Angola

General Information Entry and Exit Requirements
Banking Intellectual Property
Business Etiquette Tips Legal and Registration of a Business Entity
Embassy Locations and Registration Safety and Crime
Employment-Legal Requirements Taxes

General Information

AngolaLocated in southwest central Africa, Angola is considered one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. It has estimated reserves of 10 billion barrels of oil, one of Africa's largest water reserves, and is the fourth-largest producer of diamonds in the world. This country was once the world's fourth-largest coffee producer, a major iron ore producer, and an exporter of high-quality marble, food, and sisal. Ethnic, political, and economic deficiencies were much of the source of a 27-year-long civil war that followed the rejection of a forced labor system that replaced the institution of slavery late in the 19th century. The government has initiated extensive infrastructure reconstruction and development projects following the destruction wrought by this conflict. 

There may be political unrest and/or targeted crime against visitors to the country.  Travelers should check with the U.S. State Department Web site for current travel safety information.

Major Cities Huambo and Benguela
Official Currency Angolan kwanza (AZ)
Time Zone UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, D.C. during Standard Time)
Language Portuguese (official), Ovimbundu, Kimbundu, Bakongo, and others

Legal System and Government

Type of Legal System

Angola has a civil-law-based legal system with legislation serving as the primary source of law. It is tenuously based upon Portuguese and customary law, and all agreements are advised to be in writing to be enforceable. Commercial contract enforcement is lengthy and nearly double the regional average. It can take as long as three or more years to settle.

Form of Government

Republic, with a multiparty presidential regime

Alternative Resolution or Mediation Programs

Voluntary arbitration law

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Banking

Two of Angola's three major banks are privately owned. Exchange residents (including representation offices, branches of foreign companies, incorporated companies, etc.) are allowed to open and move hard currency accounts into banks that operate in Angola. The Banco Nacional de Angola defines the conditions and terms under which exchange residents can open hard currency bank accounts. But it should be noted that stateside accounts are recommended for private use.

Available Banking Services

ATM
Internet Banking and e-statment 
Overdraft protection in some banks

Bank Holidays

New Year's Day
Colonial Repression Martyrs' Day
Luanda Day (Luanda only)
Beginning of Armed Upraising 
Carnival
Women's' Day 
Good Friday
Day of Peace and Reconciliation
Earth Day
Labor Day 
Luanda International Theater Festival 
Africa Day 
Children's Day 
Angola International Mining Fair (FIMA)
Feira Internacional de Luanda (FILDA) 
Feira Internacional de Angola (FILDA) 
Parliamentary Election 
President Neto's Birthday Anniversary 
International Day of Action to Eradicate Global Poverty 
United Nations Day 
All Souls' Day
Independence Day 
Universal Children's Day
World AIDS Day
Human Rights Day
Christmas Day 

U.S. and Other Major Banks in Country
(Note: Addresses and contact information subject to change.)

Banco Sol S.A.R.L.
International private company
Rua Rei Katyavala n 110/112
Luanda, Angola
Phone: +244-222-44-0330
Fax: +244-222-44-0226
Web: http://www.bancosol.ao

Banco Comercial Angolano
Caixa Postal 6900,
Avenida Comandante Valodia 83A
Luanda, Angola
Phone: +244-222-44-8848
Fax:  +244-222-44-9516

Banco Nacional de Angola
The Central Bank of Angola
151, Av. 4 de Fevereiro, No. 151
Luanda, Angola
Phone: +244-222-39-9125
Fax:  +244-222-39-0579, 39-4986
Web: http://www.bna.ao

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Business Etiquette Tips

Business Attire

Lightweight suits are recommended. Many Angolan businesspeople dress casually, wearing open-neck shirts. Dark colors are favored for social occasions.

Business Negotiations

Since Portuguese is the official language, knowledge of it is an advantage in business transactions. French and Spanish are also useful. Preparations should be made prior to arriving in Angola for translation services if required, as there are limited services available. It is recommended when possible to avoid the months of June to September as Angolans tend to take annual holidays at this time.

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Embassy Locations and Registration

Americans living or traveling in Angola are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate through the State Department's travel registration Web site so that they can obtain updated information on travel and security within Angola. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the embassy or consulate to contact them in case of emergency.

(Note: Addresses and contact information subject to change.)

Embassy of Angola
2100-2108 16th Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
Phone:  202.785.1156
Fax:  202.822.9049
E-mail: angola@angola.org
Web:  http://angola.org/

U.S. Embassy in Angola
Rua Houari Boumedienne #32
Luanda, Angola
C.P. 6468
Phone: +244-222-64-1000, +244-222-44-5481, +244-222-44-7028, +244-222-44-6224
Fax: +244-222-64-1232
Economic and commercial section e-mail: luandacommercial@state.gov
Web:  http://angola.usembassy.gov/

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Employment-Legal Requirements

There is a standard probationary period of six months, after which time terminated employees have the right to appeal to a labor court. Angolan law mandates equal pay for equal work. This stipulation is to ensure that Angolan and expatriate staff performing the same or similar jobs receive equal pay. The maximum term of a fixed-term contract is 12 months.

A typical work week is 44 hours over a six-day week, eight hours per day for a full-time employee, though if responding to a temporary production increase or special circumstances the work week may extend up to 54 hours.

Terminating Employees

The cost of terminating an employee who has completed six months can be as much as 58.5 weeks worth of wages. Most employers elect to work out an agreement between the employee and the company in lieu of going to court. 

Legally Mandated Benefits and Leave

Sick leave, annual vacation, and three months of maternity leave are available for the majority of full-time employees in addition to a special 13th month bonus. But the information contained here does not represent a comprehensive list of employee benefits available in Angola. Documents (written in Portuguese) citing more detailed information can be found on the International Labor Organization's Web site.

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Entry and Exit Requirements

All foreign nationals wishing to enter Angola must possess a valid passport and visa. A travelers' visa takes up to seven days to be processed, and allows a stay of up to 90 days.

Work Visas

Work visas are required to be initiated in the country of origin and sent via the consular office to the Angolan Migration Services and Aliens for approval. It is recommended that first-time applicants apply for an ordinary visa while waiting for approval of a work visa. Processing can take 45 days or longer, but the visa is valid for two years with multiple entries permitted.

To obtain more information for obtaining either an ordinary or work visa go to the Angolan Embassy Web site.  In addition to an application, the following documents (translated into Portuguese) should be submitted to the authorities: two passport copies, a photograph, a medical certificate, a police report, proof of financial means, and a signed labor contract.

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Intellectual Property

Intellectual property information is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Industry (in Portuguese) in Angola. 

Enforcement

Angola is a member of several international patent protection bodies including the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Intellectual Property, the World International Property Organization, the Patent Cooperation Treaty, the World Trade Organization, and a member and signatory to TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) Agreement.

Angola is working to strengthen existing patent protection and legislation, which is weak due to a lack of enforcement capacity. Patents are protected for 15 years following the filing date and require payment of annual maintenance fees.

Trademarks are protected for 10 years following the initial date of application and renewed in further increments of 10 years. Angola follows international patent classifications of patents, products, and services to identify and codify requests for patents and trademark registration.

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Legal and Registration of a Business Entity

The principal forms of business enterprise in Angola are a branch (obligations entered into by the branch are binding on the foreign company) and as a subsidiary company, which can be set up in different ways.

Angolan Commercial Law provides for different kinds of legal structures, of which the most important are limited liability partnerships (Sociedade por Quotas, or LDAs) and share companies (Sociedade Anonima, or SARL). Both are limited liability company structures, and both have to be formed by notarized deed and registered in the Angolan Commercial Registry.  Other forms of interest include a branch of a nonresident company and a joint venture.

Registration Formalities (Including Timing)

The World Bank identifies Angola as the most time-consuming country in which to establish a business despite the country's recent efforts to reduce the registration time frame through the establishment of a one-stop shop for foreign business owners and investors. It is important to note that business registration can take from 70 to 124 days to complete. 

Typical steps for registering a limited liability partnership or LDA in Angola include: 

  1. Search for a unique company name and pick up the relevant certificate
  2. Deposit the legally required initial capital in a bank and obtain deposit evidence; pay the registration fee
  3. Verify the company documents at the Guichet Unico
  4. Obtain NIF at Guichet Unico
  5. Notarize company draft documents, register the company and pay registration fees at Guichet Unico
  6. Obtain the Commercial Operations Permit from the Ministry of Commerce
  7. Legalize the inventory and diary books with the Tax Office
  8. Legalize the inventory and diary books with the judge of the provincial court having jurisdiction over the area of the company's headquarters 

All of these steps can be completed through the Guichet Unico (one-stop shop).

(Source:  The World Bank, Doing Business - Angola)

Below is a listing of additional resources that may also assist in establishing an office.  (Use of a translation tool to obtain the English version may be required.  Google offers one that works fairly well.)

The U.S. embassy strongly recommends use of an Angolan lawyer and preparation of a binding contract prior to any business dealings, including the rental or lease of space.  All investments over a set amount require government approval.

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Safety and Crime

The overall security situation in Angola has improved, but travelers are advised to exercise caution traveling throughout the country. Ground travel throughout Angola is still dangerous due to land mines planted extensively during the war. Overall travel is considered safe, but visitors are cautioned to avoid traveling after dark, be aware of their surroundings, and be prepared for frequent checkpoints. In particular, traveling outside of Cabinda city can be especially precarious without proper permission and documentation.

As in most large cities, the most common crimes are pick-pocketing, purse-snatching, vehicle theft, and vehicle break-ins.  In general, movement around Luanda is safer by day than by night. Air travelers arriving in Luanda are strongly advised to arrange reliable and secure ground transportation in advance. There is no regular taxi service.  Avoidance of "candongueiros" or "taxistas" (unregulated multipassenger vans) is advised for all travelers. If driving in Angola, contact the Embassy of Angola on driving regulations inside Angola.

Special note: Fines and possible arrest can result when taking unauthorized photographs of sites and installations of military or security interest, including government buildings.

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Taxes

The Minister of Finance can decide, on a case-by-case basis, to provide tax exemptions or tax reductions for companies investing in fundamental areas of the Angolan economy.

The "taxation year" is defined as the calendar year ending on December 31st.  There is no signed tax treaty between Angola and the United States. Both residents and nonresidents are taxed on all employment and business-related income derived in Angola. 

Individual and Employee Taxation

Personal income tax is payable by all Angolan residents and nonresidents on all income obtained from an activity in Angola. Taxable income includes all employment income, such as wages, salaries, leave payments, fees, gratuities, bonuses, and premiums or allowances paid or granted by reason of employment, in cash or in kind. Foreign nationals working in Angola are treated as Angola citizens for income tax purposes. Whether declared as a tax resident or not, a foreign national is taxed on income earned in Angola.

Determining Tax Residence

Residence is established when an individual resides more than 183 days each year or occupies a permanent residence,with the intention of making that a permanent residence by December 31st.

Nontax Resident Employees

Nonresidents are also subject to taxation on all income obtained in Angola. The personal tax law imposes a monthly withholding tax on salaries and other employment income paid by the companies.

Corporate and Employer Tax Obligations

A company is considered a resident corporation if its head office or management is located in Angola. Resident companies are taxed on their worldwide income whereas nonresident companies are taxed only on their Angola-sourced income. The standard corporate tax rate applicable to resident and nonresident corporations is identical and is due on the 31st of May of the following year of which the tax is owed.

Salaries and additional remuneration are subject to social security contributions which are higher for employers than for employees. Foreign workers are subject to social security taxes unless able to prove that they are already covered by another country's social security plan, in which case they are then exempt from this payment.

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Online Resources Used for This Template

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