On Friday, 8 September 2017, the Minister of the Department of Home Affairs (DHA), Prof. Hlengiwe Mkhize, revealed the requirements and processes of the newly-announced Zimbabwean Exemption Permits (ZEPs).
The Zimbabwean Exemption Permits replace 2014’s Zimbabwean Special Permits (ZSPs) and the Special Dispensation Permits for Zimbabweans (DZPs) which were issued in 2010.
The series of special permits for Zimbabweans make it easier for Zimbabwean nationals to legalise their stay in South Africa by cutting red tape and dispensing with most of the ordinary visa requirements.
Zimbabweans are the largest single group of foreign nationals in South Africa, with some estimating that there are more than one million Zimbabweans in the country.
Zimbabwean Exemption Permit
Subject to restrictive conditions
Only existing holders of Zimbabwean Special Permits will be allowed to apply for the new Zimbabwean Exemption Permits.
New applicants, who are not currently in possession of a Zimbabwean Special Permit, will not be allowed to apply for the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit.
Once issued, Zimbabwean Exemption Permit holders will not be allowed to change the conditions attached to their Zimbabwean Exemption Permit.
A Zimbabwean Exemption Permit issued for the purposes of the study, for example, cannot at a later stage be converted to a Zimbabwean Exemption Permit for the purposes of work. Graduating students will be expected to apply for ordinary work visas after graduation.
Zimbabwean Exemption Permits will be issued for up to 4 years and cannot be extended or renewed. Holders will not qualify for permanent residency, regardless of the period of stay in South Africa.
Applicants will be required to submit a valid Zimbabwean passport, which must remain valid for the entire duration of the required visa, as well as evidence of employment, evidence of being in business, or evidence of study (as applicable).
Applications open shortly
Zimbabwean Exemption Permit applications will be received from 15 September 2017 and will close on 30 November 2017. From 1 January 2018, applicants will be allowed to travel without being declared undesirable if in possession of a copy of their expired ZSP and a Zimbabwean Exemption Permit application submission receipt.
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