The South African Department of Home Affairs has announced that it is inviting qualifying Angolan nationals to apply for an Angolan Exemption Permit.
This is good news for the many Angolan families who have lived and worked in South Africa for over two decades and were left without a definite route to status in South Africa, when the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) issued a cessation of refugee status for Angolans in 2013.
As an interim solution to this dilemma, South African introduced the Angola Special Permit in 2017, affording the holder a visa valid for four years.
Angolan nationals falling into the below categories (including Angolan Special Dispensation permit holders) will be able to apply for the Angolan Exemption Permit:
- Angolans who were issued with the Angolan Cessation Permit but did not apply for the Angolan Special permit.
- Angolans who were issued with the Angolan Special Permit.
- All Angolan refugees or asylum seekers who were issued with section 24 or section 22 permits before 31 August 2013, the date when the Tripartite Commission Agreement was signed marking the end of the Civil War in Angola.
Spouses and children of the affected Angolan nationals will be allowed to apply for mainstream visas or permits after the main member has obtained their exemption permit. The Department forecasts that 5 000 Angolans could qualify to apply.
Although the holder of the new Angolan Exemption Permit may not apply for permanent residence when the four years expire, the permit will allow the affected persons to continue to live and work in South Africa, thus preventing them from losing their legal status in South Africa.
All applications must be submitted online at the VFS office nearest to the applicant, from 16 August 2021. The turnaround time for the Angolan Exemption Permit to be issued is eight weeks.
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