Zimbabwe Exemption Permits expired at the end of 2021 but were extended to the end of June this year urging those who wished to stay to obtain regular permits.
In a statement today, the South African government said it was giving those that had applied for permits until the end of December to clear the backlog.
It said this applied to 62 692 applicants.
There were about 170 000 Zimbabweans on special permits which means more than 100 000 have not applied for regular permits.
Zimbabwe has said it is ready to welcome its nationals back.