Welcome. This webpage is for people affected by the Angolan Cessation: people who are originally from Angola, and who were previously documented with asylum or refugee documentation in South Africa.
The Department of Home Affairs is inviting qualifying Angolan nationals to apply for the Angolan Exemption Permit.
Questions + Answers
Who can apply for the Angolan Exemption Permit?
- Angolans who were issued with the Angolan Cessation Permit (ACP) but did not apply for the Angolan Special permit (ASP).
- Angolans who were issued with the Angolan Special permit (ASP).
- All Angolan refugees or asylum seekers who were issued with Section 24 or Section 22 permits before 31 August 2013, this being the date when the Tripartite Commission Agreement was signed marking the end of the Civil War in Angola.
What are the requirements for application?
- Angolan passport valid for more than 12 months on date of application.
- Proof of Refugee/Asylum Seeker Permit issued before 31 August 2013
- Copy of Angolan Cessation Permit (ACP) or Angolan Special permit (ASP)
Do I need to pay an application fee for the Angolan Exemption Permit?
Yes, the Visa Facilitation Services (VFS) processing fee is R1 090. This is a requirement for the processing of your application and is NOT negotiable. Applicants under the ACP and ASP dispensation were not required to pay application fees. However, the Angolan Exemption Permit comes with rights of residency, which attract a fee for the processing. Clients who intend to apply for permits for their spouses and children must take note of the application fees requirement.
Is there an expiry date to these permits as was the case with the ACP and ASP?
The Angolan Exemption Permits will be issued with permanent residency and will not have an expiry date. The Minister of Home Affairs has in the past granted the rights of permanent residency for a specified period of time. This time around, permanent residency will be granted indefinitely which will allow permit holders when granted to apply for identity documents.
Is there a closing date for applying for the Angolan Exemption Permits?
The Department of Home Affairs has not indicated when applications will be closed. However, we advise clients to submit their applications timeously to avoid a rush, should Home Affairs announce a closing date at a later time.
Can spouses and children apply for the Angolan Exemption Permit?
Spouses and children of the affected Angolan nationals will be allowed to apply for mainstream visas or permits after the main member has obtained his/her exemption permit.
- The spouse of an individual who has been granted permanent residency can apply for a temporary spousal permit
- Children of the permanent resident of school going age are eligible to apply for a study permit.
- Children who are not yet in school are eligible to apply for a relative’s visa.
All of these applications can be made from within South Africa. This is a positive move as this waives the requirement for first time applications to be lodged from the country of origin. In the interim these spouses and children should apply for a valid passport.
How does one apply for the police clearance report?
A South African Police Report, will be obtained by the department on behalf of the applicant, and a fee must be paid for this report.
Please note that an additional R185.00 is required for the police clearance report. This fee is payable at the VFS offices and they do NOT accept cash payments.
Applicants must ensure that they have made provision for payment by card for this service.
How long after submission of the required documents will it take before permits are issued?
The turnaround time to issue the Angolan Exemption Certificate may take up to eight weeks. However, it may take longer than that and applicants can track the status of their applications on the VFS website.
Are we required to submit proof of employment or study as in previous years?
The Angolan Exemption permit will be issued with rights of permanent residency and with that comes the right to work and study in South Africa. Supporting documentation for your application is explained in step 1 above.
Will Scalabrini be assisting with submission of applications for the Angolan Exemption Permits?
Scalabrini is not able to assist with applications at this point. However, we are planning to do a step-by-step tutorial guide on how to submit the online application on the VFS website.
What is the Angolan Cessation?
The South African government ceased (cancelled) refugee status for Angolans in 2013. Through various legal and advocacy efforts, most Angolan former refugees have been granted an ASP permit. Please click here to read more about the Angolan Cessation, or watch a short video about it, below.
What is the Angolan Cessation Committee?
The Angolan Cessation Committee was set up in May 2018. It is separate to the Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town. This is an informal body, made up of people, originally from Angola, who previously held refugee status, who live in South Africa. The Angolan Cessation Committee’s aim is to try to engage with the Department of Home Affairs specifically on matters regarding Angolans who formerly held refugee status in South Africa. This Committee regularly communicates with the Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town (SCCT) who offers support and advice. Members of the Angolan Cessation Committee are not paid for this; their involvement is voluntary.
How was the Angolan Cessation Committee set up, and can I join?
In 2017 the Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town made a suggestion to the Angolan former refugee community to set up a committee. A meeting was held at the Scalabrini Centre. Then, a wider community meeting was held at Scalabrini’s hall, where the Committee was explained and people who wanted to apply to join were provided with contact details. The committee is open to people applying to join and we want to make sure that it is transparent and open. If you would like to join the committee, please write an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What did the Angolan Cessation Committee ask of the Department of Home Affairs?
In January 2019, the Angolan Cessation Committee sent a letter to the Minister of Home Affairs, the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Head of Waivers and Exemptions and the Chairperson of Standing Committee for Refugee Affairs, requesting a meeting pertaining to three points:
- Angolan former refugees holding an Angolan Special Permit (ASP permit), numbering about 2,000 people, have the right to remain in South Africa until 31 December 2020. These people have lived in South Africa for two decades and have adult children born here. We requested clarity from the Minister of Home Affairs regarding their futures, the possible extension of these permits or, ideally, the granting of permanent residency.
- Many spouses and children of ASP permit-holders are currently undocumented due to the administrative exclusions presented by the Angolan Cessation process. They are unable to apply to immigration permits. This is a limited group of people. We requested clarity from the Minister of Home Affairs regarding their legality in South Africa and if his Department would provide documentation options for this category of persons.
- Several Angolan former refugees were excluded from the Cessation process. This only pertains to those Angolan nationals who previously held refugee status and so is a limited group of people. We requested clarity from the Minister of Home Affairs on whether they can expand documentation options to this group of people.
You can see this letter (whose receipt was confirmed by the Department of Home Affairs) here.
This letter has been followed up on a regular basis since January 2019. No meeting has been granted, and no clarity has been provided for Angolan former refugees living in South Africa.
What else has the Angolan Cessation Committee done?
In November 2020, the Committee plans to undertake the different actions to try to get a clear message on the future for Angolan former refugees in South Africa. We are trying to get the matter raised in parliament too. In due course, we also plan to publish a press release. We will post updates here on this page.
Where can I get updates on this?
On this page. Via Scalabrini, the Angolan Cessation Committee will update here, on this webpage with news on our work. So please check back on this page for updates.
I want to contact someone from Scalabrini about this. Who can I contact?
Please email Ellen at email@example.com. Please include your full name (as per your passport), your passport number and, if applicable, your ASP permit number too.