Foreigners who wish to purchase or set up their new business in Namibia and operate and live in Namibia must apply for an investor visa.
Requirements for an investor visa
The current requirements are: a minimum investment of 2 million NAD, business plan outlining the proposed activities or services to be undertaken in Namibia, ideally a transfer of skills plan for Namibian employees as well qualifications in line with the business you are looking at investing in. Depending on the sector, there may be registrations with professional bodies as well, i.e. Department of Health for medical professionals.
The above minimum investment amount is not absolute, it can be reduced, depending on the sector the foreign is looking to invest in.
There are currently four priority sectors namely; Manufacturing, Logistics, Tourism and Agriculture & Agro-Processing. There are also enabling sectors that relates to investment which are Infrastructure, Health, Education and Skills Development as well as Energy.
While more resources are allocated to these investment opportunities in the priority sectors, other sectors such as ICT, Mining and Filming are equally important for foreign investment.
Current practice is that the investor permit is issued for a period of two years at a time and once the investor has resided in Namibia for a minimum of five years only then can permanent residence be applied for. Compared to other countries the 2 years are quite short. The Namibian Investment Centre is therefore contemplating to issue investor visa for a period of five years in the future as opposed to the current two years. There is no clear indication as to when such a change might be implemented yet.
The application for an investor visa for Namibia is submitted to the investment centre, in some cases it can also be submitted to the Namibian embassy in the applicants home country. The decision is made by the investment centre. There is no second step at Home Affairs. The current processing times for temporary residence is between 3 and 4 months.
Although a longer temporary residence is in the interest of most investors, most of them are interested in applying for permanent residence. The permanent residence gives security from future law changes and makes practical live a lot easier. Therefore we often get asked, under which circumstances it would be possible to apply for PR earlier than the current 5 year practise.
The answer in short is, if your investment is considered to be large enough, then the investment centre will recommend permanent residence even within the first year. Upon our last engagement it was indicated to us that an investment amount higher than 10 million NAD would be considered to be sufficient. Thus, if you have invested into Namibia in access of this threshold and your funds came from outside Namibia and can therefore be counted as foreign direct investment, you can apply for permanent residence as soon as your business is in operations.
Please do not hesitate to contact if you should require any assistance as our immigration team at IBN will offer tailored solutions to all your immigration needs for Namibia.
By Melissa Moses