For information, Applicants (LSP holders) should call VFS at: 087 230 0411

18 November 2019

The Department of Home Affairs has opened online applications and is taking in appointments for the new Lesotho Exemption Permit (LEP) from today. The cut-off date for submission of online applications has been extended until 15 June 2020.

This follows the Cabinet approval of a new dispensation for Lesotho nationals. 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. 

Cabinet had previously approved the implementation of a Special Dispensation for Lesotho nationals on 4 November 2015. 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 LSP, and the need to ensure all persons in South Africa are here on a lawful basis, with correct documentation, a new 4-year special dispensation for Lesotho nationals has been approved.

The new LEP will help to regularise the stay of Lesotho nationals who are already in South Africa.


  • Entitles the holder to work/ study and/or conduct business.
  • Does not entitle the holder the right to apply for permanent residence irrespective of the period of stay in the Republic of South Africa.
  • Will not be automatically renewable / extendable.
  • Does not allow a holder to change conditions of his/her permit while in South Africa.
  • LSP permit holders who wish to convert their status to a mainstream visa should timeously apply for such a visa from Lesotho.
  • A LEP applicant will be allowed to travel using the LEP receipt and the expired LSP permit until such time as the new LEP permit is issued, without being declared undesirable.


Implementation of LEP is as follows:

  • The new Lesotho Exemption Permit (LEP) project will begin on 18 November 2019 for online applications and taking of appointments.
  • The LEP is open for valid LSP permit-holders only.
  • We advise prospective applicants to submit applications online, from 18 November 2019, through the VFS website:
  • Cut-off date for submission of applications is 31 March 2020.
  • An administrative fee of R1090 will be charged.
  • LEP permits will be issued for a maximum period of Four (4) years, effective from 01 January 2020 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 relevant VFS offices are listed at the end of the statement.
  • An applicant will be required to submit the following:
    • Lesotho passport valid for more than 6 months at time of application
    • Lesotho Id card
    • Copy of the LSP permit
    • Evidence of employment – in the case of an application for work rights
    • Evidence of business – in the case of an application for business rights
    • Evidence of an admission letter from a recognised learning institution –in the case of an application for study rights.

[Below is a list of VFS Offices where LSP holders may apply for the new LEP permit]




4 Linden Road, Essenwood, Berea, Durban

Cape Town

2 Long street, 7th Floor, Cape Town

Port Elizabeth

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