Africa Immigration Series (AIS) is a series of articles to be published on our blog frequently. Each article will explore the Africa’s expat mobility landscape and a brief overview of the current economic situation and investment opportunities.

Our next country article focuses on Botswana:


Capital: Gaborone

Currency: Pula (BWP)

Official language: English (official), Setswana

Government: Republic, parliamentary democracy.

President: Mokgweetsi Masisi

GDP: 17,41 billion USD (2017)



Foreign nationals wishing to live and reside in Botswana must apply for work permits and residency according to the Botswana immigration Act and Regulations of 2011.

Every work permit is related to a Botswana registered company, if you have a contract to do work in the country for less than 3-6 months but do not have a registered entity, then the contracting company must “sponsor” the work permit. Also, it’s not possible to apply for a work permit without a job offer.

As per the Botswana Immigration laws, when a foreign national is issued a work permit, the same does not grant the right for residency, therefore, an application for residency permit must submitted. The process is simple and usually both applications are submitted simultaneously. Unlike other countries with a Critical Skill List, Botswana does not have special permits for individuals with scarce skills. As immigration in the country is based on a points system, individuals with critical skills score higher points in the visa evaluation process.

For individuals wishing to invest in the country either in a new or existing business, the points system is also applicable. The points evaluation is based on industry, investment amount, skills and other specific factors.

For retired persons, there is no practical law that facilitate retired individuals to obtain residency permits.


Business Visa: Applicable for foreign nationals visiting Botswana for business meetings, business prospecting and conferences. Does not allow work. Business visas are issued for up to 90 days per calendar year and issued on arrival for most nationalities (please check prior to traveling. South African passport holders are visa exempt).

Visa restricted countries must apply for business visa at a Botswana mission at country of residence prior to travel (e.g. China) or at Immigration Department in Botswana if there is no embassy.

Documents Required for Business Visa:

  • Business profile if coming to establish business
  • Labour exemption certificate if coming for a month or more
  • Meeting schedule (if coming to attend or organize meeting)
  • Confirmation of employment / release letter from the employment

Short term work permit: Applicable to individuals who wish to work in Botswana for a short period. This visa is valid for 3 months and renewable to a maximum of 6 months per year. Botswana’s immigration system is very strict, even for short term work permit it is important to motivate strongly why no Botswana national was fit to perform the work. Relevant Ministry may also get involved (e.g. Ministry of Mines). Place of submission: Relevant authorities in Gaborone.

Documents Required for Short Term Work Permit:

  • Contract of employment.
  • Application letter for work.
  • Letter of offer/appointment letter
  • Curriculum vitae (CV).
  • Certified copies of certificates (all certificates in foreign languages must be translated to English)
  • Medical report
  • Certified copies of a valid passport (Passport copies should reflect applicant’s picture, passport number, and expiry date)
  • Passport size photos.

Long term work permit: Must be applied for by individuals who wishes to work in Botswana for more than six months. Long term work permits are valid for up to 24 months – and renewable up to a maximum of 10 years. The position which the foreign national is applying at the employing company is Botswana has to be advertised in in a local newspaper and should circulate for 14 days. Even if the applicant is being seconded to Botswana, immigration works with a sophisticated points system, which several factors are taken into consideration when adjudicating the application (language, experience, profession on list, etc.). 2 applications must be submitted, one for work permit and one for residence permit. Place of submission: Relevant authorities in Gaborone.

Documents Required for Work and Residence Permit:

  • Certified copy of a data page of a valid passport
  • Copy of birth certificate certified by issuing office
  • Copies of relevant educational certificates certified by issuing office (all certificates should be translated into English and authorised by the issuing authority)
  • Copies of supporting documents from relevant professional and/or regulatory bodies certified by issuing office
  • CV/Résumé
  • Three recent passport-size
  • Proof of advertisement (qualifications, experience, employer’s address and telephone number and closing date must be clearly indicated; the advertisement should have circulated for 14 days)
  • Appointment letter/contract letter inclusive of physical address and contact numbers of an employer (for farm workers, herd boys/girls: proof of ownership of livestock, branding certificate and copy of Omang of employer)
  • Letter of application for work
  • Physical address/location of the company

Spouses and dependants permit: For spousal and dependent children under 18 years old of a holder of a residency permit in Botswana, a residency permit is applicable. The holder of the residency permit must undertake to maintain the applicant financially. And lastly in this regard, spouses and dependants cannot conduct work on their dependants status.

Residence Permit: In Botswana anyone staying in the country for longer than 3 months is required to obtain a separate Residence Permit. Within the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs, the Department of Labour issues work authorization & the Department of Home Affairs is responsible for the issuance of residence permits.

Permanent Residency: Foreign nationals who have resided lawfully in Botswana for at least 5 years, may be eligible to apply for permanent residency. This permit is issued by the Minister of Labour and Home Affairs. The individual applying for this permit must be able to prove that: is of good character; has made significant contributions of benefit to Botswana; is of good standing in society; has sufficient means to support him or herself.

If you wish to invest in a new or existing business in Botswana, it’s possible to apply for the Investor Permit.


Botswana has a long standing democratic tradition starting with her first democratic elections in 1965. The country has an independent judiciary, subscribes to the rule of law, enjoys freedom of the press, and has maintained transparency, predictability, and good governance in the management of the economy.

A broad selection of governance and doing-business indicators published by various multilateral institutions, think-tanks, and international NGOs brings into evidence Botswana’s excellent standing in Africa and very respectable position in the world. Thus, Botswana is the best-ranked African country in Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI 2013). The World Bank/IFC’s latest (2014) Doing Business indicator ranks Botswana fourth in Africa for business-friendly environment. Meanwhile, the Ibrahim Index of African Governance assesses four broad categories of governance: safety and rule of law, participation and human rights, sustainable economic opportunity, and human development. Botswana has been ranked consistently highly by the Ibrahim Index, most recently taking second place overall (2013). It even ranks top in the dimension safety and rule of law.

According to the 2013 Annual Report of the Bank of Botswana both Moody’s Investor Service and Standard & Poor’s retained the country’s “A” sovereign credit rating. This rating affirms the country’s strong financial position

Botswana offers several incentives for investors, including:

  • No foreign exchange controls; remittance and full repatriation of profits and dividends
  • No restrictions on business ownership
  • Duty-free import of machinery and equipment for manufacturing purposes
  • Customs duty exemption on raw materials for goods going outside of SACU
  • Denomination of share capital in any major convertible currency


Strategic Centres of Excellence have been established for the key sectors of the economy to serve as information centres and drive the promotion of investment opportunities. These include,

  • Diamond Hub
  • Education Hub
  • Innovation Hub
  • Transport Hub
  • Agriculture Hub

Some of the investment opportunities are;

  • Minerals Sector: Base metals i.e. gold, uranium, copper, nickel, coal, manganese and Mining services.
  • Diamonds: cutting and polishing, jewellery manufacturing and diamond related services.
  • Education Sector: provision of speciality training institutions for skills and development.
  • Services Sector: ICT, Data Processing, Financial Services, Tourism, Health.
  • Energy Sector: Power generation, extraction of coal bed methane and renewable energy projects including solar PV plants and solar power generators as well as bio-fuel projects.
  • Agriculture: primary production and agro-processing.
  • Resource-Based Industries: Glass manufacturing, Leather and Leather by-products manufacturing, beef and beef by-products, agro processing, dairy farming, diamond beneficiation.
  • Infrastructure: Transportation and logistics


Botswana is at the centre of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), with market access to over 270 million people in 15 countries with combined GDP of more than US$700 billion. SADC’s Free Trade Area (FTA) launched in 2008 provides zero tariffs for 85% of goods traded among member states.

As a member of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), Botswana’s products enjoy duty free access to a market of more than 55 million people in 5 countries with combined GDP of more than US$60 billion (Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland and South Africa. Botswana enjoys duty free and quota free market access to these countries.

Botswana is eligible for trade benefits with the US under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). Botswana enjoys Duty Free and quota free market access to the USA.

The Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) provides duty free and quota free market access for existing export products to the EU.

The on-going discussions of the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Free Trade Area when concluded will offer Botswana a market of over 700 million people Botswana is a member of the World Trade Organisation and committed to the implementation of WTO agreements.


Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) is an integrated Investment and Trade Promotion Authority with an encompassing mandate of investment promotion and attraction; export promotion and development including management of the Nation Brand.

INVESTOR PERMIT: Applicable to individuals who wish to invest in either a new an existing business in Botswana. The permit can be issued for 5 – 10 years. For this permit, the points based system is also applicable, the investor will have to score at least 60% out of 150%. There are 3 Tier’s involved under investor’s permits which are: Tier 1 – Investor sponsored; Tier 2 – Production (Agriculture, mining, manufacturing, water & Electricity, Construction); Tier 3 – Service Sector ( Tourism, Trade, Transport, Communication, Finance & Business service, Social and personal services, Information technology).

Required Documents for the Investor Permit:

  • Proof of investment if joining an existing company
  • Lease of agreement
  • Certificate of company registration
  • Certificate of shares
  • Certificate of incorporation (obtained from Registrar of Companies)
  • List of local employees and their identifications
  • List of valued assets
  • Form 8/ form 13/ form 14 (obtained from Registrar of Companies)
  • Medical report
  • Certified copies of their valid passport
  • Company profile
  • Current Bank Statement certified by the bank

For more information on the investor permit, please visit


IBN Immigration advises potential customers during consultations to find the best immigration solution to each specific case, takes charge of the collection of required documents, prepares the necessary applications, assists with the submissions and follows-up on the progress with the relevant authorities until the visas are issued.

IBN also proactively manages possible extension and departure process. We make sure that the assignees and their families are compliant with local immigration requirements at all times.

Our trusted network of carefully selected and highly professional local partners’ role is to assist with local submissions when required and as our point of contact with the immigration authorities in their respective countries – which are prepared in our offices – will benefit from the highest level of confidentiality and data protection at all times.

We know that immigrating and relocating can be very stressful for the individual and his/her family and we do our utmost best to deliver a personal and warm service, allowing you to focus on your business.

Should you require our services, we would be glad to hear from you!

See here our INTRODUCING NAMIBIA article.

Have a look here at our very first AIS article:

See here our introducing Kenya country article.

Stay tuned for our upcoming articles on the Africa Immigration Series (AIS).

by Fernanda Braz