The Department of Home Affairs has encouraged Lesotho Special Permit (LSP) holders to apply for a new permit as the LSP expires in December.
The department on Monday opened for online applications and is taking in appointments for the new Lesotho Exemption Permit (LEP), which was recently approved by Cabinet.
In 2015, Cabinet approved the implementation of a Special Dispensation for Lesotho nationals. The objective of this dispensation was to document Lesotho nationals who were in South Africa illegally as a result of the socio-economic crisis in Lesotho.
"It allowed Lesotho nationals to sojourn in the Republic with relaxed conditions; provided them with work, study or business permits and suspended their deportation.
"Given the expiry of the Lesotho Special Permit (LSP), and the need to ensure all persons in South Africa are here on a lawful basis, with correct documentation, a new four-year special dispensation for Lesotho nationals has been approved," the department said.
The new LEP will help to regularise the stay of Lesotho nationals who are already in South Africa.
"The LEP replaces the Lesotho Special Permit (LSP) which expires on 31 December 2019. The new dispensation is only applicable to existing holders of the LSP. The total number of LSP permits issued is 90 314. This is the expected number of Lesotho nationals who will apply for the new LEP," the department said.
The new LEP is only opened for valid LSP permit-holders only. The department has advised prospective applicants to submit applications online, from 18 November 2019, through the VFS website: www.vfsglobal.com/LEP/SouthAfrica/com.
The cut-off date for the submission of applications is 31 March 2020. An administrative fee of R1 090 will be charged and LEP permits will be issued for a maximum period of four years effective from 1 January and expiring on 31 December 2023, notwithstanding the date of application.
"After the online application, applicants will be allocated appointments for the required submission of fingerprints and supporting documents to VFS, from 25 November 2019," the department said.
An applicant will be required to submit a Lesotho passport valid for more than six months at the time of application, Lesotho ID card, and a copy of the LSP permit and evidence of employment - in the case of an application for work rights.
Additional requirements for submission also include the evidence of business - in the case of an application for business rights and the evidence of an admission letter from a recognised learning institution -in the case of an application for study rights.
LSP holders may apply for the new LEP permit at the following VFS Offices:
4 Linden Road, Essenwood, Berea, Durban
2 Long street, 7th Floor, Cape Town
Office 7C 1st floor Moffet and Main, Cnr 17th Ave and Main Road, Walmer, PE
Mount Royal Building, 657 James crescent, Halfway House, Midrand
89 Ridder Street
Unit 3 Building 2, Agri Office Park, N12 Kimberly
Shop 13, Thornhill Shopping Centre, Veldspaat and Munnik Avenue Bendor Park, Polokwane
Office 5F, Nedbank building, 30 Brown Street, Nelspruit
282 Oliver Tambo Road, Hamilton
Unit 5 Eagle View, Progress Street, George