Immigration Categories

The appropriate immigration category or status for your employees will depend on their specific details and on your company. The most common category for corporate transfers in our experience is the work permit. For details on non-typical categories, please contact your representative.

Typical Process Overview

The following process overview is applicable to the work permit category. Approximate overall processing time for Prior to Entry Work Permit to be issued is approximately  three (3) to six (6) weeks, upon which the employee can start working. However, note that lead time for document gathering at the start of the process should be factored in, as should processing time for completion of post arrival formalities. In Egypt, the document gathering stage of the process is particularly labor intensive, as many documents must be legalized and translated. We can assist with this if required. See “Application Materials” section below for further details. Average processing time for each individual step is noted below.

Step One: Prior to Entry Work Permit (National Security Approval)
Processing Time: Approximately twenty (20) to thirty (30) working days

Once we have the documents gathered, we can apply for the Prior to Entry Work Permit directly with the Egyptian labor authorities. Approval is issued in the form of a “reference number”, upon which the number must be shared with the applicant via email in order for him/her to travel to Egypt with the correct immigration status.

NOTE: the assignee should be outside Egypt while the application is under process for prior to Entry Work Permit and only once the Prior to Entry Work Permit is approved and issued, then the assignee should enter Egypt with the approved reference number and can legally start working.

Step Two: Entry Visa (certain nationals only)
Processing Time: Approximately one (1) to two (2) weeks, depending on the consulate

Restricted nationals (e.g. India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Philippines) requiring an entry visa should apply at this stage, once the Prior to Entry Work Permit has been approved with a reference number. Applications are made at the Egyptian Embassy/Consulate in the home country.

At the completion of this Step the assignee can enter Egypt with prior to Entry Work Permit reference number.

Step Three: Temporary Work Permit Application
Processing Time: Approximately four (4) to six (6) weeks

Once the applicant has arrived in Egypt, a blood test must be taken, the result of which take approximately
three (3) working days. We can then apply for the work permit. Within a few days of the work permit application a temporary work permit will be issued by the labor Office in the Ministry of Investment in Cairo.

Step Four: Temporary Residence Permit Application
Processing Time: Approximately ten (10) to fifteen (15) working days

Once we have the Temporary Work Permit, we may make an application for a temporary residence permit – valid for six (6) months. Note that the assignee must not travel outside Egypt between taking the blood test and the obtainment of the Temporary Residence Permit, or a new blood test will be required.

Step Five: Security and Investigation Period and Collection of Final Permits
Processing Time: Approximately two (2) to three (3) months

The final work permit will only be issued after an extensive security clearance process handled by the Egyptian authorities. This takes two (2) to three (3) months. Once the final work permit is issued, a residence permit with validity in line with the work permit (i.e. one year) is applied for.

Typical Documents Obtained

By following the process described above, the following immigration documents will be obtained. Typical validity is noted next to each document name. For details on the renewal process, please see the next section, “Renewal.”

  • Temporary Residence Permit: Six (6) months
  • Temporary Work Permit: Six (6) months
  • Final Residence Permit and Work Permit: One (1) year from the date of the first arrival.

Renewal

  • Renewal is possible up to a maximum duration of stay of five (5) years. Note that work permits are granted for a limited duration and on the understanding that the foreign national is training a named Egyptian national “assistant” to fill the same position. If renewal is necessary, it must also be justified why the training is ongoing.
  • Renewal processes take two (2) to four (4) weeks; please allow two (2) weeks’ lead time for document gathering.

Deregistration

To ensure that assignees leave Egypt after the expiration of their permission to stay and to keep tabs on the number of foreign workers in the country, the government of Egypt requires all applicants to complete the following deregistration process upon departing the country:

  1. A letter from the Host HR informing the assignee end date at work has to be sent to the Work Permit Department of Ministry of Manpower and Immigration along with the original Work Permit. The letter must be sent AFTER the Employee’s departure.

The deregistration process is as follows:

Work Permit De-Registration: This step is expected to be completed the same day. Application for the Work Permit Withdrawal should be filed within three (3) to five (5) days from the date of assignee departure from Egypt.

Also note Residence Permit for assignee and family in Egypt will automatically expire, after the expiry date.

Dependents

Dependent immigration status approval depends on the immigration status of the principal applicant. Where the principal applicant is in Egypt under the work permit category, the following rules apply for dependents:

  • Minimum age (spouse): N/A
  • Maximum age (children): Eighteen (18)
  • Unmarried partners: No
  • Same sex partners: No
  • Non-traditional dependents (e.g. parents): Possible, on a case-by-case basis
  • Work authorization granted? No

Application Materials

Application materials vary depending on the immigration category being applied for and on the specifics of the case. We will advise you in detail regarding your specific case; however, general application materials for the work permit category are noted below.

  • A variety of personal and corporate documents will be needed to support the application.
  • Personal documents include copies of diploma(s), current resume (C.V.), legalized birth and marriage certificates.
  • Company documents include a “7-10 years certificate of experience” letter, which must be legalized for use in Egypt, work contracts and corporate registration certificates.
  • All documentation must be submitted in Arabic and must be legalized. We can assist with the translation and legalization requirements.

Business Visitors

  • Name of visa granted: Business Visa
  • Duration of stay: One (1) month or two (2) month or ninety (90) days per entry, issued as per the discretion of the Egyptian mission overseas. Single or multiple visas may be issued.
  • General activities permitted: Orientation, home-finding, and business meetings can be conducted under business visitor status.

Change of Status

It is not normally possible to change status from visitor to work permit holder without leaving Egypt. Work permit applicants must arrive with the prior to entry work permit.

Salary and Payroll

Salary and payroll requirements vary depending on the immigration category and on the specifics of the case. Please contact your representative for more details for your specific situation.

Qualifications

Qualification requirements will vary from case to case and will depend on the immigration category under which the application is made. However, in general, the immigration authorities do expect to see a university level degree plus at least eight (8) years’ managerial experience for new hires. Please contact your representative for more details.

Red Flags

In our experience, the following points are important to note at the start of the process. If any of the below situations apply to you, contact your representative immediately for further detailed advice.

  • Absence of degree will cause problems.
  • Egypt has a quota system. A maximum of 10% of the total workforce of a company may be foreign nationals with work permits.
  • Work permits are granted on the understanding that the foreign national is training a named Egyptian national “assistant” to fill the same position.  If renewal is necessary, it must also be justified why the training is ongoing.
  • Job title should be high level; i.e. manager or consultant.
  • New hires should submit 7-10 years work experience certificate.
  • Applicants with Israeli stamps in their passports may not be issued with visas for the UAE. Israeli nationals or anyone suspected of holding Israeli dual nationality will be refused entry.
  • Work permits will only be renewed up to four (4) times, i.e. for five (5) years in total.

Penalties for Non-Compliance

The government of Egypt takes immigration non-compliance very seriously. Penalties for non-compliance range from fines to deportation and even imprisonment.

Employee Penalties:

Employee will be asked to leave Egypt immediately and at the time of exit the authorities, at their discretion, may request to pay penalties.

Employer Penalties:

Employer is subject to a fine of approximately 10,000 Egyptian pounds. Manager may be imprisoned and the company blacklisted.

For specific details of penalties, please contact your representative.

Bilateral Agreements

Egypt is not a participant in any bilateral agreements.