SA Home Affairs extends Zimbabweans permit deadline
Home Affairs Director in South Africa announced that the closing date for the almost 200 000 Zimbabweans living and working in South Africa to apply for their Zimbabwe Exemption Permit (ZEP) has been extended to January 31, 2018.
Home Affairs Director said by the end of September 2018, home affairs would have completed the ZEP project, including finalising adjudication and issuing the new permits. "Due to the large number of Zimbabwe Special Permit holders who have completed the online applications thus far, the department has extended the closing date for the submission of supporting documents and biometrics to January 31, 2018. Therefore, people must present themselves to visa facilitation services offices.
"We emphasise that the November 30 deadline is only for submission of online applications. Flooding of VFS offices actually defeats the aim of using technology to improve service delivery. Just as it is comfortable to apply for exemption permits at home, where you do not have to queue, we want to ensure that people are not subjected to the discomfort of spending hours in a queue."
The extension, up to January 31, 2018, is only for scheduling appointments for the purpose of submitting biometrics (fingerprints] and supporting documents at VFS offices."
ZSP holders were urge to complete their online applications, to make to necessary payments, and schedule appointments by November 30 at any of the 10 VFS Global offices across South Africa.
ZEP permits will be issued for a maximum period of four years, effective January 2018 and expiring on December 31, 2021, notwithstanding the date of issue.
Home Affairs official thanked Zimbabweans based in South Africa for increasingly shifting from the special dispensation permits to the mainstream permits issued under South Africa’s immigration legislation.
"There is no requirement for ZSP holders to apply for [other] permits outside South Africa. They can apply for mainstream permits in the country. ZSP holders who want to travel outside South Africa for the festive season will be able to do so. They only need to produce their passports with the ZSP stickers, and their ZEP application stickers."
Under the special dispensation granted by Pretoria in 2014, Zimbabweans who had previously been granted permits under the Dispensation for Zimbabweans Project were allowed to re-register for the "non-renewable" three-year ZSP.
The ZSP has now been replaced by the ZEP.