Special Passes In Mainland Tanzania

For a foreign investor to enter and stay in Tanzania, the immigration laws require that the individual should have among other things, a passport/travel document and a Work and Residence Permit or Certificate of Exemption issued by the labor and is immigration departments of Tanzania.


Section 16(2) of the Immigration Act clearly states that;

"...no person shall for gain or reward engage in any trade, business, profession or other occupation except in accordance with the terms of an appropriate permit..."


The legal requirement is that, the person should first have obtained the Work and Residence permit before coming into the country. However, in most cases the processes of obtaining the permits are done once or after the person has entered the country. Typically, in order to get a work and residence permit, company, tax clearances and business licenses need to be obtained and most stakeholders would rather be in the country to sort this out than outside.


Furthermore, because of the long process in obtaining residence permits and the need for investors to "get on with business", most are already in country setting up the operations and negotiating partnerships so that when permits arrive, they can already be operational instead of using up more time. It is in such circumstances were Special Passes come into play, which are temporary passes that are issued to a foreigner who is in the country and is in the process of obtaining his or her Work and Residence permits. The role of Special Passes is to allow the person to stay in the country for a period of 60 days (2 months) while processing permits and setting up his or her business affairs. It does not allow one to work for gain.


Special passes are not permits per se, but they merely give investors temporary immigration status for a specific period and are issued upon proof that the individual applying for the special pass is processing his/her work and residence permits.

That being the case, special passes can be obtained only where the person is in the country and are valid for as long as the individual is in the country. The duration of validity of a special pass is 60 days and once the bearer of the special pass leaves the country before the expiry of the 60 days, the special pass ceases to exist. In other words, special pass does not give re-entry rights to the person, it only allows him to stay in the country for the 60 days without having a residence permit.