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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Affairs to deprive a citizen of his or her nationality for having used the nationality of a foreign country, has been repealed.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

Cape Town

Regent Square
Doncaster Road
Kenilworth 7708 +27 (0) 21 657 2120


201 The Annex
Ridgeside Office Park
Umhlanga +27 (0) 31 536 8843

United Kingdom


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


5-7 Selsdon Road
South Croydon
CR2 6PU +44 (0) 20 7759 7581



9 Yarra Street
South Yarra
VIC 3141 +613 (0) 8651 4500

Sable International is a trading name of 1st Contact Money Limited (company number 07070528), registered in England and Wales. We are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK (FCA no. 517570), the Financial Services Conduct Authority in South Africa (1st Contact Money [PTY] Ltd - FSP no. 41900) and hold an Australian Financial Services License issued by ASIC to deal in foreign exchange (1st Contact Group - AFS License number 335 126).

Please note: Sable International is a trading name of Philip Gamble and Co. Ltd. Philip Gamble and Co. Ltd is registered in the UK with the Office of the Immigration Service Commissioner (OISC) under no. F2001-00004. Our staff based outside of the UK are not regulated by the OISC and may be involved in some client casework. However, they work to the same high standards as our UK staff and clients receive the same service regardless of which office they engage with.

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