Home Affairs extends deadline for Zimbabweans living in South Africa
THE closing date for almost 200 000 Zimbabweans living and working in South Africa to apply for a Zimbabwe Exemption Permit (ZEP) has been extended to January 31.
“Due to the large number of ZSP (Zimbabwe Special Permit) holders who have completed the online applications thus far, the department has extended the closing date for the submission of supporting documents and biometrics to January 31, 2018. Therefore, people must present themselves to VFS ( visa facilitation services) offices until this date,” Home Affairs director-general Mkuseli Apleni said yesterday during a media briefing in Pretoria.
He said that by the end of September next year Home Affairs would have completed the ZEP project, including finalising adjudications and issuing the new permits.
“We emphasise that the November 30 ( deadline) is only for submission of online applications. Flooding of VFS offices actually defeats the aim of using technology to improve service delivery. It is just comfortable to apply for exemption permits at home, where you do not have to queue. We want to ensure that people are not subjected to the discomfort of spending hours in a queue,” said Apleni.
“The extension, up to January 31, 2018, is only for scheduling appointments for the purpose of submitting biometrics (fingerprints) and supporting documents at VFS offices.”
ZSP holders were urged to complete their online applications, to make necessary payments and schedule appoint- ments by November 30 at any of the 10 VFS Global offices across South Africa.
ZEP permits will be issued for a maximum period of four years, effective from January 2018 and expiring on December 31, 2021, notwithstanding the date of issue.
Apleni thanked Zimbabweans based in South Africa for increasingly shifting from the special dispensation per- mits to the mainstream permits issued under South Africa’s immigration legislation.
“There is no requirement for ZSP holders to apply for (other) 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 stickers,” said Apleni.
Under the special dispensation granted by Pretoria in 2014, Zimbabweans who had previously been granted permits under the Dispensation for Zimbabweans Project were allowed to re-register for the “non- renewable” three- year ZSP. The ZSP has now been replaced by the ZEP. – ANA