The new Lesotho Exemption Permit (LEP) is now open

The Department of Home Affairs has opened applications for the new Lesotho Exemption Permit (LEP). The LEP will replace the Lesotho Special Permit (LSP) which expires on 31 December 2019.

Online applications opened on 18 November 2019

The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) 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 LEP is only applicable to existing holders of the LSP.

Please note: Intergate Immigration does not assist with LEP applications.

The purpose of the LEP

In 2015, the Department of Home Affairs implemented 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 reside in South Africa with relaxed conditions, provided them with work, study or business permits, and suspended their deportation.

Given the expiry of the LSP, and the need to ensure all persons in South Africa are here on a lawful basis with the correct documentation, the DHA decided to establish a new 4-year special dispensation for Lesotho nationals who are already in South Africa.

Conditions of the new Lesotho Exemption Permit Dispensation (LEP)

The Department of Home Affairs has listed the conditions of the LEP 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.
  • LSP permit holders who wish to convert their status to a mainstream visa should apply for such a visa from Lesotho.
  • LEP applicants will be able to travel using the LEP receipt and the expired LSP permit until  the new LEP permit is issued, without being declared undesirable.

Apply online at VFS

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.

LEPs valid until December 2023

The DHA has stated that the Department will issue LEPs for a maximum of four years, effective from 1 January 2020. This means that the LEP will expire on 31 December 2023, notwithstanding the date of application.

Go to the DHA website for a full list of VFS centres: