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South Africa extends stay of long-term visa and waiver applicants

The South African government has decided to extend the stay of long-term visa, waiver applicants until December 31st this year.

The Department of Home Affairs confirmed this in a statement on Wednesday. It’s not clear, however, if the decision is going to affect Zimbabweans who are living in South Africa under the Zimbabwe Exemption Permits (ZEP).

“The Department of Home Affairs extends the blanket concession to 31 December 2023 for long-term visa or waiver applicants who are awaiting outcomes of their applications.

“A Directive to the Home Affairs Head Office, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s Consular Services and Visa Facilitation Centres has been issued to communicate this decision.

“The decision means that long term visa or waiver applicants are permitted to legally remain in the country until 31 December 2023, pending the finalisation of their applications.

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“Those that are travelling on passports issued by countries that are not visa exempted, are required to apply for a visitor’s visa to return to South Africa until their applications have been finalised.”

“This concession is only applicable to applicants who have submitted an application via VFS before or on 31 March 2023. All visitors on short term visas whose validity was issued for less than 90 days are excluded from the concession and are required to depart before or on the date of expiry of the validity period of their visas.”

More than 178,000 ZEP holders are awaiting the outcome of their visa and waiver applications following the termination of the special program.

These Zimbabweans have about three months before their documentation to live and work in South Africa expires.

Initially, the South African government had aimed to terminate permits on December 31, 2022, but instead granted an extension up to June 30, 2023.