Home Affairs Extends Zimbabwean Exemption Permits to December 2023

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zimbabwean nationals immigration

The South African Minister of Home Affairs has issued a new directive, extending the validity of exemption permits for Zimbabwean nationals by an additional six months, ending on 31 December 2023. This decision comes after extensive consideration of various factors, including increased numbers of visa and waiver applications and submissions from affected parties.


In September 2022, the initial directive extended the validity of these permits to 30 June 2023. Since then, the Minister has approved thousands of waiver applications, resulting in a significant increase in visa and waiver application numbers. The Departmental Advisory Committee (DAC) is currently handling the increased volume of visa applications.

Increased Applications

In response to the rising numbers, VFS Global has reported receiving between 1,000 and 1,500 visa and waiver applications daily from affected Zimbabwean nationals since May/beginning of June 2023. Consequently, the Director-General has deployed more officials to assist in processing these applications.

New Immigration Directive

The decision to issue another Immigration Directive, extending the validity of the Zimbabwean exemption permits, was based on the current situation, taking into account input from the affected parties. The updated directive is set to be published in the Extraordinary Government Gazette on Thursday, 8 June 2023.

Minister’s Call to Action

In light of this directive, the Minister urges all interested parties to consider the information during their decision-making processes. Additionally, the Minister plans to address a letter to the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, requesting her to issue a note verbale to bring the directive to the attention of His Excellency, the Ambassador of the Republic of Zimbabwe.

Benefits of the Extension

The extension of the exemption permits grants the affected Zimbabwean nationals a longer period of stay in South Africa without the constant uncertainty of short-term permits. It also allows the Department of Home Affairs more time to process the increasing number of applications, ensuring that each application receives due consideration.

Importance of the Decision

South Africa and Zimbabwe share a long history of economic and cultural ties, and this decision demonstrates a commitment to maintaining and strengthening these connections. The impact of this decision goes beyond the administrative process, as it also reflects the South African government’s recognition of the importance of Zimbabwean nationals’ contributions to their society and economy.

As the Department of Home Affairs continues to address the increased volume of applications, the extended validity of the exemption permits allows Zimbabwean nationals to focus on their lives and careers in South Africa with more stability and assurance. The decision to extend the permits is a necessary and compassionate response to the unique challenges faced by the Zimbabwean community in the country.

A Russian-Spanish journalist and Cape Town native, channels his lifelong passion for South Africa into captivating stories for his local blog. With a diverse background and 50 years of rich experiences, Serjio's unique voice resonates with readers seeking to explore Cape Town's vibrant culture. His love for the city shines through in every piece, making Serjio the go-to source for the latest in South African adventures.

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