Egypt: Obtaining And Renewing Work Permits For Foreigners

Last Updated: 22 October 2019
Article by Dahlia Hakim
Most Read Contributor in Egypt, November 2019

Many foreigners and companies are facing many issues in obtaining work permit due to the complicated process of receiving work permit in Egypt and involvement of numerous authorities.

However, the Investment service center at the General Authority for Investment and Free zones ("GAFI") provides a service for obtaining the work permit for the foreign investors by which it considers the commencement date of the work permit is the date on which the security check application was submitted.

We will shed the light on the main requirements, documents required for extracting a work permit for shareholders foreigners (Companies governed by the New Investment Law No. 72 of 2017 and the Companies Law No.159 of 1981), representative offices and foreign branches, as follows:

First: Obtaining Work permits for Foreigners

(1) - Carrying out procedures in connection with obtaining work permits for foreigners who are shareholders and/or employees in the companies governed and established by the Investment Law:

(a)- Scope of application

The below mentioned requirements apply on:

  • Joint Stock Companies in connection for the chairman of board of directors, the members of board of directors and the managing director;
  • Limited partnership and partnership companies in connection for the active partners;
  • Limited Liability Companies in connection for the company's directors;
  • Partnership limited with shares Companies in connection for the active partner, director and/or the responsible manager.
  • One person Company in connection with the owner.

(b)- Required Documents

  1. A request addressed to the Head of the Investment Services Sector providing the data of foreigners whose work permits are requested to be obtained.
  2. The original passport together with a photocopy thereof in which entry visa is cited (the photocopy must be matched against the original passport.
  3. A recent extract of the company's commercial register or a data statement issued in not more than 14 days; and it must state (the applicant name, nationality, capacity, authorities, and issued capital).
  4. A bank deposit certification for the companies that do not proceed in running its businesses/projects within one year from its date of establishment.
  5. An Official power of attorney executed at the Notary Public Office by the Board of Directors chairman or whoever authorized to sign on behalf of the company. The said power of attorney must include a stipulation to the effect that the attorney be entitled to act before the governmental authorities. The power of attorney may be replaced by an authorization made by the foreign manager following signature being attested to be valid by a bank.
  6. A CD recording all the above mentioned documents.

(2)- Carrying out procedures in connection with obtaining work permits for foreigners who are shareholders and/or employees in the companies governed and established by the Companies Law No.159 of 1981:

(a)- Scope of application

The below mentioned requirements apply on the foreign shareholders, partners, the chairman of Board of Directors, the managing directors, general managers and experienced foreign employees.

(b)- Required documents

  1. A request addressed to the Head of the Investment Services Sector providing the data of foreigners whose work permits are requested to be obtained.
  2. A recent original copy of the commercial registry according to the last formation of the board of directors or general managers, or a recent certificate of data in case that the company does not established yet.
  3. A list of shareholders or partners approved according to the last capital amendment.
  4. The original passport together with a photocopy thereof in which entry visa is cited (the photocopy must be matched against the original passport.
  5. An Official power of attorney executed at the Notary Public Office by the Board of Directors chairman or whomever authorized to sign on behalf of the company. The said power of attorney must include a stipulation to the effect that the attorney be entitled to act before the governmental authorities. The power of attorney may be replaced by an authorization made by the foreign manager following signature being attested to be valid by a bank.
  6. A company's bylaws/gazette or a photocopy of the notarized contract in case of new incorporation.
  7. A CD recording all the above mentioned documents.

It is worth to mention that in case that more than ONE year has been passed without proceeding in the company's project/ businesses, documents proving the seriousness on having a project in Egypt such as: lease contract, documents related to issuing social insurance coverage over the employees, Tax statements, purchase invoices, operating license...etc. shall be submitted. It should be noted that the required documents of seriousness differ from time to time as decided by the GAFI.

Also, it should be noted that the number of work permits allowed to be granted to the foreigners depends on the kind of the company and the amount of the paid up capital, as follows:

  1. In the Joint Stock Companies and on a condition that the foreigner is one of the board of directors or one the company's shareholders, the number of the work permits depends on the amount of the paid up capital, as follows:

    1. In case that the Paid up capital is 35000 USD, one foreigner ONLY allowed to be granted a Work Permit.
    2. In case that the Paid up capital is 50000 USD, three foreigners ONLY allowed to be granted a Work Permit.
    3. In case that the Paid up capital is 100000 USD, six foreigners ONLY allowed to be granted a Work Permit.
  2. In the Limited Liability Companies and on a condition that the foreigner is one of the Company's managers or one the company's partners, the number of the work permits depends on the amount of the paid up capital, as follows:

    1. In case that the Paid up capital is 35000 USD, one foreigner ONLY allowed to be granted a Work Permit.
    2. In case that the Paid up capital is 50000 USD, three foreigners ONLY allowed to be granted a Work Permit.
    3. In case that the Paid up capital is 100000 USD, six foreigners ONLY allowed to be granted a Work Permit.
  3. In the One Person Companies and on a condition that the owner is a natural person, the number of the work permits depends on the amount of the paid up capital, as follows:

    1. In case that the Paid up capital is 35000 USD, one foreigner ONLY allowed to be granted a Work Permit.
    2. In case that the Paid up capital is 50000 USD, two foreigners ONLY allowed to be granted a Work Permit.
    3. In case that the Paid up capital is 100000 USD, three foreigners ONLY allowed to be granted a Work Permit on a condition that one of them is the company's owner.

(3)- Carrying out procedures in connection with obtaining work permits for foreign branches.

  • A request addressed to the Head of the Investment Services Center evidencing the data of the manager (i.e. Name, Nationality, Capacity and work permit serial number), such request must be duly signed and bear the company's seal.
  • The original passport, together with a photocopy thereof, evidencing the data on which the manager has arrived to Egypt.
  • A recent commercial registry of the branch or a certificate of data on the branch to be obtained from the commercial register department at GAFI.
  • An Official power of attorney executed at the Notary Public Office. The said power of attorney must include a stipulation to the effect that the attorney be entitled to act before the governmental authorities.
  • A seal from the central security department evidencing that the background check forms have been received.

(4)- Carrying out procedures in connection with obtaining work permits for foreign representative offices

  • A request addressed to the Head of the Investment Services Center evidencing the data of the foreign manager/worker (i.e. the representative office name, address, the foreigner's name, passport number, job, academic qualifications, license number, nationality, and work permit serial number), such request must be duly signed and bear the office's seal.
  • The original passport, together with a photocopy thereof, evidencing the data on which the foreigner has arrived to Egypt.
  • An Official power of attorney executed at the Notary Public Office. The said power of attorney must include a stipulation to the effect that the attorney be entitled to act before the governmental authorities. The power of attorney may be replaced by an authorization made by the foreign manager following signature being attested to be valid by a bank.
  • A recent statement comprising the data of the office's employees including their nationalities and jobs.
  • A photocopy of the registration certificate of the representative office.
  • A photocopy of the business engaged in by the office to the parent company abroad.
  • A certified authenticated copy of the resolution of the parent company regarding the appointment of the foreigner, in addition to an Arabic translation thereof, or the decision of the office manager in case that the employees are appointed by virtue of an authorization.

Second: Renewing the work permits for foreigners

We have to differentiate between three cases, as follows:

(1)- Renewing work permits for foreign branches

If you are renewing a work permit for a manager at a foreign company branch, the required documents are as follows:

  • A request addressed to the Head of the Investment Services Center evidencing the data of the manager (i.e. Name, Nationality, Capacity and work permit serial number), such request must be duly signed and bear the company's seal.
  • The original passport, together with a photocopy thereof, evidencing the data on which the manager has arrived to Egypt.
  • A photocopy of the front and back of the previous work permit.
  • A recent commercial registry of the branch or a certificate of data on the branch to be obtained from the commercial register department at GAFI.
  • An Official power of attorney executed at the Notary Public Office. The said power of attorney must include a stipulation to the effect that the attorney be entitled to act before the governmental authorities. The power of attorney may be replaced by an authorization made by the foreign manager following signature being attested to be valid by a bank.

(2)- Renewing work permits for foreign representative offices

If you are renewing a work permit for a manager at a foreign representative office, the required documents are as follows:

  • A request addressed to the Head of the Investment Services Center evidencing the data of the foreign manager/worker (i.e. the representative office name, address, the foreigner's name, passport number, job, academic qualifications, license number, nationality, and work permit serial number), such request must be duly signed and bear the office's seal.
  • The original passport, together with a photocopy thereof, evidencing the data on which the foreigner has arrived to Egypt.
  • An Official power of attorney executed at the Notary Public Office. The said power of attorney must include a stipulation to the effect that the attorney be entitled to act before the governmental authorities. The power of attorney may be replaced by an authorization made by the foreign manager following signature being attested to be valid by a bank.
  • A photocopy of the front and back of the previous work permit.
  • A recent statement comprising the data of the office's employees including their nationalities and jobs.
  • A photocopy of the registration certificate of the representative office.
  • A photocopy of the business engaged in by the office to the parent company abroad.

(3)- Renewing work permits for foreign shareholders

a- If you are renewing a work permit for a foreign shareholder of a company established under Egypt's Investment Law, the following is required:

  • A request printed out on the company letterhead, addressed to the head of the Investment Services Center, duly signed, bearing the company's seal and evidencing the data of the foreigners whose work permits are requested to be renewed (i.e. name, nationality, passport number, and work permit serial number).
  • The original passport together with a photocopy thereof in which the previous residence is cited.
  • The original work permit along with copy of its front and back.
  • A photocopy of the social insurance application form (2) for the current year (to be submitted once per year).
  • The requests of the companies operating under the free zones system must be attached to the letter of the relevant free zone.
  • An Official power of attorney executed at the Notary Public Office. The said power of attorney must include a stipulation to the effect that the attorney be entitled to act before the governmental authorities.

b- If you are renewing a work permit for a foreign shareholder of a company established under the Companies Law, the following is required:

  • A request printed out on the company letterhead, addressed to the head of the Investment Services Center, duly signed, bearing the company's seal and evidencing the data of the foreigners whose work permits are requested to be renewed (i.e. name, nationality, passport number, and work permit serial number).
  • The original passport together with a photocopy thereof in which the previous residence is cited.
  • The original work permit along with copy of its front and back.
  • An Official power of attorney executed at the Notary Public Office. The said power of attorney must include a stipulation to the effect that the attorney be entitled to act before the governmental authorities.
  • A list by the shareholders or partners approved according to the last capital amendment.
  • The company's bylaws and a photocopy of its notarized contract (in case of new incorporation).
  • A recent extract of the commercial registry according to the last formation of the BoD or general managers, or a recent certificate of data.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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