Avoid Loss of Resident Status in Mozambique

Foreign citizens who obtain residence permit gain resident status in Mozambique.1 Resident status makes life easier for foreign citizens, especially freedom to entry and leave the country. However, caution is necessary in order to avoid losing resident status, which can occur for failing to comply with certain requirements.

One case occurs when the foreign citizen holding a temporary residence permit leaves the country and stays abroad for more than ninety days.2 Losing residence status means that the foreign citizen will have to rely on visas to enter the country. Otherwise, the foreign citizen will be interdicted if trying to use the residence permit, even if it is still valid.3 Besides, if the foreign citizen intends to recover his/her residence status, will have to start over the burdensome process for obtainment of residence permit. This means, among other requirements, obtaining a new certificate of criminal record in the country of origin along with a new work or residence visa, as the case may be.  

Providentially, loss of resident status in case of long absence from the country can be avoided by seeking an Abroad Permanence Permit (“Autorização de Permanência no Estrangeiro”). In order to obtain this document a prior notice must be given to the immigration services, explaining the reasons and time of absence which cannot exceed the validity of the residence permit.4  With the Abroad Permanence Permit, the foreign citizen can leave the country without risking loss of resident status.

However, obtainment of the Abroad Permanence Permit does not exempt the foreign citizen from the requirement to renew the residence permit during the time abroad.5 Expiry of residence permit outside the country may lead to loss of resident status. This is as such because applications for residence permit renewal must be submitted in Mozambique, and the presence of the applicant is required.6 The foreign citizen who is abroad with an expired residence permit must request a visa in order to enter the country.

Therefore, if the time left for the residence permit to expire is short, and knowing that absence from the country might exceed ninety days, it is better to submit the application for residence permit renewal altogether with the request for an Abroad Permanence Permit. Then, in order to leave the country an exit declaration can also be requested.7 In these case, the foreign citizen will (i) keep resident status for having his/her residence permit under renewal, (ii) have an authorization to stay abroad for more than ninety days, and (iii) leave and later on enter the country through an exit declaration.

As we can note, when it comes to preserving resident status, awareness, preparation and anticipation is the best course to take. Hence, before leaving the country, foreign citizens should check if the residence permit is about to expire and take the most effective action accordingly. With this approach comes peace of mind and less stressful situations.

  1. Decree no. 108/2014, of 31 December (approves the “Immigration Law Regulations”, hereinafter referred to as the “Immigration Regulations”), article 1(n).
  2. The same applies to foreign citizens holding permanent residence permits, when they stay absent for more than five years – Immigration Regulations, article 35.1.
  3. Immigration Regulations, article 39.1.h.
  4. Immigration Regulations, article 35.6.
  5. Immigration Regulations, article 36.
  6. Immigration Regulations, article 31.1 and 31.2.
  7. Exit declaration is a document granted by the immigration services, allowing the foreign citizen to leave the country while the residence permit is being renewed – Immigration Regulations, article 1(h).