The Department of Home Affairs has moved to ensure that Lesotho nationals working in South Africa do not find themselves without permits, extending their exemption for the next four years. The department opened the application process for the new Lesotho Exemption Permit which will grant Basotho nationals the right to work, study and do business in South Africa.
The Department of Home Affairs opened online applications on the 18th of November 2019. The Department has also been taking in appointments since this date. The cut-off date for submission of online applications is 31 March 2020. The Lesotho Exemption Permit is only applicable to existing holders of the Lesotho Special Permit.
The Department of Home Affairs has listed the conditions of the Lesotho Exemption Permit as follows:
- Entitles holders to work/study and/or do business
- Does not entitle holders to the right to apply for permanent residence irrespective of the period of stay in South Africa
- Will not automatically get extended or renewed
- Does not allow holders a change of conditions on their permit while in South Africa
- Lesotho Special Permit holders who wish to convert their status to a mainstream visa should apply for such a visa from Lesotho
- Lesotho Exemption Permit applicants will be able to travel using the Lesotho Exemption Permit receipt and the expired Lesotho Special Permit until the new Lesotho Exemption Permit
- is issued, without being declared undesirable
The Department of Home Affairs advises prospective applicants to submit applications online through the VFS website. The cut-off date for submission of applications is 31 March 2020. After the online applications, VFS will allocate appointments for the submission of fingerprints and supporting documents. Applicants will also have to pay an administrative fee of R1,090. The Department of Home Affairs has stated that the Department will issue Lesotho Exemption Permits for a maximum of four years, effective from 1 January 2020. This means that the Lesotho Exemption Permit will expire on 31 December 2023, notwithstanding the date of application.
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