What is the change? The Afghanistan Investment Support Agency has begun accepting applications for new, three-year business licenses for U.S. and NATO defense contractors.

What does the change mean? Contractors will be required to have business licenses in order to continue operating in Afghanistan past June 1. Contractors who do not have a valid business license should apply for one as soon as possible. Those contractors who possess a valid business license do not have to obtain a new license until their existing license expires.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing. Defense contractors are required to register with AISA by June 1.
  • Visas/permits affected: Three-year business licenses.
  • Who is affected: U.S. and NATO contractors planning to remain in Afghanistan past June 1.
  • Impact on processing times: AISA reports that processing will take roughly nine business days, a period that includes the time it takes for attestation of documents. Contractors should prepare for the possibility of delays, however, if there is a rush to obtain business licenses before the June 1 deadline.
  • Business impact: Contractors need an AISA business license not only to continue operating in Afghanistan, but also to obtain multiple-entry and exit visas for their employees.

Background: On Dec. 31, Afghanistan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani issued Presidential Decree #38, which requires U.S. and NATO contractors to register with AISA and obtain a valid business license in order to continue operating in Afghanistan past June 1. BAL reported on April 2 that AISA was close to finalizing procedures. Regulations were completed and AISA began issuing the new, three-year business licenses to U.S. and NATO contractors on April 13.

Among new requirements, contractors are required to provide a copy of a lease agreement with their address in order to obtain a license. Contractors with offices inside the U.S.-NATO camp will be required to provide a letter from the camp’s administrative department confirming its office address. Additionally, contractors seeking to register a branch office must provide a copy of a board resolution; no such resolution is required for independent companies operating in Afghanistan.

BAL Analysis: Contractors who do not have a valid business license or whose license will expire before June 1 should apply for a license as soon as possible.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Afghanistan. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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