What is the situation?

Last year the Department of Home Affairs announced that Zimbabwean Exemption Permits (ZEPs) would not be renewed when they expired on 31 December 2021, but later they announced a 12-month grace period until 31 December 2022.

For now, no ZEP holder can be arrested, detained, or ordered to depart for not having a valid exemption permit. You may also enter into or depart from South Africa during this time period.


What is expected of you now?

You need to find out if you qualify for any mainstream visa under the Immigration Act and apply:
  • You can approach the Department of Home Affairs for further info.
  • You can apply through the VFS (Visa Facilitation Services) on their website vfsglobal.com/dha/southafrica/.
  • You can also email a copy of your ZEP permit and your CV to enquiries@immigration.org.za to get feedback on whether you qualify.

Unfortunately, we cannot advise any further on application procedures because we are not experts.

What will happen if you don’t get a visa?

From 1 January 2023 you will be considered an illegal immigrant unless you have obtained a mainstream visa. You will either have to leave the country or you will be deported.

It will also be illegal for us to continue employing you as we risk a fine and up to a year in prison.

What if something changes?

This matter has not been exhaustively tested in court. There are likely to be several challenges from human rights groups and other organisations, but you should not wait for those outcomes before seeking out your own visa.

Be pro-active and start your application process as soon as possible.

We will keep you updated of any changes as well as relevant information moving forward.