish an effective training programme to train Tanzanians to undertake the duties of the non-citizen expert. This is a new statutory requirement that was not previously specifically needed under the Immigration Act and its regulations.

Short-term transfers


In what circumstances is a visa necessary for short-term travellers? How are short-term visas obtained?

A business visa or pass has become a temporary immigration solution designed to allow applicants to engage in a range of business-related activities, including attending meetings and business conferences and research activities. For leisure activities, a tourist visa may be used. These visas and passes are issued at either the Tanzanian embassy or consulate in the traveller’s home country or at the entry point (airports) at a cost of US$250 for the business visa, US$200 for the business pass and US$50 for the tourist visa, for a single stay that does not exceed 90 days.

An applicant can also obtain a multiple-entry visa at either the entry point or the Tanzanian embassy in his or her home country for US$100. The visa is valid for six or 12 months, but a single stay in Tanzania cannot exceed 90 days.


What are the main restrictions on a business visitor?

A short-term business visa does not constitute a work permit or employment visa and does not entitle the holder to work in Tanzania either in paid or unpaid employment. The visa expires as soon as the holder leaves the country, even before the expiry of 90 days, unless it has multiple-entry status.

Short-term training

Is work authorisation or immigration permission needed to give or receive short-term training?

Yes. A traveller is required to obtain a business visa or pass at the entry point.


Are transit visas required to travel through your country? How are these obtained? Are they only required for certain nationals?

Transit visas are required for a person of any nationality (except countries that do not require a visa to enter Tanzania) who intends to pass through Tanzania to another destination for a period not exceeding 14 days, provided that such a person has an onward ticket, sufficient funds for subsistence while in Tanzania and an entry visa to the country of destination. This visa can be obtained from entry points, such as airports, and from Tanzanian missions abroad.

Visa waivers and fast-track entry

Are any visa waiver or fast-track entry programmes available?

Nationals of some countries do not require a visa when visiting Tanzania. This includes Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Cyprus, Dominica, the Falkland Islands, Gambia, Grenada, Guyana, Hong Kong, Jamaica, Kenya, Kiribati, Lesotho, Malawi, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nauru, Niue Island, Papua New Guinea, Romania, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Samoa, Singapore, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, Uganda, Vanuatu, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Additionally, employees of governments, agencies or organisations engaged in special developmental or humanitarian projects in Tanzania are required to apply and obtain work and residence permit exemption through the respective ministry or agency, rather than through the standard channels.

Envoys, consular officers, consular employees or other representatives of the government of a foreign state accredited to Tanzania, and their family members and domestic staff, do not need to apply for work and residence permits.

Long-term transfers


What are the main work and business permit categories used by companies to transfer skilled staff?

These are work and residence permits.

For short-term employment of between three and six months, a six-month short-term work permit is issued.

For long assignments of between six months and two years, the following permits are available:

  • work permit Class B for non-citizens in possession of prescribed professional qualifications, such as medical and healthcare professionals, teachers in science and mathematics subjects and university professors;
  • work permit Class C for any other profession;
  • work permit Class D for non-citizens engaged in registered religious and charitable activities; and
  • residence permit Class B.

What are the procedures for obtaining these permissions? At what stage can work begin?

An applicant must first apply for a work permit from the Commissioner, whose role is to evaluate the application to ensure that a non-citizen who will be employed in Tanzania holds qualifications, knowledge and skills required for the performance of the job for which the permit is being applied and, further, that such skills are rare or unavailable in the local labour market. The applicant will be issued with a work permit.

Upon procuring the work permit, application must be made to the Immigration Department for a residence permit. The Immigration Department will again review the application and, in the absence of any objection (mostly security-based), will issue a residence permit.

A person should apply for both work and residence permits while outside Tanzania and cannot start working in the country unless both permits have been obtained. Applications for residence permits are made through an online platform, with no need to physically visit immigration offices. Work permits applications are still done manually, although the form is filled online.

Period of stay

What are the general maximum (and minimum) periods of stay granted under the main categories for company transfers?

A work permit (Class B or C) and a residence permit (Class B) are valid for 24 months, and can be renewed for up to a maximum total of 60 months. They can be extended if the investment is of ‘great value’ to the nation. However, the new Non-Citizens Regulations, which came into force in February 2017, provide an exemption that allows a work permit granted to an employer hiring a non-citizen who has been legally married to a Tanzanian for at least three years, to be extended to a period of more than 60 months.

Processing time

How long does it typically take to process the main categories?

It takes up to two months after the application is lodged through the Labour Commission and the Immigration Department to obtain the permits.

Staff benefits

Is it necessary to obtain any benefits or facilities for staff to secure a work permit?


Assessment criteria

Do the immigration authorities follow objective criteria, or do they exercise discretion according to subjective criteria?

The immigration authorities follow objective criteria when issuing permits, such as that the applicant holds qualifications, knowledge and skills required for the performance of the job, and that such skills are rare or unavailable in the local labour market.

High net worth individuals and investors

Is there a special route for high net worth individuals or investors?

Yes. Foreigners who come to Tanzania as investors are eligible for work and residence permits Class A, which are valid for two years and can be renewed for another term of 10 years or more depending on whether the investment is of great value to the nation.

Further, TIC investors are entitled to an initial automatic immigrant quota of up to five persons on Class B or C work and residence permits during the start-up period of the investment in Tanzania.

Is there a special route (including fast track) for high net worth individuals for a residence permission route into your jurisdiction?

Foreigners who come to Tanzania as investors are eligible for work and residence permits Class A, which are valid for two years and can be renewed for another term of 10 years or more depending on whether the investment is of great value to the nation.

Further, TIC investors are entitled to an initial automatic immigrant quota of up to five persons on Class B or C work and residence permits during the start-up period of the investment in Tanzania.

Highly skilled individuals

Is there a special route for highly skilled individuals?

A work permit Class B is available for non-citizens in possession of prescribed professional qualifications such as medical and healthcare professionals, teachers in science and mathematics subjects, and university professors.

Ancestry and descent

Is there a special route for foreign nationals based on ancestry or descent?

Any person born outside Tanzania on or after Union Day (26 April 1964) is deemed to be a citizen of Tanzania by descent if one of his or her parents is a citizen of Tanzania by birth or naturalisation.

Minimum salary

Is there a minimum salary requirement for the main categories for company transfers?

There is no minimum salary requirement in Tanzania. However, the salary should not be below the minimum monthly salary as announced by the government at that particular time for a particular sector.

Resident labour market test

Is there a quota system or resident labour market test?

No. An employer must show the effort made to find a local employee in Tanzania to fill the vacant position before the foreigner is employed. The employer must submit a copy of the advertisement that was published for that particular position. However, the Act introduces bulk recruitment where an employer may employ many non-citizens in phases for execution of a specific project within a specified time. The Act further set a quota in cases of bulk recruitment (ie, work permits may be granted at a ratio of 10 local employees to one non-citizen employee). The Commissioner is now using the same quota in relation to all applications brought before him or her, whether for bulk recruitment or normal recruitment.

Shortage occupations

Is there a special route for shortage occupations?


Other eligibility requirements

Are there any other main eligibility requirements to qualify for work permission in your jurisdiction?

The main requirement to qualify for work permission in Tanzania is that the applicant must be at least 18 years old and holds qualifications, knowledge and skills required for the performance of the job, and that such skills are rare or unavailable in the local labour market.

Third-party contractors

What is the process for third-party contractors to obtain work permission?

The process for a third-party contractor is the same as for any other work and residence permit application. The third-party contractor can apply for the work permit (Class B or C) and residence permit (Class B) just like any other employee, provided that a contract between the subcontractor and an entity he or she works for in Tanzania is produced, and that the applicant will be sponsored by his or her client, which is a company incorporated or registered in Tanzania.

Recognition of foreign qualifications

Is an equivalency assessment or recognition of skills and qualifications required to obtain immigration permission?

Yes, the assessment and recognition of the skills and qualifications is of paramount importance before a permit is issued. This is done when the application is lodged at the Labour Commission.

Extensions and variations

Short-term to long-term status

Can a short-term visa be converted in-country into longer-term authorisations? If so, what is the process?

A short-term visa cannot be converted into a longer-term authorisation in Tanzania. If the holder of a short-term visa wishes a longer-term authorisation, he or she must make a fresh application to the relevant authorities.

Long-term extension

Can long-term immigration permission be extended?

Yes, as follows:

  • work and residence permits (Class B, C and D): valid for a period of 24 months from the date of issue and renewable provided that the total period of validity of the first grant and its renewals does not, in any event, exceed five years; and
  • Class A (for investors): the total period of validity of the 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.
Exit and re-entry

What are the rules on and implications of exit and re-entry for work permits?

A holder of work and residence permits in Tanzania is allowed to enter and exit Tanzania without any restrictions.

The Act introduces a provision to cancel a work permit within 90 days of issue if the holder of the work permit fails to enter Tanzania.

Permanent residency and citizenship

How can immigrants qualify for permanent residency or citizenship?

There is no permanent residency in Tanzania. Tanzanian citizenship is governed by the Tanzania Citizenship Act No. 6 of 1995 and the 1997 regulations made thereunder. A person can acquire Tanzanian citizenship by birth, lawful marriage, descent or naturalisation.

End of employment

Must immigration permission be cancelled at the end of employment in your jurisdiction?

The employer must notify the Commissioner within 14 days of the cessation of employment of a non-citizen employee.

Employee restrictions

Are there any specific restrictions on a holder of employment permission?

The holder of a work and residence permit in Tanzania is not allowed to change his or her employment status or immigration status. All expatriate staff must be working as per the designations stated in their work and residence permits. If an expatriate changes his or her status, the employer must notify the Commissioner and a fresh application for a work permit must be made. An expatriate will not be allowed to engage in the new role until both new permits are approved.



Who qualifies as a dependant?

A dependant (mostly wife and children) in Tanzania is a person who is related to the permit applicant. The applicant is required to produce a document that shows the existence of the relationship between him or her and the dependant, such as a marriage or birth certificate. However, the Immigration Act 1995 specifically provides that dependants shall be ‘the wife, child or near relative of the applicant and is dependent on the applicant for his or her maintenance’. This implies that a husband cannot be a dependant of his wife, although in practice this is now possible. Children who are 18 years and above and children who intend to attend school in Tanzania should apply for a Class C residence permit, which is issued to students.

The law in Tanzania does not recognise same-sex marriage, fiancées or any other type of relationship apart from formal marriage. Only a wife or husband within a formal marriage can be included as a dependant.

Conditions and restrictions

Are dependants automatically allowed to work or attend school?

Dependants are not allowed to work in Tanzania. Once a dependant secures employment in Tanzania, he or she must apply for a separate Class B or C permit. Dependants who are of school age (seven to 18 years) are required to apply for a separate Student Pass 2. A fee of US$100 is paid in respect of this pass. Where a dependant is a child of 18 years or above, he or she must acquire an independent permit: Dependant Pass 1. In the event that a dependant wants to work as a volunteer, he or she will need to obtain a Class D work permit and Class C residence permit sponsored by the organisation with which he or she will volunteer.

Access to social benefits

What social benefits are dependants entitled to?

None. Dependants must show that the main applicant can support them for the duration of their stay in Tanzania.

Other requirements, restrictions and penalties

Criminal convictions

Are prior criminal convictions a barrier to obtaining immigration permission?

No. However, there are times when the applicant will be required to produce a letter of good standing from his or her country of origin.

Penalties for non-compliance

What are the penalties for companies and individuals for non-compliance with immigration law? How are these applied in practice?

For failure to comply with the employment and immigration laws of Tanzania, a fine of not less than 10 million Tanzanian shillings or imprisonment for a term of not less than two years, or both, may be imposed on either or both the employer and the employee.

Language requirements

Are there any minimum language requirements for migrants?


Medical screening

Is medical screening required to obtain immigration permission?



Is there a specific procedure for employees on secondment to a client site in your jurisdiction?

The law does not recognise such procedures. However, if a non-citizen arrives in Tanzania to work at a client site, the client must issue the non-citizen with a proper contract to show that he or she will be working with the client while in Tanzania and that the client will sponsor the non-citizen and will take on all immigration responsibilities for the non-citizen. All other procedures will be the same as if the non-citizen were an employee of the client.

Update and trends

Key developments of the past year

Are there any emerging trends or hot topics in corporate immigration regulation in your jurisdiction?

Key developments of the past year40 Are there any emerging trends or hot topics in corporate immigration regulation in your jurisdiction?