Tens of thousands of people consider moving to Mauritius each year for the wonderful life that it offers. Mauritius Island has great business opportunities and tax incentives, as well as the sun, sea and sand to enjoy, all while ensuring safety.
The starting point for immigration to Mauritius, is the immigration law, and choosing the correct permit or visa. It is necessary to know about the different types of visas and the Mauritius visa requirements. There are several types of permits in Mauritius including occupation permits, residence permits and a permanent residency program. Foreign citizens can gain residence in Mauritius through an Occupation Permit, by retiring in Mauritius or by buying property in Mauritius. Foreigners can also gain Mauritian citizenship by investment and various other ways.
It is also worth mentioning the Premium visa in Mauritius, also known as the Digital Nomad visa in Mauritius, which is mostly for those who want to move to Mauritius to work remotely.
We at TBI Mauritius have processed successfully the permits and visas of countless foreigners moving to Mauritius and we offer a full service for everything residence permit and visa-related. We include below many of the topics and questions that our clients ask us about. We advise clients on their immigration options and the documentary requirements. TBI will then submit the applications, deal with the relevant Government bodies up to and including attending the appointment to collect the permit with the clients.
PLEASE NOTE: THE LATEST MAURITIUS BUDGET HAS PROPOSED A NUMBER OF AMENDMENTS TO THE LAW THAT WILL GIVE MAURITIUS MORE ADVANTAGES FOR EXPATS. A NUMBER NEVER MAKE IT INTO THE LAW EACH YEAR AND SO WE WILL NOT UPDATE THE ANSWERS BELOW UNTIL THE LAW IS PASSED BY PARLIAMENT.
The topics are broken down below into:
- Immigration to Mauritius
- The Immigration Act Mauritius
- What is a Residence Permit in Mauritius?
- What is an Occupation Permit in Mauritius?
- Who is a Dependent of a Permit Holder in Mauritius?
- What are the different types of Occupation Permit?
- Investor Occupation Permit
- Professional Occupation Permit
- Self-Employed Permit
- What are the different types of Residence Permit in Mauritius?
- Residence permit by purchasing real estate.
- Residence Permit as a retired non-citizen.
- What is a Permanent Residence Permit in Mauritius?
- How long does it take for a Permit to be processed in Mauritius?
- Is it an online application for permits in Mauritius?
- Do you need to give original documents for the permit application in Mauritius?
- How much does it cost for an occupation permit or a residence permit in Mauritius?
- What is a work permit in Mauritius?
- What is a Business Permit in Mauritius?
- How can a Foreigner get Citizenship in Mauritius?
- What Visa should a foreigner get at the airport?
- What are the Mauritius Visa Requirements?
1 – Immigration to Mauritius
If you’re looking to move to Mauritius you will have to choose between a Residence Permit, enabling you to live in Mauritius or an Occupation Permit allowing you to live and work in Mauritius. Immigration to Mauritius can be attained in several ways and the Mauritian authorities have created easy migration policies that greatly appeal to expats.
One can buy a property with a minimum investment of USD 375,000. You can retire here, invest here, be employed as a professional or become self-employed. Each of them has their own criteria, with advantages and disadvantages depending on the situation of the foreign national looking to move to Mauritius. One can also get a Premium Visa which enables a foreigner to relocate to Mauritius for a year without the rigmarole of a full permit application.
2 – The Immigration Act Mauritius
The Immigration Act Mauritius contains most of the relevant law for those considering moving to Mauritius. To gain a residence permit through purchasing property in Mauritius, the minimum investment is USD 375,000. The Immigration Act also states that the Investor Permit and the Self-Employed Permit is valid for 10 years while a Permanent Residence Permit, for 20 years. The Immigration Act Mauritius gives the legal framework for the various Occupation Permits and Residence Permits.
3 – What is a Residence Permit in Mauritius?
A Residence permit is a written permit authorizing a non-citizen other than a prohibited non-citizen to enter Mauritius and to live in Mauritius. The main residence permits are for retired people, for dependents of a permit holder, and for those who get a residence permit from a minimum investment of USD 375, 000 in a property in Mauritius. The general rule is that a residence permit holder is not able to work in Mauritius without a separate occupation permit. The exception to the rule is someone who has got a residence permit by investing in real estate over USD 375,000. This means that by investing in a property worth at least USD 375, 000 in Mauritius, a foreigner can work and invest in Mauritius without a separate occupation permit. The other permit holders can still invest in Mauritius but needs to be careful how the income is derived.
4 – What is an Occupation permit in Mauritius?
An Occupation permit is the same as a residence permit, but it also allows the non-citizen to work. There are three main categories of occupation permit holders, an Investor, a Professional and someone self-employed. All 3 categories of occupation permit have their own set of rules which dictate the conditions of each Occupation Permit. There is also a short-term occupation permit for foreign nationals working here for up to 9 months with allowance for an extension of 3 months.
5 – Who is a Dependent of a Permit Holder in Mauritius?
A Dependent is a family member of a permit holder who is entitled to come to Mauritius and live here as long as the permit holder is authorised. The permit holder can bring a number of family members to Mauritius as Dependents. For an occupation permit, this includes the permit holder’s spouse (including Common Law Partner of the opposite sex), parents, and children, (including stepchildren and lawfully adopted children). The list of dependents varies slightly depending on the type of permit according to the Guidelines. The dependents are not allowed to work in Mauritius without their own permit. We suggest that you confirm the exact criteria with the relevant authority if you are unsure of a certain family member when you are looking to move forward.
6 – What are the different types of Occupation Permits in Mauritius?
We have listed the main 3 options for Occupation Permits below. These permits allow the holder to live and work in Mauritius and their Dependents to also get a residence permit. Bear in mind that there is a short-term occupation permit as well.
6(a)– Investor Permit (10 years)
With this permit you need to set up a Mauritian company, and transfer an initial investment amount of at least USD 50,000. This cash injection can be used for almost any business cost from the staff and rent to paying for the accounting and the stock. There are some special types of investor permit, such as the Innovator Permit requiring less investment and more focus on R & D in Mauritius. For renewal the company will need a minimum gross income of MUR 4 million per year from the 3rd year.
6(b) – Professional Permit (10 years)
This allows a non-citizen to work for a company, (that he or she does not own), for a minimum of MUR 60,000 per month or MUR 30,000 per month in the ICT sector. There are many strong local and global companies in Mauritius, from banks and accounting firms to pharmaceutical firms and PSPs. There are progressively more interesting roles in Mauritius with an influx of entrepreneurs and innovative firms.
6(c)– Self-employed Permit (10 years)
This requires it to be a one-person business. The self-employed person needs to show a source of funds of USD 35,000 in a local bank account in their name. They will need to have at least two contracts and letters of intent from potential clients to get this permit. For renewal the self-employed person will need at least MUR 800,000 per year from the 3rd year of registration.
7 – What are the different types of Residence Permit in Mauritius?
As explained above, a dependent of a permit holder also gets a residence permit. There are 3 main ways of getting a residence permit in Mauritius: by investment, by residence and by occupation.
7(a) – Getting residency in Mauritius by investment in real estate
One of the simplest ways to get residence is to acquire real estate in Mauritius. The basic requirements are that there is a minimum investment in the property of USD 375,000, and that it is in one of the specific schemes that the Economic Development Board (EDB) permits, such as the Property Development Scheme (PDS) or a Smart City. Getting a residence permit through property also allows you to work in Mauritius without a separate occupation permit. Expats should only consider buying a property once they know Mauritius well. You need to know where on the island you want to live, and follow the guidance of local experts. For more details: residence by investment.
7(b) – Residence Permits as a retired non-citizen
This is a very simple way of moving to Mauritius without having to commit to any investments here. The conditions are that the applicant is 50 years old or more, and is not intending to work or be employed in Mauritius. You can still work for companies abroad. One needs to transfer an average of USD 1,500 per month for the duration of your stay here. There is a lot of focus by developers and the Government to make Mauritius a dream retirement destination. There are specialist medical facilities and Senior Living accommodation throughout the island. The ability to scuba-dive, play golf and walk the beaches in numerous locations around the island adds some further draw to expats of retirement age.
8 – What is Permanent Residence Permit in Mauritius?
After 3 years in Mauritius on an occupation permit one can apply for a 20-year Permanent Residence Permit. One needs to satisfy certain turnover/income requirements to apply for this. This permanent residency program is really popular with foreign nationals looking for stability and longevity for their expat life in Mauritius.
An Investor’s company needs to have had a gross annual income of at least MUR 15m for the 3 preceding years. Alternatively an aggregate turnover of MUR 45m for the 3 years immediately preceding the application allows permanent residence. The investor needs to have already had the occupation permit for the 3 years preceding the application date.
An Investor who puts a minimum investment of USD 375,000 in an activity related to the agricultural-industry, audio-visual, cinema and communication, banking, construction, education, green products and production of green energy, financial services, fisheries and marine resources, Freeport, information technology, infrastructure, insurance, leisure, manufacturing, marina development, tourism, or warehousing can benefit from the permanent residency program.
A Professional needs to have had an occupation permit and a basic monthly salary of at least MUR 150,000. This must be for 3 consecutive years immediately preceding the application to benefit from the permanent residency program..
A Self-employed permit holder needs to have had an occupation permit and an annual business income of at least MUR 3 million. This must be for the 3 consecutive years immediately preceding the application to become a permanent resident.
A Retired permit holder needs to have had a residence permit and transferred at least USD 54,000 or its equivalent in freely convertible foreign currency. This must be during the period of 3 years preceding the application can become a permanent resident.
An existing PRP holder who satisfies the PRP criteria can apply for the 20-year Permanent Residency Permit instead of their existing 10 year PRP.
9 – How long does it take for a Permit to be processed in Mauritius?
In principle, one can expect 4 -6 weeks for an Occupation permit to be approved. For a non-citizen to buy a property there are a number of hurdles. Firstly, if the buyer is setting up a company to buy the property then this should be done first. This will likely be a domestic company and this will take around 4 weeks for the company set up and bank account. Once you have the bank account open you can make the application to the EDB for permission to buy the property. This will take approximately another 4 weeks. The sales deed can then be signed. If the development has reached the appropriate stage, then one can apply for permission to get a residence permit from the EDB. This can take several weeks.
10 – Is it an online application for permits in Mauritius?
Yes, it is an online application. The application for a residence permit or an occupation permit is completed on the EDB website. The online application for a permit in Mauritius is generally submitted on the applicant’s behalf by a local representative.
11 – Do you need to give original documents for the permit application in Mauritius?
For the initial submission of the online application for a Mauritian permit, you do not need to bring originals, scanned documents suffice as they are all uploaded. The EDB will give approval in principle, and then some further documents are uploaded. The originals must be brought to the appointment with the EDB.
12 – How much does it cost for an Occupation Permit or a Residence Permit in Mauritius?
The EDB processing fees for the Occupation permits are USD 1,000 per main application and USD 400 for each dependent. The fees for a local expert or agent to apply on your behalf varies greatly but expect between USD 2,000 to 4,000 for the main applicant and another USD 500 to 1,000 per dependent. These fees can be lowered when factoring the amount of dependents and if other services such as company formation, purchasing property, or other consultancy or concierge services are required.
13 – What is a work permit in Mauritius?
For expats, the work permit in Mauritius is ultimately the Occupation Permit. There are separate rules for work permits for different types of foreign workers. Spouses of Mauritians also have special rules. For the majority of expats, there are three main work permits (occupation permits) in Mauritius. These are the Investor, Professional and Self-Employed, all detailed above. The Occupation Permit in effect combines the residence permit and work permit into one single permit for the purpose of the expat. The work permit application is the online EDB application for occupation permits and residence permits. Work permits in Mauritius also relates to the special permits given to non-professionals from abroad who work for less than MUR 30,000. These work permit applications in Mauritius are then run through the Ministry of Labour but this is a very different process.
14 – What is a Business Permit in Mauritius?
There is no such thing as a Business Permit per se in Mauritius. It is likely to be one of the following items that has been mislabeled. It could be an occupation permit. This allows someone to work in Mauritius and in effect, do business here. A Business permit may also mean the licences one needs to trade in Mauritius. This could be a licence needed by the Financial Services Commission for example. Alternatively it could be trade licences to do activities locally. It could also just mean getting your Business Registration Number (BRN) when the company is setup.
15 – How can a Foreigner get Citizenship in Mauritius?
There are a variety of methods to acquire citizenship in Mauritius. This includes by naturalization also known as citizenship by investment, citizenship by registration or registering for Mauritian citizenship by having Mauritian parents. This would then give the foreign national the rights of a Mauritian nationality. Such rights include having a Mauritian passport, a Mauritian National Identity Card and even dual citizenship where relevant. The summaries below are simplistic, and we would recommend using local representatives to investigate these options further if any are of interest.
15(a) – Citizenship by marriage
The foreign spouse of a Mauritian citizen can get Mauritian Citizenship by registration. This is if he/she has resided with his/her spouse under the same conjugal roof in Mauritius for an aggregate period of four years immediately preceding the date of his application
15(b) – Mauritius citizenship by investment
According to the Mauritius Citizenship act, a foreign investor can acquire Mauritius Citizenship through investment (also known as naturalisation to become a Mauritian citizen) provided that 2 conditions are met:
The non-citizen has invested a sum of not less than 500,000 US dollars in Mauritius and has resided in Mauritius for a continuous period of not less than 2 years preceding the date of his application.
Although this immigration regulation exists, the Mauritian authorities will not make this an automatic right for Mauritian citizenship; many hurdles must be overcome.
15(c) – Citizenship by adoption
As it sounds, a foreign national can get citizenship by adoption if the adoption has been legally effected in Mauritius and the parents are Mauritian citizens.
15(d) – Citizenship by registration
A child will get Mauritian citizenship by registration if he is born in Mauritius before 1st October 1995, of either Mauritian or foreign parents. Alternatively, if he is born in Mauritius after 1st October 1995 and if either of his parents is a citizen of Mauritius. Lastly a person born outside Mauritius is a citizen of Mauritius if either of his parents is a citizen of Mauritius by birth.
In addition to these, if a non-citizen has held residence here for a continuous period of 2 years and has invested over USD 5 million dollars or its equivalent in Mauritius, they are eligible to apply for registration/ naturalisation as a citizen of Mauritius. It must be stated that getting Mauritian citizenship is highly unlikely for most people and your best chance will always arrive by being a significant investor in Mauritius or marrying a beautiful local!
16 – What Visa should a foreigner get at the airport?
All information regarding visas and rights of entry is to be found on the Passport and Immigration Office website. A tourist visa is required for coming as a tourist (naturally), but it is also used for those on retired status and for dependents. The tourist visa cannot be converted to a business visa, nor into an occupation permit. The business visa is used if you are coming on business, as well as when applying for an occupation permit or when investing in real estate and getting a permit through the purchase.
17 – What are the Mauritius Visa Requirements?
The Mauritius Visa Requirements vary, depending on the country of origin. For some foreign nationals travelling to Mauritius, no visa is required, while for some, a visa is required prior to travel. For other countries, a visa is issued upon arrival. To know about the Mauritius visa free countries and visa requirements for other countries, be sure to check the PIO website. For foreign citizens who require a visa, the Mauritius Visa Requirements are, but not limited to the following criteria:
- Visa Application Form duly filled in and signed by applicant.
- Two recent passport-size photos of the applicant.
- Photocopy of the data pages of applicant’s passport.
- A copy of the Residence Permit. (Applicable for applicants not residing in their country of origin). Same to be valid for at least three months after proposed date of departure from Mauritius.
- Copy of passage ticket to country of origin or residence.
- Copy of bank statement for the last three months.
- Hotel Booking for accommodation (if sponsored by a Citizen of Mauritius, to produce evidence of sponsorship, Copy of ID and proof of address)
What TBI Business Advisors can do for you
- We will have a Zoom/ Teams call or email exchange to understand your requirements.
- We will advise on the appropriate permit or visa for coming to Mauritius.
- A detailed proposal with clear costs, timeframes and explanations will be sent.
- We will assemble the documents and make the application on your behalf.
- We can assist with setting up companies if you are an investor or just creating a business here.
- Looking for property. We can assist with the finding and purchasing of property, and setting up of an entity to purchase through.
- We can assist with relocation tasks such as helping with schools, accommodation, insurance, choosing locations.
- The directors can act as Commissioner for Oaths.
- We can assist with other business advice and can bring in law firms as and when required.