ZEP Permits: Zimbabwean Exemption Permit Requirements


The Zimbabwean Exemption Permit, better known as a ZEP Permit or ZEP for short, was a way to allow Zimbabweans to extend their stay in South Africa after the Zimbabwe Special Passport expired. However, as the date of expiration for the ZEP nears, it’s crucial for Zimbabweans who want to work, study, or do business in South Africa to know how to access the ZEP and what benefits it provides them. 

If you want to learn more about the ZEP and what it means for you, continue reading as we cover these topics in this post.

What Is The Zimbabwe Exemption Permit?

The Zimbabwean Exemption Permit was established to take over from the previous ZSP that expired in 2017. The permit itself allows Zimbabweans to study, work, and do business in the country just as South Africans would.

Are You Eligible For The ZEP?

Not every Zimbabwean hoping to work or study in South Africa can apply for a ZEP. Only those with a valid Zimbabwean Special Passport will be allowed to extend their stay in South Africa. To further understand your eligibility requirements, consider contacting the Zimbabwean Consulate.

What Benefits Do ZEP Holders Have?

While the ZEP is a very helpful document, allowing Zimbabwean citizens to work, do business and study in South Africa, some aspects make it restricting. Aspects such as:

The inability for recipients to apply for permanent residence, and

No – or limited – to social benefits

How Much Does It Cost To Apply For The ZEP?

To Register for the ZEP permit, you need to pay a registration fee of R1090. However, the registration process is closed.


How To Apply For The ZEP Permit

Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to apply for the ZEP permit online, nor is there a way to do it in person. Instead, you would have needed to apply in 2017 and already have received it to continue working or studying in the country. 

Is The ZEP Permit Being Renewed?

The ZEP permit does not renew, leaving Zimbabweans in limbo until the government releases official statements on the matter. Unfortunately, there has not been any official notice from the South African government or the South African minister of home affairs. Therefore it’s unknown if a programme similar to the ZEP will be developed to take over the permits when they expire on 31 December 2023 or if the government will introduce a new document for ZEP holders. 

31 December 2023 marks the final date that the Zimbabwe Exemption Permit is valid. Therefore as a Zimbabwean citizen, you should know what to do next if you want to continue residing in South Africa. 

While the ZSP was extended using the ZEP and allowing Zimbabweans to move freely in the country to work, study and conduct business, an alternative to the ZEP is yet to be announced. Therefore, it’s advisable to start considering alternatives, like applying for a visa. Alternatively, call or get in touch with the Zimbabwean Consulate on 021 461 1994/5 to discuss your options.