Handling work permits, visas, and the overall legal status for your foreign employees in Lebanon can be both frustrating and time-consuming. While the different rules and regulations look simple at first glance, they can vary widely among who you talk to, and it can be hard to work with government officials. If you don’t already know how to get a work visa in Lebanon for each of your employees, you could end up facing compliance issues.
Types of Work Visas in Lebanon
Lebanon offers a variety of visas, including:
- Tourism, transit, and courtesy visa: Most tourist visas are valid for one month and available upon arrival in Lebanon. They are renewable for another two months.
- Collective visa: Groups of at least eight people can apply for a collective or group tourist visa. Typically, a travel agency organizing the trip will complete the application.
- Residency visa: Students, individuals married to a Lebanese citizen, those with a work permit, or people willing to pay a large sum can apply for a temporary visa valid for one year or a permanent visa valid for three years.
- Work visa: A work visa, also known as a work permit, must be obtained by a person’s employer. After securing a work permit, the individual can apply for residency in Lebanon.
- Student visa: Students at a Lebanon university can apply for a student visa valid for one year. This permit requires a registration statement from the university.
Requirements to Obtain Lebanon Work Visas
The requirements for obtaining a work visa in Lebanon differ depending on the work your employees do. The law states you must prove you hired a foreigner because you couldn’t find a Lebanese individual to do the job. However, the government does not enforce this rule often, and most people with their papers in order will get a work permit or visa.
Some of the most common documents required to receive a work permit in Lebanon include:
- Passport valid for three months after the intended stay
- Appointment letter
- Proof of fee payment
- Copy of the applicant’s residency cards
- Two passport-size photos
- Recent online bank statements
- Travel reservations
- Travel insurance
- Original birth certificate
- And more
Once you extend a job offer to your employees, you must apply for a work visa on their behalf through the Lebanese General Security. One of your company representatives will also need to get preapproval from the Ministry of Labor. This step is when the ministry may ask to see proof that you tried to hire a local first.
After your employees obtain their work permits, they can apply for a residency visa that allows them to stay in Lebanon for a year. This application also extends to a spouse and any children. However, your employee’s work and residency visa will not allow their spouse to work in the country.
Keep in mind that this application requires additional documentation and takes about 10 working days to process. Residency is granted annually.
Other Important Considerations
A potential candidate who arrives in Lebanon before securing a job has to follow a separate process. This individual must apply with certain required documents providing details such as:
- Length of stay
- Reason for visiting
- Address the applicant will stay at
- Commercial relationship they intend to engage in
- Financial stability
These types of work visas are valid for one month with the option to renew once.
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