Zimbabweans whose seven-year special dispensation visas will run out in December have been given a reprieve.
Many had feared they would have to return to Zimbabwe and leave their livelihoods behind them in SA.
However‚ the South African government announced that Zimbabweans on special dispensation visas‚ which were issued in 2010 and expire in December‚ can apply for new visas called Zimbabwe exemption permits (ZEPs).
Here’s what you need to know.
1. What is the special dispensation visa?
The special dispensation visa was introduced in 2010 and allowed Zimbabweans working in SA to gain legal status here. Almost 200‚000 people were granted three-year visas‚ which were extended for a further four years until the end of 2017.
2. Who is eligible for the ZEP?
The ZEP is open only for those already in possession of a valid Zimbabwe Special Permit.
3. How much will the new visa cost?
Home Affairs Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize announced the new visa will cost R1‚090.
4. How long will it be valid for?
The permits will be issued for a maximum period of four years‚ effective from 1 January 2018 and expiring on 31 December 2021.
5. What do you need?
A valid Zimbabwean passport.
Evidence of employment‚ such as a letter from your employer‚ in the case of an application for work rights.
Evidence of business‚ in the case of an application for business rights.
Admission letter from a recognised learning institution‚ in the case of an application for study rights.
6. How do I apply?
Zimbabweans can apply for the exemption permits between September 15 and November 30 at visa facilitation services offices. Prospective applicants are urged to submit applications online: www.vfsglobal.com/ZEP/SouthAfrica
Thereafter applicants will be allocated appointments for the required submission of fingerprints and supporting documents from October 1 2017.
7. When is the cutoff?
The cutoff date for applications is November 30 2017.
8. Does the visa allow me to get permanent residency?
No‚ the new visa still denies Zimbabweans permanent residency in SA.
To find out more about the ZEP click here