Cape Town - The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) has extended the deadline for submissions of supporting documents and biometrics for Zimbabwean Exemption Permit (ZEP) applications to 31 January 2018.
DHA issued an advisory to South African banks, employers and learning institutions to note that applicants of the ZEP who are in possession of the ZSP - that expires on 31 December 2017 - must be allowed to continue their employment services until they have received their new ZEP, which is effective from 01 January 2018.
This is on condition that the permit-holder submits proof of application for either a ZEP or for the mainstream visa. The proof of application may be a VFS receipt or proof of payment.
ALSO SEE: UPDATE: DHA extends biometrics deadline for Zim permits
DHA says that applicants will still be able to make transactions and have access to their bank accounts "while their applications are being adjudicated".
DHA has also notified officials at ports of entry "to allow those who wish to travel to Zimbabwe to do so without hindrance as long as they produce the necessary proof of application."
See more details here:
In August 2017, DHA announced that they will reopen the Zimbabwean Special Permit (ZSP) reapplications under a new project called Zimbabwean Exemption Permit (ZEP). Reapplication costs R1 090 and is only open to valid ZSP permit-holders.
SEE: DHA announces extended festive season hours for 'busy' SA ports of entry
ZEP application process
David Hlabane of DHA told Traveller24 that there are two parts to the application process.
First is the online application (deadline was 30 November 2017) and second is a physical visit to a VFS office to submit supporting documents and biometric data (deadline now extended to 31 January 2018). Appointments must be made to collect biometric data such as fingerprints and photos, as well as supporting documents, says Hlabane.
Hlabane told Traveller24 that this extension to the second part of the application process is an attempt to reduce long queues at VFS offices.
With the extension, they can now complete their online application and have more time for the physical visit, thereby alleviating the congestion that ZEP applicants are experiencing at VFS offices.
Home Affairs Director-General, Mkuseli Apleni, says that "Since 1 October 2017, applicants were allocated appointments for the required submission of fingerprints and supporting documents to VFS. To date, 169 078 ZSP holders have completed their applications online, and 135 913 have scheduled their appointments. A total of 72 612 applicants have completed the entire process. The entire process includes honouring their appointments with VFS and submitting supporting documents and biometrics."
SEE: Update: Home Affairs announce Zim special permit reapplications
The permit will be valid for a maximum of four years until 31 December 2021, regardless of the date of application.
Zimbabwean Exemption Permit Centres are now open in 10 cities within South Africa, and the applications will be assessed by the Department in Pretoria.
Here's where applicants need to apply at VFS Global offices:
"By the end of September 2018, we should have completed the whole project, including finalising adjudications and issuing the new permits," says Apleni.
Apleni says that there is no requirement for ZSP holders to apply for 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 receipts."
SEE: UPDATE: How to apply for a Zim Exemption Permit
Importance of applying for ZEP permit
DHA encourages current ZSP holders to apply for the permit “to move out of the dispensation and apply for mainstream visas”.
Former minister Hlengiwe Mkhize said that the importance of registering as a migrant in establishing “a national identity system which is secured”.
There are a few steps to follow when applying for the permit. Click here for more information on what you need to do.
Apleni adds that "exemption permits are not permanent or long-term. They are there only to serve a specific purpose, with a view ultimately to having people returning to their countries of origin to build their lives anew."
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- UPDATE: How to apply for a Zim Exemption Permit
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