Foreign nationals enjoy equal treatment with Iranian citizens under the Iranian Civil Code provided that reciprocal agreements have been concluded with the foreign country concerned. The investor should ascertain the existence of any agreements between Iran and his own country which might affect his status.
Companies established in Iran with foreign capital are considered Iranian and are therefore subject to the same laws and entitled to the same rights as any native entity. Thus, the regulations discussed below deal only with the status of foreign individuals .
ENTRY, RESIDENCE AND EXIT
Permission for entry into, or transit through Iran must be obtained from consular representatives abroad. Single or multiple trip visas may be issued. Any foreign national, other than diplomatic representatives, must obtain a residence permit from the Central Police Administration if he plans to reside in Iran for longer that three months. Residence is classified as temporary, or as permanent. The foreigner declares his legal residences to be in Iran. Issuance and renewal of residence permits is contingent upon application for, or possession of , a work permit. The validity of a temporary residence permit may not exceed that of a work permit .
Any foreigner leaving after a stay of longer than three months, must also obtain an exit visa. Proof that taxes have been paid to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Finance must be presented to the Police upon application.
Foreign national must obtain a work permit from the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs prior to commencing employment. Exceptions are foreign specialists employed by international organizations, aid institutions. Prospective investors should notify the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs of their intention to employ foreign nationals and obtain approval prior to the time said employees apply for work permits.
The policy governing work permits depends upon the manpower needs of the country. As technically skilled personnel are in short supply, companies performing specialized work have had little difficulty in obtaining permits for professionals and technicians.
Permits must be renewed every year. The Ministry of Labor is empowered to cancel the work permit of any foreign national whose services for any reason, are considered inexpedient.
Foreigners are subject to income tax on all income earned in Iran. The salary or wages earned in Iran is taxed in the same manner as of the Iranians ( please see Taxation, P:14 ) . The only exceptions are diplomatic representatives or foreign experts who are sent with the consent of the Iranian Government by foreign states or international institutions under technological, economic , scientific or cultural aid grants. Salaries received from their respective governments or from said international institutions are exempt from tax in Iran.
Foreign employees of companies registered under the Law for the Attraction and Protection of Foreign Investments are generally permitted to remit up to half of their after – tax salaries to their native countries every three months.
OWNERSHIP OF REAL PROPERTY
Foreign nationals may own or lease real property in Iran provided such property is for commercial or industrial use, or for a personal residence. Foreigners may not own agricultural lands.
According to “the Regulations Concerning Acquisition of Property by Foreign Nationals in Iran” , foreigners who wish to acquire a property in Iran should first refer to the local Registry Office, fill in the appropriate form(s) containing information regarding the particulars of the property , purpose of ownership and personal information.
The forms) is then transferred by the Iranian Land Registration Office to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for further consideration in accordance with the “ principle of reciprocity “. The final results and comments are declared to the Iranian Land Registration Office, through which the applicant will be accordingly informed in due course.
Should the foreigner decide to terminate his residence in Iran, he must transfer his property , within six months from his departure to Iranians or to foreigners possessing licenses for ownership, otherwise , the local Registration Office will sell the property by adjudication. This provision is reciprocal and will not be enforced unless the country of the foreigner in question has similar laws concerning foreign ownership of property.