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Legal Procedure and Information on Obtaining Iranian Work Permit and Business Visa

Guiding Principle

A foreign national may not be authorized to work in Iran, unless he obtains the entry visa with the right of working and work permit from the General Bureau of Aliens’ Occupation of Iran. Before the arrival of the foreign national in Iran, it is advisable that the employer of foreign national applies for the issuance of an entry visa with the right of working. Upon the issuance of the said visa and the arrival of the foreign national, the employer should apply for work permit within 7 days.

A. Introduction

With the exception of diplomatic and consular staff and accredited foreign correspondents, all foreigners working in Iran, such as the representative or the managing director of an Iranian company, experts carrying out a project in Iran and the employee of a company contracted by the Iranian government are in principle required to have a work permit.

The procedure begins before entry into the country with the application for the entry visa with the right of working. Whether or not the visa is granted depends on whether the sought-after profession is required in Iran, which is regularly only considered to be the case when there is a lack of appropriate skilled personnel in Iran.

B. The Iranian Laws and Regulation

The laws and regulations for obtaining a entry visa with the right of working and issuance of work permit of foreign nationals are as follows:

  1. IR-WPFN – On Obtaining Entry Visa with the Right of Working and Issuance, Extension and Renewal of Work Permits of Foreign Nationals, published in Official Gazette No.16938 dated April 26, 2003 (06.02.1382);
  2. IR-LL – Iranian Labour Law, published in Official Gazette No. 124356 dated 03.01.1990.

C. Applying for Entry Visa with the Right of Working

For obtaining the entry visa with the right of working and work permit, hereinafter the following procedures should be observed before the General Bureau of Aliens’ Occupation (abbrev. GBAO):

Before the arrival of the foreign national in Iran, the respective Iranian employer should apply for the issuance of a entry visa with the right of working before the GBAO located in the workplace of the foreign national. For
example, if the foreign national’s workplace is located in the city ofTehran, the application should be submitted to the GBAO at No. 8, Eastern-Sepand St., Nejat Allahi St. (Villa),Tehran.

The following documents shall be submitted for the issuance of the entry visa with the right of working:

  1. The written request of the employer for the issuance of an entry visa with the right of working
    bearing the authorized signature;
  2. Completing a copy of questionnaire regarding the Primarily Information of Employers (The form is available at GBAO);
  3. Completing three copies of the “Aliens’ Occupation Application Form” (The form is available at GBAO);
  4. Completing two copies of the questionnaire regarding Personal Information (The form is available at (GBAO);
  5. The photocopy of the announcement of company’s establishment and its recent changes published in the Official Gazette (Companies already having a record in the said Bureau have to attach the photocopy of the announcement concerning company’s recent changes as well).
  6. Any one who has married an Iranian national should submit the photocopy of the marriage license issued by the Ministry of Interior Affairs and/or one of the governor general offices of the country, ID card, marriage deed and they should present the original copy of ID card as well.
  7. Completing the questionnaire regarding Employer’s Obligation (The form is available at GBAO).

It should be noted that the foreign nationals entering Iran for installation and maintenance of equipment in private industries and factories or in ones which are under coverage of government should submit the following documents in addition to the above documentation:

  • A photocopy of the “Equipment Purchase Contract”;
  • A photocopy of the Equipment Clearance Certificate issued by the customs;
  • A copy of the Principled Agreement and/or Exploitation License.

The executive procedures for obtaining the entry visa with the right of working is As follow and may take up to three working weeks.

  1. The employer’s representative shall file the application form attached with all documents as stated above with the office concerned, have them checked and initialed after completed.
  2. The application shall be registered with the computer.
  3. The application shall be transmitted via the computer network to the concerned department.
  4. The expert must review the case and decide on the eligibility of each application. Those applications which require the approval of the Technical Board of GBAP must be forwarded to the Board for necessary approval.
  5. The form of entry visa with the right of working shall be issued and send to the Office of Management for sealing and signature.
  6. The Secretariat shall register and send the form of the entry visa with the right of working to the Consular Section of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or to the representative office of the above said Ministry in the Province.

It is advisable to submit the application for entry visa with the right of working by the Iranian employer before foreign national’s arrival to Iran. The request will be examined by the said Bureau and in case of approval, the entry visa with the right of working will be issued. Thereafter, the foreign national can enter Iran with the said visa and apply for a work permit from the said Bureau.

Nevertheless, it is possible for foreign nationals to enter Iran on a 15-day tourist visa, but without the authorization and permission to work based on Art. 120 IR-LL:

“Foreign nationals may not work in Iran unless they initially hold an entry visa with the right to engage in a specific job, and secondly obtain a work permit under relevant laws and by-laws.”

In order to be authorized to work in Iran, within 7 days after the foreign national’s arrival, the respective employer should apply for entry visa with the right of work before GBAO and upon obtaining the respective visa, the foreign national must exit Iran and enter into Iran again with the visa.

D. Applying for Work Permit

Work permit for foreign nationals shall be issued in the GBAO of their workplace.

Based on IR-WPFN, the employer is obliged to submit the required documents for the issuance of work permit to the GBAO within a maximum period of one (1) month starting from the date the foreign national arrives in the country. Any delay would be subject to provisions of Art. 181 IR-LL:

“Employers who employ foreign nationals without obtaining work permits or those whose work permits have expired, or assign to foreign nationals jobs other than those specified in their work permits, or fail to inform the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs cases where employment relationship of the foreign national with the employer has been terminated, shall be sentenced, in consideration of the conditions and possibilities of the offender and the degree of the offense, to a jail term ranging between 91 and 180 days.”

Moreover, based on IR-WPFN, the validity period of the entry visa with the right of working shall be three (3) months starting from the date it is notified by Provincial GBAO to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

However, according to GBAO, in practice the application for work permit should be submitted within 7 days after the foreign national’s arrival and the validity of the entry visa with the right of working is one (1) month.

The following documents shall be filed for obtaining the work permit for foreign nationals:

  • Written request of employer for the issuance of work permit of the concerned foreign national bearing employer’s authorized signature and stamp. (Those foreign national who have already had computerized identification code in the respective GBAO are obliged to mentioned the said code).
  • Completing three copies of the “Aliens’ Occupation Application Form”;
  • Completing two copies of the questionnaire regarding Personal Information;
  • The original copy of bank note amounting to 1,400,000 Rial deposited under name of Treasury General, account No. 132/66 with one of the branches of Iran Melli Bank.
  • Four 3×4-size photos bearing the personal information of foreign national on the back;
  • Presenting the original copy of foreign national’s passport and/or its photocopy certified by the police and/or the General Bureau of Labor and Social Affairs of province.
  • A photocopy of the required pages of passport (in case of not submitting the copies mentioned in para 6)
  • The academic and/or professional certification attested by the Embassy of Islamic Republic of Iran in the foreign national’s respecting country. (This para is subjected to those foreign nationals for whom the application of entry visa with the right of working has been requested for more than six month).

The Executive procedures for issuing work permit are as follows:

  • The application form and other documents shall be filed by the employer’s representative, with the unit concerned in GBAO, and shall be checked and initialed after dully completed.
  • The application shall be registered with the computer.
  • The application shall be transmitted via the computer network to the department (unit) concerned.
  • The application shall be referred by the Director of the above unit to the expert concerned.
  • The application shall be reviewed and verified for eligibility.
  • The work permit shall be issued and send to the Office of Management, for necessary signature and seal.
  • Work permit shall be registered by the Secretariat and handed over to the respective employer against receipt.
October, 2011 Zahra Tahsili, LL.M
  Meyer-Reumann & Partners -Dubai
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