The South African government announced that the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit (ZEP) will be discontinued from 31 December 2021. Current holders of this permit in South Africa will have a 12-month grace period to apply for a different visa type. If they do not gain a new visa within that period they will be deported. Immigration Directive No 10 of 2021 issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs reads: 


Cabinet decided to no longer issue extensions to Zimbabwean nationals who are holders of the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit (ZEP), but a 12 (twelve) month grace period following the expiry of the current ZEP on 31 December 2021 within which these ZEP holders need to regularise their status within South Africa in terms of the Immigration Act, 2002 (Act No. 13 of 2002) (‘the Immigration Act”) and the Immigration Regulations, meaning 31 December 2022.

During the said 12 (twelve) month period, holders of the ZEP should apply for mainstream visas that they qualify for and ensure that their applications comply with the provisions and requirements of the Immigration Act and Immigration Regulations. At the expiry of this 12 (twelve) month period, those who are not successful will have to leave South Africa or be deported.

Organisations: All Companies, Employers, Learning Institutes and Banks are to kindly note that applicants who are in possession of a ZEP expiring on 31 December 2021 must be allowed to continue with their services, provided they submit proof of application for a mainstream visa in terms of the Immigration Act and Immigration Regulations. Proof of application must be a VFS receipt.

Travel Conditions: All applicants with a ZEP must be allowed to travel freely in and out of South Africa until 31 December 2022, when the 12 (twelve) month grace period ends, after which they will only be allowed to travel in and out of South Africa if in possession of a valid visa.

The contents of this Immigration Directive must please be brought to the attention of all officials concerned.

This Immigration Directive follows Immigration Directive No 9 of 2021 which deals with: Declaration of Undesirability: Foreigners whose Visas/ Permits have expired.