Zimbabwean Exemption Permit: 10 Facts You Should Know About The New Permit


The Home Affairs Department had on Friday, September 8, announced a new permit for documented Zimbabweans in South Africa.The new permit is called the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit, will allow Zimbabweans to stay in the country for a maximum of four years.

The new permit is called the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit, will allow Zimbabweans to stay in the country for a maximum of four years.

A special Dispensation Programme which was launched in 2014 expired in December 2016. It allowed many Zimbabweans to live and work in South Africa legally.

The Zimbabwean Special Dispensation permit (ZSP) which has now been reviewed was the successor to a permit issued as part of the Home Affairs department’s rather clumsily named Dispensation of Zimbabweans Project (DZP) which was implemented in April 2009.

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The aim of the DZP was to create a record of Zimbabweans who had, until then, been living illegally in South Africa. It was also intended to provide an amnesty to Zimbabweans who had been using fraudulent South African identity documents.

Like its predecessor, the newly announced Zimbabwean Exemption Permit programme is said to further put a check on the number of illegal immigrants from Zimbabwe and to provide amnesty for those in Zimbabwe for fraudulent purposes.

Here are some facts about the newly announced  Zimbabwean Exemption Permit

  • The permit, named the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit (ZEP), will allow Zimbabweans to stay in the country for a maximum of four years.
  • Application for ZEP will enter into force from 15th of September 2017 and will be valid until December 2021
  • Only people with valid Zimbabwean Special Permits can apply.
  • Applications are valid only for those currently holding a Zimbabwe Special Permit (ZSP).
  • Applicants must be in possession of a valid Zimbabwe passport and proof of employment, business or
    the study, depending on the purpose of the stay.
  • The cut-off date for submission of applications is November 30 and an administrative fee of R1,090 will be charged.
  • Holders of the current Zimbabwe Special Permit (ZSP), which expires in December, are allowed to travel across borders with expired ZSP permits and receipts showing they have applied for the ZEP, until the South African government has issued them with the ZEP permits
  • Prospective applicants to submit applications online from September 15, through the VFS website,”
  • From October, the applicants will be allocated appointments to submit fingerprints and supporting documents physically at VFS Global offices in Durban, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Johannesburg, Rustenburg, Kimberley, Polokwane, Nelspruit, Bloemfontein and George.

There are approximately 250 000 citizens of Zimbabwe who live in South Africa with legal documentation and it is believed that the number of those in the country illegally far exceeds that of those with valid permits.

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Meanwhile, Chargé d’Affaires at the Zimbabwean High Commission in Pretoria, Tamuka Robert Nyamuranga, extended gratitude to the government of South Africa “for the generous offer that they have made to thousands of Zimbabwean but urged that the South African government extends the new Zimbabwean Exemption Permit (ZEP) to Zimbabweans in SA illegally.

“This is an act of solidarity, an act of good neighbourliness. I know there are many Zimbabwean nationals who have been living and working in South Africa, and they have made a meaningful contribution to the development of South Africa and to the implementation of the National Development Plan,” said Nyamuranga.

“I would like to call on fellow Zimbabweans, those who hold the ZSP, to come forward as soon as VFS opens for applications on September 15, and avoid the last minute rush that normally occurs in situations like this. I want to thank the minister once more” Nyamuranga said.