Press Statement: Zimbabwean Exemption Permits (ZEPs)


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The Minister of Home Affairs is committed to affording affected Zimbabwean nationals another opportunity to apply for appropriate visas or waivers provided for in the Immigration Act.

After careful consideration, the Minister decided to extend the period of operation of current Zimbabwean Exemption Permits by a further six months, which will expire on 30 June 2023.

The directive containing the decision of the Minister will be communicated through diplomatic channels to the Zimbabwean Ambassador in South Africa.

The Department of Home Affairs calls upon all the effected Zimbabweans to make use of this window as there will be no further extension granted by the Minister.

During the further six months period the following is to be adhered to:

  • During the six-month extension the effected Zimbabweans must apply for alternative visas provided for in the Immigration Act, and not wait for the last moment to lodge their applications. It should be noted that each of the visa types have their own requirements and both employers and employees are required to familiarise themselves with the requirements of each of the visas.

  • During the grace period ZEP holders must still be provided with financial services and they would still be entitled to legally work in the country.

  • Employers with employees who are permit holders should reasonably assist these employees to gain the necessary permits within the grace period where possible.

  • No holder of an exemption permit may be arrested, ordered to depart, or be detained for the purpose of deportation or deported in in terms of section 34 of the Immigration Act for any reason related him or her not having a valid exemption certificate (i.e., permit label / sticker) in his or her passport. The holder of the exemption permit may not be dealt with in terms of section 29, 30, and 32 of the Immigration Act.

  • The holder of the exemption permit may be allowed to enter or depart from the Republic of South Africa in terms of section 9 of the Act, read together with the Immigration Regulations, 2014, provided that he or she complies with all other requirements for entry into or departure from the Republic, save for the reason of not having valid permit indicated in his or her passport; and

  • No holder of exemption should be required to produce-

(a) A valid exemption certificate.

(b) An authorisation letter to remain in the Republic contemplated in 32(2) of

the Immigration Act when making an application for any category of the visas,

including temporary residence visas.

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