Botswana – Taxation of international executives

Taxation of international executives

Taxation of international executives

  

Overview and Introduction

An individual is liable for taxation on their earnings and profits generated from a source or deemed source within Botswana. Profits include both income and capital gains realized by the individual. Income tax payable by individuals is calculated by applying a graduated rate schedule to taxable income. Currently the top rate is 25 percent on income in excess of 144,000 Botswana Pula (BWP) per year.

The official currency of Botswana is the Botswana Pula (BWP).

Herein, the host country/jurisdiction refers to the country/jurisdiction to which the employee is assigned. The home country/jurisdiction refers to the country/jurisdiction where the assignee lives when they are not on assignment.

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Income Tax

Tax returns and compliance

When are tax returns due? That is, what is the tax return due date?

30 September.

What is the tax year-end?

The tax year-end for individuals is 30 June of each year.

What are the compliance requirements for tax returns in Botswana?

Residents

Income tax payable by the individual employee on their annual gross income is generally recovered at the source under the PAYE salary deduction system and withholding taxes payable on certain categories of income. All individuals whose annual gross income exceeds BWP36,000 are required to register as taxpayers and submit annual tax returns no later than 30 September following the end of the tax year. Upon request, an extension is possible.

Progressive tax rates (5 percent to 25 percent) apply. The first BWP36,000 is tax free. The highest marginal tax rate of 25 percent is applied to taxable income in excess of BWP144,000.

Non-residents

Non-resident individuals are required to register as taxpayers and to comply with all tax return and compliance obligations in the same way as residents, in relation to income from a Botswana source. Non-residents are, however, taxed slightly differently from residents in that there is no exemption from tax on the first BWP36,000 per year which is taxed at the rate of 5 percent.

Tax rates

What are the current income tax rates for residents and non-residents in Botswana?

Residents

Income tax table for 2021

Taxable income bracket

Total tax on income below bracket

Tax rate on income in bracket

From BWP

To BWP

BWP

Percent

0

72,000

0

5.00% over BWP36,000

72,001

108,000

1,800

12.50% over BWP72,000

108,001

144,000

6,300

18.75% over BWP108,000

144,001

Over

13,050

25.00% over BWP144,000

Non-residents

Income tax table for 2021

Taxable income bracket

Total tax on income below bracket

Tax rate on income in bracket

From BWP

To BWP

BWP

Percent

0

72,000

0

5.00% over BWP0

72,001

108,000

3,600

12.50% over BWP72,000

108,001

144,000

8,100

18.75% over BWP108,000

144,001

Over

14,850

25.00% over BWP144,000


Are there capital gains tax exceptions in Botswana? If so, please discuss?

Exemption from tax is restricted to gains on disposal of specified assets/property including shares held in Botswana resident companies, held for at least one year and traded on the Botswana Stock Exchange, shares in a Botswana registered public company as defined in the Income Tax Act, bonds held for at least one year, and debentures issued by the government, Bank of Botswana or statutory bodies, shares in an International Financial Services Company, principal private residence.

When are estimates/prepayments/withholding of tax due in Botswana? For example: monthly, annually, both, and so on.

Withholding tax is due within 15 days of the end of the month of deduction.

Currently individuals are not required to make estimates or prepayments of tax. Assessed tax is due 30 days from issue of assessment.

Residence rules

For the purposes of taxation, how is an individual defined as a resident of Botswana?

An individual is regarded as a resident of Botswana, if:

  • the individual’s permanent place of abode is in Botswana
  • the individual is physically present in Botswana for a period exceeding 183 days during a tax year (a tax year covers 12 months from 1 July to 30 June)
  • they maintain a place of abode in Botswana and is physically present in Botswana for at least 183 days during the tax year; or
  • they are physically present in Botswana for a period and such period is continuous with a preceding or succeeding period of physical presence where they are treated as a resident.

Is there, a de minimus number of days rule when it comes to residency start and end date? For example, a taxpayer can’t come back to the host country/jurisdiction for more than 10 days after their assignment is over and they repatriate.

There is no such requirement. The test is based on the criteria stated above.

What if the assignee enters the country/jurisdiction before their assignment begins?

This counts towards the period of physical presence in Botswana in determining the residency status.

Termination of residence

Are there any tax compliance requirements when leaving Botswana?

If the individual was registered as a taxpayer they will be required to file the final tax return, settle any outstanding taxes, and apply for tax de-registration. There are no requirements where the individual is not registered for tax. However, where the Commissioner General deems it necessary, they may at any time require an individual to submit a tax return for a tax year specified if they feel that the individual may leave Botswana permanently.

What if the assignee comes back for a trip after residency has terminated?

There are no implications on residency should an assignee come back to Botswana for a trip after termination of tax residency.

Communication between immigration and taxation authorities

Do the immigration authorities in Botswana provide information to the local taxation authorities regarding when a person enters or leaves Botswana?

Currently, KPMG in Botswana is not aware of such communication. However, the Commissioner General is free to obtain such information from any source they consider appropriate.

Filing requirements

Will an assignee have a filing requirement in the host country/jurisdiction after they leave the country/jurisdiction and repatriate?

An assignee will have filing requirements only if Botswana-source income, which is not subject to final withholding tax, accrues to them.

Economic employer approach

Do the taxation authorities in Botswana adopt the economic employer approach to interpreting Article 15 of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) treaty? If no, are the taxation authorities in Botswana considering the adoption of this interpretation of economic employer in the future?

No. There is no indication that this approach will be adopted in Botswana in the near future.

De minimus number of days

Are there a de minimus number of days before the local taxation authorities will apply the economic employer approach? If yes, what is the de minimus number of days?

No – Not applicable.

Types of taxable compensation

What categories are subject to income tax in general situations?

As a rule, all types of compensation and remuneration received by an employee for services rendered in Botswana or deemed to be from a source within Botswana constitute taxable income. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • basic salaries, wages, leave pay, and bonuses
  • fees, commissions, and so on
  • contractual gratuities
  • cash allowances (which include travelling, entertainment, or any other allowances)
  • non-cash benefits.

Intra-group statutory directors

Will a non-resident of Botswana who, as part of their employment within a group company, is also appointed as a statutory director (i.e. member of the Board of Directors in a group company situated in Botswana trigger a personal tax liability in Botswana, even though no separate director's fee/remuneration is paid for their duties as a board member?

Yes, however a personal tax liability will be triggered by the rendering of services, including attending board meetings, in Botswana.

a) Will the taxation be triggered irrespective of whether or not the board member is physically present at the board meetings in Botswana?

No, the taxation will be triggered by physical presence in Botswana.

b) Will the answer be different if the cost directly or indirectly is charged to/allocated to the company situated in Botswana (i.e. as a general management fee where the duties rendered as a board member is included)?

No, the answer remains the same.

c) In the case that a tax liability is triggered, how will the taxable income be determined?

Taxable income is that portion of the remuneration that relates to services rendered in Botswana.

Tax-exempt income

Are there any areas of income that are exempt from taxation in Botswana? If so, please provide a general definition of these areas.

Within employment contracts, the following items are not taxed in the hands of the employee:

  • medical costs/health insurance paid by the employer
  • contributions by both the employer and employee to an approved retirement or pension fund
  • provision of contractual free passage for the employee and immediate dependents between the place of employment and the place of recruitment
  • one-third of gratuity paid after completion of a minimum of 2 years' service
  • one-third of a retrenchment package received by an employee from their previous employer.

As a general rule, there are limited instances where individuals are exempt from taxation in Botswana. Such instances would include employees of diplomatic missions and employees of companies providing technical assistance to the government of Botswana where the agreement provides for exemption.

Expatriate concessions

Are there any concessions made for expatriates in Botswana?

One third of contractual terminal gratuity is tax free.

Salary earned from working abroad

Is salary earned from working abroad taxed in Botswana? If so, how?

Foreign employment income is normally not taxable in Botswana. However employment income accruing in respect of work performed abroad during temporary absence from Botswana by a resident and for the employer in Botswana, is taxable in Botswana.

Taxation of investment income and capital gains

Are investment income and capital gains taxed in Botswana? If so, how?

Botswana bank and building society interest accruing to a resident individual in excess of BWP7,800 (exempt portion) is subject to 10 percent withholding tax which is a final tax. All other interest income of resident taxpayers is taxed at the normal resident individual tax rates.

Interest received by an individual from the following sources is, however, exempt from tax:

  • interest received from the Botswana Savings Bank, including interest on Botswana Savings Bank Certificates
  • interest received on national development bonds exempt under the National Development Bank Act
  • interest on bonds exempt under the Development Loan Act
  • interest on any subscription shares issued by any building society resident in Botswana
  • interest not exceeding BWP7,800 per year received by an individual from any banking institution or building society in Botswana.

Foreign dividends are subject to income tax at a rate of 15 percent with relief for foreign tax paid. However foreign investment income (interest and capital gains) accruing to a non-citizen resident in Botswana is not subject to tax.

Botswana dividends are subject to withholding tax at the rate of 7.5 percent. The rate may be varied by an applicable double taxation agreement. This is a final tax.

Commercial royalties, entertainment fees, and management or consultancy fees accruing to a resident from a source within Botswana are taxed as business income on assessment.

Interest commercial royalties, and management or consultancy fees paid by a resident to a non- resident are subject to withholding tax of 15 percent on the gross amount paid.

Withholding tax rates may be varied by an applicable double taxation agreement. The tax so withheld is final.

Capital gains are taxed as per the rates shown in the following table.

Taxable income

Cumulative

Percent

Tax payable

0

18,000

0

 

 

18,001

72,000

0

+ 5.00%

Over 18,000

72,001

108,000

2,700

+ 12.50%

Over 72,000

108,001

144,000

7,200

+ 18.75%

Over 108,000

144,001

and over

13,950

+ 25.00%

Over 144,000


Any capital gain realized by an individual with respect to the disposal of the following assets will be included in the calculation of the taxable income of the individual:

  • any property including residential property
  • ny shares or debentures held in a company.

The capital gains realized by an individual on the following assets are not subject to tax and therefore will not be included in the calculation of taxable income of an individual.

  • Property, except land and buildings, which is owned by a business and on which capital allowances under the Income Tax Act of Botswana have been granted.
  • The principal private residence of an individual where such property has been owned for at least 5 years. This applies only where no similar exemption was granted during the 5 years immediately preceding the date of disposal.
  • Shares and debentures held, for at least 1 year, in a Botswana resident public company or traded on the Botswana stock exchange.
  • Shares held in an International Financial Services Centre company.

Dividends, interest, and rental income

See above regarding dividends and interest income.

Rental income is classified as business income. Any rental income, less expenses wholly, exclusively and necessarily incurred in the production of such rental income, is taxed at the individual tax rates. Chargeable business income is aggregated together with employment and

investment income for purposes of determining the marginal tax rates applicable. However, business/investment losses cannot be off-set against employment income. Rental income from properties used for business will be subject to 10 percent withholding tax. This is a provisional tax credited on assessment.

Gains from stock option exercises

Residency status

Taxable at:

 

Grant

Vest

Exercise

Resident

N

N

Y

Non-resident

N

N

Y

Other (if applicable)

N/A

N/A

N/A

Foreign exchange gains and losses

Any foreign exchange gains or losses are taxable or deductible when realized.

Principal residence gains and losses

Gains on the disposal of a principal private residence will be subject to income tax.

However, such gains are exempt from tax if the property so disposed was owned for at least 5 years and no similar exemption was granted in the immediately preceding 5 years.

Capital losses

Assessed capital losses fall away unless utilized in the following tax year.

Personal use items

See fringe benefits.

Gifts

Gifts received in relation to services rendered constitute remuneration subject to income tax.

Additional capital gains tax (CGT) issues and exceptions

Are there additional capital gains tax (CGT) issues in Botswana? If so, please discuss?

A disposal of shares in a company whose principal assets consist of immovable property is deemed to be a disposal of the underlying property.

Are there capital gains tax exceptions in Botswana? If so, please discuss?

Exemption from tax is restricted to gains on disposal of specified assets/property including shares traded on the Botswana Stock Exchange, shares in a Botswana registered public company as defined in the Income Tax Act, bonds, and debentures issued by the government, Bank of Botswana or statutory bodies, shares in an International Financial Services Company, principal private residence.

Generally Botswana tax treaties exempt capital gains accruing to a non-resident on the disposal of shares held in a company that is not property rich.

Proceeds from the disposal of shares in a company holding Botswana mineral rights or an interest in Botswana mineral rights, mining or prospecting information or any Botswana mining orprospecting rights is taxed as business profits and not as capital gains.

Pre-CGT assets

Gains on disposal of any property are taxable as stated above.

General deductions from income

What are the general deductions from income allowed in Botswana?

The items, which are allowable as a deduction in the calculation of income tax payable by an individual, depend on the nature of the income and the trade.

Expenses of a revenue nature which are wholly, exclusively, and necessarily incurred in the production of assessable income, and which are not specifically prohibited, are to be deducted in the computation of taxable income.

No deduction from taxable income is allowed for the following expenditure items:

  • domestic or private expenses
  • any amount not wholly, exclusively and necessarily expended for the purpose of producing assessable income
  • any capital withdrawn or expenditure or loss of a capital nature
  • any tax imposed under the Income Tax Act of Botswana
  • any income tax charged in a country/jurisdiction outside of Botswana
  • any contribution to a superannuation fund, which is not an approved superannuation fund as defined under the Income Tax Act of Botswana.

The Income Tax Act of Botswana does not make provision for any personal allowances. However, individuals are entitled to the following deductions.

  • An individual taxpayer is allowed a deduction up to a maximum of 15 percent of their chargeable income (other than investment income) in respect of contributions made by them to an approved superannuation fund.
  • Other expenses necessarily incurred to carry out or perform a profession, such as vehicle running costs for a sales representative and professional subscriptions to organizations necessary for the fulfilment of duties as a lawyer or chartered accountant.

Tax reimbursement methods

What are the tax reimbursement methods generally used by employers in Botswana?

An employer is required to reconcile individual employees PAYE calculations and effect refunds/additional deductions through the payroll, as long as such reconciliations do not result in a refund due from the tax authorities. In such cases, reimbursements are processed through assessment of the employee tax return by the tax authority.

Calculation of estimates/ prepayments/withholding

How are estimates/prepayments/withholding of tax handled in Botswana? For example, Pay- As-You-Earn (PAYE), Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG), and so on.

PAYE is withheld by the employer and must be remitted no later than 15 days after the end of the month in which the deduction took place.

Pay-as-you-go (PAYG) withholding

Currently, there is no PAYG in Botswana.

PAYG instalments

See PAYG Withholding.

When are estimates/prepayments/withholding of tax due in Botswana? For example: monthly, annually, both, and so on.

Withholding tax is due within 15 days of the end of the month of deduction.

Relief for foreign taxes

Is there any Relief for Foreign Taxes in Botswana? For example, a foreign tax credit (FTC) system, double taxation treaties, and so on?

Relief is provided both in the domestic law and in the double taxation agreements. Such relief is equal to the foreign tax paid subject to a maximum of Botswana tax on the relevant income.

General tax credits

What are the general tax credits that may be claimed in Botswana? Please list below.

There are no general tax credits.

Sample tax calculation

This calculation assumes a married taxpayer resident in Botswana with two children whose 3- year assignment begins 1 January 2018 and ends 31 December 2020. The taxpayer’s base salary is 100,000 US dollars (USD) and the calculation covers 3 years.

 

2018

USD

2019

USD

2020

USD

Salary

100,000

100,000

100,000

Bonus

20,000

20,000

20,000

Cost-of-living allowance

10,000

10,000

10,000

Housing allowance

12,000

12,000

12,000

Company car

6,000

6,000

6,000

Moving expense reimbursement

20,000

0

20,000

Home leave

0

5,000

0

Education allowance

3,000

3,000

3,000

Interest income from non-local sources

6,000

6,000

6,000

Exchange rate used for calculation: USD1.00 = BWP11.3716

Other assumptions

  • All earned income is attributable to local sources.
  • Bonuses are paid at the end of each tax year, and accrue evenly throughout the year.
  • Interest income is not remitted to Botswana.
  • The company car is used for business and private purposes and originally cost USD50,000. The annual benefit is USD 6000.
  • The employee is deemed resident throughout the assignment.
  • Tax treaties and totalization agreements are ignored for the purpose of this calculation.
  • Home leave relates to contractual passage benefit provided to the employee and their family.

Calculation of taxable income

Tax year ended 30 June

2018 BWP

2019

BWP

2020

BWP

2021

BWP

Days in Botswana during the year

183

365

365

183

Earned income subject to income tax

 

 

 

 

Salary

568 578

1 137 156

1 137 156

568 578

Bonus

113 716

227 431

227 431

113 716

Cost of living allowance

56 858

113 716

113 716

56 858

Net housing allowance

68 229

136 459

136 459

68 229

Company car

34 208

68 229

68 229

34 208

Moving expenses reimbursement

0

0

0

0

Home leave

0

0

0

0

Education allowance

17 104

34 115

34 115

17 104

Other income

0

0

0

0

Total taxable income

858 693

1 717 105

1 717 105

858 693


Calculation of tax liability

Tax year ended 30 June

 

2018 BWP

 

2019 BWP

 

2020 BWP

 

2021 BWP

Taxable income as above

 

858 693

 

1 717 105

 

1 717 105

 

858 693

Botswana tax thereon

191 723

406 326

406 326

191 723

Less

 

 

 

 

Domestic tax rebates

0

0

0

0

Foreign tax credits

0

0

0

0

Total Botswana tax

191 723

406 326

406 326

191 723


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FOOTNOTES:

Certain tax authorities adopt an ‘economic employer’ approach to interpreting Article 15 of the OECD model treaty which deals with the Dependent Services Article. In summary, this means that if an employee is assigned to work for an entity in the host country/jurisdiction for a period of less than 183 days in the fiscal year (or a calendar year of a 12-month period), the employee remains employed by the home country/jurisdiction employer but the employee’s salary and costs are recharged to the host entity, then the host country/jurisdiction tax authority will treat the host entity as being the ‘economic employer’ and therefore the employer for the purposes of interpreting Article 15. In this case, Article 15 relief would be denied and the employee would be subject to tax in the host country/jurisdiction.

For example, an employee can be physically present in the country/jurisdiction for up to 60 days before the tax authorities will apply the ‘economic employer’ approach.

All tax information is summarized by KPMG Chartered Accountants , a Botswana partnership and member firm of the KPMG global organization of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Limited, a private English company limited by guarantee, and is based on the Income Tax Act (Chapter 52:01) of Botswana, as amended, together with the Departmental Guidance Notes issued by the Botswana Unified Revenue Service.

  

Special considerations for short-term assignments

Residency rules

Payroll considerations

Taxable income

Additional considerations

For the purposes of this publication, a short-term assignment is defined as an assignment that lasts for less than 1 year.

Residency Rules

Are there special residency considerations for short-term assignments?

No.

Payroll considerations

Are there special payroll considerations for short-term assignments?

No.

Taxable income

What income will be taxed during short-term assignments?

All income received in respect of services rendered in Botswana except where the assignee is resident in a treaty country/jurisdiction. In such cases Botswana may not have taxing rights.

Additional considerations

Are there any additional considerations that should be considered before initiating a short- term assignment in Botswana?

No.

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Other taxes and levies

Social security tax

Are there social security/social insurance taxes in Botswana? If so, what are the rates for employers and employees?

There are no social security taxes in Botswana.

Gift, wealth, estate, and/or inheritance tax

Are there any gift, wealth, estate, and/or inheritance taxes in Botswana?

See Other Taxes below.

Real estate tax

Are there real estate taxes in Botswana?

See Other Taxes below.

Sales/VAT tax

Are there sales and/or value-added taxes in Botswana?

There is a 14 percent value-added tax payable on most goods and services consumed in Botswana. Employee services provided to an employer do not give rise to VAT.

Unemployment tax

Are there unemployment taxes in Botswana?

No.

Other taxes

Are there additional taxes in Botswana that may be relevant to the general assignee? For example, customs tax, excise tax, stamp tax, and so on.

Capital transfer tax

Capital transfer tax is payable by individuals upon the disposal by way of inheritance, donation, or other gratuitous disposal of property.

Capital transfer tax payable by the donee, including a trustee to whom property has been disposed for the benefit of a beneficiary and is based on a sliding scale. The sliding scale values vary from 2 percent to 5 percent based on the net aggregate gains realized on the disposal of the property.

Property, which is liable to capital transfer tax, is defined as any right to movable or immovable, corporeal, or incorporeal property wherever situated.

The following disposals of property are exempt from capital transfer tax:

  • inheritance to a spouse on the death of the other spouse
  • donations to a spouse during the lifetime of that spouse
  • gifts to a person on their marriage the value of which does not exceed BWP5,000
  • household goods and personal belongings which have been inherited from a deceased person up to a value of BWP15,000
  • property situated outside Botswana disposed of to a non-resident
  • property disposed of for the purpose of maintaining or the education of a child who is under the age of 21 years or is undergoing full time education or training; and
  • casual gifts, which do not exceed BWP5,000 in value.
  • Capital transfer tax payable by individuals is calculated based on the following rates.

Capital transfer tax rates

Net aggregate gains

 

Tax payable

From BWP

To BWP

 

0

100,000

BWP0 + 2% over BWP0

100,001

300,000

BWP2,000 + 3% over BWP100,000

300,001

500,000

BWP8,000 + 4% over BWP300,000

500,001

Over

BWP16,000 + 5% over BWP500,000

Foreign Financial Assets

Is there a requirement to declare/report offshore assets (e.g. foreign financial accounts, securities) to the country/jurisdiction’s fiscal or banking authorities?

No, there is no requirement to declare/report offshore assets to the country/jurisdiction’s fiscal authorities, however, Botswana sourced income is to be declared on submission of the return and relief will be granted for foreign tax paid on the amounts.

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Immigration

The following is an overview of the concept of Botswana’s immigration system for skilled labor. (E.g. which steps are required, authorities involved, in-country/jurisdiction and foreign consular processes, review/draft flow chart illustrating the process)

This summary provides basic information regarding business visits to, and work authorization for, Botswana. The information is of a general nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice.

With regard to entry into Botswana, the immigration department has a list of countries/jurisdictions which do not require a visa to enter the country/jurisdiction. In the event that a visa is required, it is recommended that the individual submit an application in their country/jurisdiction of residence if there is a Botswana embassy. In the event that there is no embassy, the individual can submit in absentia via an intermediary in Botswana. Once a visa is issued the individual will be required to submit a work permit if that is the purpose of the visit.

If the individual is visiting they can be granted up to a maximum of 90 tourist’s days to stay in the country/jurisdiction. However, in the event that the purpose of the visit is for work purposes, Botswana Labour requires that the individual not travel until a work permit has been issued regardless of how long they will be travelling to the country/jurisdiction. Depending on the duration of stay in Botswana the individual can apply for a long or short-term work permit.

Short-term work permits can be issued up to a maximum period of 3 months. Should an applicant wish to extend beyond this period, the Labour department will request that they submit a long-term permit application. A long-term work and residence permit is issued for periods of more than 6 months up to around 5 years. The critical focus for long- term permits is localization and to demonstrate a lack of resources in the local market. Once a long or short- term permit has been issued, the individual would need to apply for a waiver with immigration to enable them to reside in the country/jurisdiction for the same duration as the work permit.

There are two ministries that deal with permit applications. The Ministry of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development deals with work related permits including but not limited to short and long-term work permits, localization etc. The Ministry of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs however deals with visa applications, residence permits, residency waivers, permanent residence etc.

International Business Travel/Short-Term Assignments

Describe (a) which nationalities may enter Botswana as non-visa national, (b) which activities they may perform and (c) the maximum length of stay.

(a) See below list of nationalities that do not require a visa to enter Botswana:

Antigua & Barbuda

Gambia

Maldives

Sierra Leone

Argentina

Germany

Mauritius

Singapore

Australia

Greece

Mexico

Slovak Republic

Austria

Grenada

Monaco

Slovenia

Bahamas

Guyana

Mozambique

Solomon Islands

Barbados

Holy Sea

Namibia

South Africa

Belgium

Hong Kong

Nauru

South Kores

Belize

Hungary

Netherlands

Spain

Brazil

Iceland

New Zealand

Swaziland

Brunei Darussalam

Ireland

Norway

Sweden

Bulgaria

Israel

Papua New Guinea

Switzerland

Cameroon

Jamaica

Paraguay

Tanzania

Canada

Italy

Peru

Tonga

Czech Republic

Japan

Poland

Trinidad and Tobago

Chile

Kenya

Portugal

Tuvalu

Costa Rica

Kiribati

Republic of Ireland

United States of America

Croatia

Latvia

Romania

United Kingdom

Cyprus

Lesotho

Russia

Uganda

Denmark

Liechtenstein

Saint Kitts and Nevis

Uruguay

Dominica

Lithuania

Saint Lucia

Vanuatu

Dominican Republic

Luxembourg

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Venezuela

Estonia

Malaysia

Samoa

Yugoslavia

Finland

Malta

San Marico

Zambia

France

Malawi

Seychelles

Zimbabwe


(b) 
The activities to be performed depends on the reasons provided during the visa application process. One can apply for a tourist visa or a business / employment related visa. A tourist visa allows for recreational activities i.e. shopping, travelling around the country/jurisdiction, site-seeing etc. and not business related activities. A business / employment related visa allows for one to attend meetings, conduct work for business related i.e. conduct trainings and or take up employment in the country/jurisdiction. A visa for the purpose of taking up employment in the country/jurisdiction will require a work and residence permit to have been issued first. A visa only grants entry into the country/jurisdiction and does not allow one to reside or work. A non-citizen will require a work and / or residence permit / waiver in addition to the visa to reside and/or work in Botswana.

(c) As mentioned the visa only allows entry into the country/jurisdiction and does not grant one permission to reside in the country/jurisdiction therefore the maximum duration one can stay does not apply. However, one can apply for a single entry visa or a multiple entry visa. The latter allows for one to gain entry in and out of the country/jurisdiction multiple times duration a certain period without having to reapply for a new visa. The duration granted for use of the visa will depend on the duration requested in the application and the reasons provided.

Describe (a) the regulatory framework for business traveler being visa nationals (especially the applicable visa type), (b) which activities they may perform under this visa type and the (c) maximum length of stay.

All business travelers coming into the country/jurisdiction to conduct work related activities need to apply for a work permit. The applicable work permit is determined by the duration of stay as mentioned above.

The business visa allows them to enter the country/jurisdiction for the purpose of conducting work and will require that a work permit be produced upon application for the visa and at the port of entry.

Outline the process for obtaining the visa type(s) named above and describe (a) the required documents (including any legalization or translation requirements), (b) process steps, (c) processing time and (d) location of application.

1. Document gathering (1-2 weeks)

2. Submit work / residence permit application (1 month to 6 months depending on the type of permit applied for)

3. Prepare and submit visa application (2 months)

4. Travel to Botswana and submit waiver application (1 week – this is for short-term permits only)

5. Business traveler work permit

Requirements for the visa application, short-term and long-term applications are below for your reference.

Visa application:

  • Completed copy of Form 1
  • Certified copy of passport
  • 2 recent passport sized photos
  • Certified copies of professional and educational certificates
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • Certified copy of birth certificate
  • Certified copy of marriage certificate (if applicable)
  • Certificate of trade license / incorporation / share certificate (from host / employer)
  • Confirmation of flights i.e. tickets
  • Confirmation of accommodation (bookings or letter from host)
  • Affidavit & support letter signed by host
  • Work and residence permit documents
  • Visa application motivation letter – providing reasons for the application
  • Employment offer letter / confirmation of employment

Short term permit application (Emergency exemption & waiver) Emergency exemption:

  • 2 completed copies of Form 10
  • Certified copy of passport
  • 2 recent passport sized photos
  • Certified copies of professional and educational certificates
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • Recruitment advert (if for employment)
  • Job application letter (if for employment)
  • Clearance letter from the professional regulatory body in Botswana
    • For this letter on requires: Curriculum Vitae (CV), certified copies of professional and educational certificate, certified copy of passport and a letter of good standing for the existing professional institute and cover letter providing reasons for the letter.
  • Confirmation of employment
  • Offer letter or contract between the parties (as applicable)
  • Exemption application motivation letter

Residence waiver:

  • Certified copy of passport
  • Certified copy of document covering stay (permits or stamp in the passport)
  • Waiver application motivation letter
  • Copies of short term permits and/or long-term permit application receipts (if applicable)

Long term permit application (Work and residence permit)

  • 2 completed copies of Form 16
  • Completed copy of Form 15
  • Completed medical report form
  • 6 recent passport sized photos
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • Job application letter (if for employment)
  • Certified copy of passport
  • Certified copy of birth certificate
  • Certified copy of marriage certificate (if applicable)
  • Certificate of trade license / incorporation / share certificate (from host / employer)
  • Permit application motivation letter – providing reasons for the application
  • Recruitment advert (if for employment)
  • Offer letter (if for employment)
  • Police clearance with fingerprints
  • Previous and current work references for each employer on the CV
  • Training and localization plan
  • Understudy details –CV and Certified copies of ID, professional and educational certificates
  • Clearance letter from the professional regulatory body in Botswana
    • For this letter on requires: Curriculum Vitae (CV), certified copies of professional and educational certificate, certified copy of passport and a letter of good standing for the existing professional institute and cover letter providing reasons for the letter.

Are there any visa waiver programs or specific visa categories for technical support staff on short-term assignments?

Yes. There are waivers and exemptions that can be granted but these are done on a case by case basis depending on the industry in which work will be conducted, the nature of work to be conducted, the business case provided. These applications are submitted directly to the Commissioner of Labour for their consideration.

Long-Term Assignments

What are the main work permit categories for long-term assignments to Botswana? In this context outline whether a local employment contract is required for the specific permit type.

For a long-term assignment to Botswana, only a work and residence permit is required. Below are the requirements for the application.

Long term permit application (Work and residence permit)

  • 2 completed copies of Form 16
  • Completed copy of Form 15
  • Completed medical report form
  • 6 recent passport sized photos
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • Job application letter (if for employment)
  • Certified copy of passport
  • Certified copy of birth certificate
  • Certified copy of marriage certificate (if applicable)
  • Certificate of trade license / incorporation / share certificate (from host / employer)
  • Permit application motivation letter – providing reasons for the application
  • Recruitment advert (if for employment)
  • Offer letter (if for employment)
  • Police clearance with fingerprints
  • Previous and current work references for each employer on the CV
  • Training and localization plan
  • Understudy details –CV and Certified copies of ID, professional and educational certificates
  • Clearance letter from the professional regulatory body in Botswana
    • For this letter on requires: Curriculum Vitae (CV), certified copies of professional and educational certificate, certified copy of passport and a letter of good standing for the existing professional institute and cover letter providing reasons for the letter.

A local employment contract is required when the individual is travelling to take up permanent or long-term employment in the country/jurisdiction.

In the case of long-term projects and secondment of resources who are already permanently employed in a different country/jurisdiction, a contract of employment would not be required. Instead, the individual will be required to provide a confirmation of employment letter, a confirmation of the project from the country/jurisdiction where they are permanently employed and the destination country/jurisdiction.

Provide a general process overview to obtain a work and residence permit for long- term assignments (including processing times and maximum validation of the permit).

1. Placement of advert, if necessary (3 weeks) this only applies for those taking up permanent employment in Botswana

2. Training and localization plan – should have already been submitted to the Ministry of Employment. This document details the local company’s localization plans over the next 5 years

3. Prepare and submit work / residence permit application (2 months to 6 months depending on the type of permit applied for)

4. Prepare and submit visa application (2 months)

5. Travel to Botswana and submit waiver application (2 weeks – this is for short-term permits only)

Is there a minimum salary requirement to obtain a long-term work and residence permit for assignments? Can allowances be taken into account for the salary?

There is no minimum salary requirement stipulated. The allowances will need to be detailed separately when completing the form and therefore will not be considered as part of the salary.

Is there a fast-track process which could expedite the visa/ work permit?

There is currently no fast track option for visa and permit applications. However, for long-term work and residence permit applications, one can submit an emergency short-term permit application pending the outcome of their long-term application. The turnaround time for this permit is shorter (1 month) and is usually for a maximum period of 3 months.

At what stage is the employee permitted to start working when applying for a long-term work and residence permit (assignees/ local hire)?

The employee is permitted to start working only once they have obtained their work permit.

Can a short-term permit/ business visa be transferred to a long-term-permit in Botswana?

It would not be possible to transfer a short-term permit/ business visa to a long-term permit. The applicant can submit a long-term application while in Botswana as long as the short-term permit is still valid.

Is it possible to renew work and residence permits?

Depending on the permit type it is possible to renew work and residence permits in Botswana. Renewals are not applicable for short-term work permits. These can only be extended up to a maximum period of 3 months. The renewal process can take place in Botswana and the applicant is not required to leave the country/jurisdiction.

Is there a quota or system or a labor market test in place?

Botswana does not have a quota system.

General Immigration Related Questions

Would it be possible to bring family members to Botswana?

Dependents are allowed to join the main applicant. Spouses and children are considered dependents. Other immediate family members can be considered as dependents provided that valid reasons are provided i.e. medical care or support etc.

Is it possible to obtain a permanent residence permit?

Generally one would be eligible to apply for permanent residence after holding a Work and Residence permit for 5 years.

What if circumstances change after the Work and Residence application process (e.g. change of employment or personal situation, including job title, job role or salary)?

Any change in the terms of the employment or personal situation, including job role, place of employment would require that an appropriate notification be made to the Ministry of Labour. Change of employment would result in cancellation of the existing work and residence permit.

How long can a permit holder leave Botswana without their permit becoming invalid?

Should an individual leave the country/jurisdiction for more than 6 months then the permit may be cancelled if an approval of absence has not been obtained from the local immigration Authorities.

Must immigration permissions be cancelled by the end of the assignment/employment? In case of a termination of the employment before the end of the validity of the permit, the immigration authorities need to be informed.

Are there any penalties for individuals and/or companies in place for non-compliance with immigration law?

Penalties for non-compliance include deportation of the employees, restriction on re-entering Botswana or monetary fines.

Other Important Items

List any other important items to note, or common obstacles faced, in Botswana when it comes to the immigration processes.

Below you will find a list of other important items to note and the most common obstacles:

  • Inconsistent turnaround times – Though turnaround times have been stipulated, they are rarely adhered to so applicants need to allow sufficient time for application outcomes.
  • Prior criminal records – these can often result in a refusal of a work and residence permit.
  • Inconsistencies in documentation – for example if there is a discrepancy in the name of the applicant as shown on their passport, degree or marriage certificates, the authorities may require further supporting documentation.

Requirements change on an ongoing and regular basis without notice so it is important to constantly touch base with the Labour and Immigration ministries.

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Disclaimer

All information contained in this publication is summarized by KPMG Chartered Accountants, a Botswana partnership and a member firm of the KPMG global organization of independent member firms affliated with KPMG International Limited a private English company limited by guarantee and is based on the Botswana Income Tax Act (Chapter 52:01), as amended, together with the Departmental Guidance Notes issued by the Botswana Unified Revenue Service, Ministry of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development (permit applications), Ministry of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs (visa applications), and the Botswana Immigration Act (Chapter xxx).