As announced and reported in our August newsletter, the approximately 200 000 Zimbabweans who live in South Africa holding a special dispensation permit (formerly DZP, then ZDP) have been given the opportunity to extend their status once more.

The deadline for online applications for what is now called the ZEP (Zimbabwe Exemption Permit) is 30 November 2017. Thereafter, applicants need to present to one of the VFS offices nationwide to submit their supporting documents. Due to the high number of online applications received, and concern about VFS offices being flooded with ZEP applicants, the closing date for submission to VFS has now thankfully been extended to 31 January 2018.

Home Affairs expects to have all ZEP applications finalized and permits issued by 30 September 2018. ZEP permits will be issued for four years with an expiry date of 31 December 2021.

Change to another visa type: After the August announcement of the ZEP project, the previous Minister of Home Affairs, Dr. Hlengiwe Mkhize, stated publicly that ZDP holders could also apply for other “mainstream” visa from within the country and would not have to go back to Zimbabwe to do so. In practise, however, the Department and VFS did not allow any such applications. This situation continued in spite of written confirmations rom senior officials at the Department’s Head Office.

With the announcement of the above-mentioned extension of deadline, the Director-General Mr Mkuseli Apleni again confirmed that ZSP holders could make their application for other visa categories inside the country. The first positive results of this nature have been received by IMCOSA, and we estimate the success rate now to be above 50% and rising.

ZEP applicants may travel home over the festive season without their applications being affected. According to Apleni, they only need to present their passports with the ZDP permits as well as the ZEP application stickers in them.

If you or your employees require assistance with the process, please contact our consultants.