Dual South African Citizenship

The South African Citizenship Act provides for retention of South African citizenship PRIOR to the acquisition of a foreign citizenship. A condition of attaining dual citizenship for all South African citizens aged 18 years or older is that they must apply and be granted permission to retain their South African citizenship prior to the acquisition of a foreign citizenship.

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

South African citizens under the age of 18 years are exempt and do not require to apply for dual citizenship, as long as they acquire the foreign citizenship before their 18th birthday. They automatically retain their South African citizenship for life unless, once they have reached the age of 18 years and they then wish to acquire a further foreign citizenship, they will then have to apply for prior permission to retain their South African citizenship. Failing to do so, they will automatically lose their South African citizenship.

Please note that in terms of the South African Citizenship Act it is an offence for a South African citizen with dual citizenship to enter or depart the Republic of South Africa making use of the passport of another country. Once a person has been granted dual citizenship, the holder must always enter and depart South Africa on their valid South African passport.

In essence legislation provides that a South African dual citizen can use his or her foreign passport/citizenship/nationality freely outside South Africa. However, in South Africa, he/she may not use his or her foreign citizenship to gain an advantage or to avoid a responsibility or duty, which he or she as a South African citizen would otherwise have or have not been entitled or subjected to.

NB. It should be mentioned that South African citizens by birth, who automatically lost their South African citizenship, 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 citizenship from within the Country.

Requirements for your application

  1. Application for Retention of South African Citizenship (form BI-1664): requires details of your future citizenship for which you are planning to acquire. NB: Questions 9 and 10 MUST be answered.
  2. Determination of your Current Status (form BI-529): requires details of your present status in order that we may ascertain your claim for South African citizenship. Please mark N/A to questions that are not applicable, questions 9 & 10 MUST be answered and section must be signed by the applicant or the form will be returned. Information pertaining to parent's details; a minimum of their full date and place of birth is required.
  3. A copy of the photo page of your current South African passport showing the passport number and dates of issue and expiry. If your passport has expired, it is advisable to apply for a new passport as soon as possible should you need to travel to South Africa. Non-refundable fee of AUD 33.00 per application.
  4. A fee of 33.00 AUD per application. One Postal Money Order or Bank cheque for the total amount (if more than one application) is preferred.
  5. If you are a naturalized South African, a copy of your Naturalization Certificate. In cases of those applicants who acquired foreign citizenship through any of their parents, a certified copy of your own full birth certificate showing the birth places of your parent(s). Under circumstances where even the parents acquired such citizenship through descent, a letter from the relevant authorities of the country concerned will suffice. Parents born out of SA proof of their naturalization or proof of their residency status at the time of the child’s birth. Documents issued in a foreign language must be officially translated to English by a sworn translator.

Payment must be in Australian Dollars (AUD) made out to the South African High Commission by way of Postal Money Order or Bank Cheque.

Personal cheques or credit cards are NOT accepted. Incorrect payment will not be accepted; in case of incorrect payment the cheque or postal money order will be returned to applicant.

Processing time is approximately 6 to 12 months.

Return Postage: Only Australian applications

  • For applications originating from within Australia - a self-addressed Express or Registered Post Envelope (only one envelope per family).

Postal address: Only Australian applications

South African High Commission
State Circle

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