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Dual citizenship for
South Africans

The South African Citizenship Act provides for retention of South African nationality prior to the acquisition of a foreign nationality, unless the subject is a naturalised South African. A condition of attaining dual nationality is that they must apply and be granted permission to retain their
South African nationality, prior to the acquisition of a foreign nationality.

Find out if you qualify for dual citizenship

If a South African citizen does not obtain this prior permission, they will automatically lose their South African nationality on voluntary acquisition of a foreign nationality.

Children under 18

South African citizens under the age of 18 years are exempt and are not required to apply for dual nationality, as long as they acquire the foreign nationality before their 18th birthday (i.e. they automatically retain their South African nationality). Once they turn 18, they are subject to the automatic loss provision (above).

Entering and exiting the country

It is an offence for a South African citizen with dual nationality to enter or depart the Republic of South Africa making use of the passport of another country. Once a person has been granted dual nationality, the holder must always enter and depart South Africa on their valid South African passport.

Use of South African nationality

Legislation provides that a South African dual citizen can use their foreign passport and nationality freely outside South Africa. However, in South Africa, they may not use their foreign nationality to gain an advantage or to avoid a responsibility or duty which they would otherwise have or have not been entitled or subjected to.

South African by birth

South African citizens by birth who automatically lost their South African nationality, never lose their right to permanent residence in South Africa. Should they permanently return to South Africa, they will be able to apply for the resumption of their South African nationality from within South Africa.

Existing dual nationals

A provision of the South African Citizenship Act of 1995, allowing the Minister of Home Affairs to deprive a citizen of his or her nationality for having used the nationality of a foreign country, has been repealed. As a result, the need for exemptions or letters of permission from the Minister to make use of a foreign passport has been terminated.

Automatic dual citizenship (by operation of law)

Under the nationality laws of some countries, a married person automatically takes on their partner's nationality. Children may also have a parent's nationality even if they were born abroad. There may be other circumstances where a foreign nationality can be acquired by law, without a formal and voluntary application.

The law makes clear that because such nationality was not gained by application, dual nationality and the retention of their South African nationality would remain.

Contact us to discuss your options with regards to South African dual nationality.

 

South Africa

Regent Square
Doncaster Road
Kenilworth 7708
Cape Town
t: +27 (0) 21 657 2120

United Kingdom

Castlewood House
77/91 New Oxford Street
London
WC1A 1DG
t: +44 (0) 20 7759 7514

Australia

Suite 8.06
9 Yarra Street
South Yarra
Melbourne VIC 3141
t: +613 (0) 86 514 500

Hong Kong

Level 1102
The Lee Gardens
33 Hysan Avenue
Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
t: +852 3959 8681

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