South African Home Affairs Visa Extension: What It Means to Zimbabwean ZEP Holders

South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs has directed people seeking long-term visas and waivers to be permitted to stay in South Africa until December 31st this year. The extension does not apply to Zimbabwe Exemption Permit (ZEP) holders whose permits expire on June 30 this year.
In a statement, the government said, “The Department of Home Affairs extends the blanket concession to 31 December 2023 for long-term visa or waiver applicants who are awaiting outcomes of their applications.
“The decision means that long term visa or waiver applicants are permitted to legally remain in the country until 31 December 2023, pending the finalisation of their applications. Those that are travelling on passports issued by countries that are not visa exempted, are required to apply for a visitor’s visa to return to South Africa until their applications have been finalised.”
The Department of Home Affairs further said, “This concession is only applicable to applicants who have submitted an application via VFS before or on 31 March 2023. All visitors on short term visas whose validity was issued for less than 90 days are excluded from the concession and are required to depart before or on the date of expiry of the validity period of their visas.”
It’s not yet clear if this will affect Zimbabweans, who are ZEP holders and are currently looking for new visas and waivers.
Zimbabwe Exemption Permit holders are awaiting the outcome of their visa and waiver applications following the termination of the special program. ZEP holders were expected to stay in South Africa until the end of June this year.
There are more than 178,000 ZEP holders. In November 2021, South Africa’s Cabinet indicated that it will not make further concessions for ZEP holders, who were then given a grace period to migrate to other mainstream permits. They have until the end of June this year to get documented after which some will have to return home. In a statement on Wednesday, the Department of Home Affairs said it is extending the deadline to December 31 this year for applicants who are awaiting outcomes of the applications.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s