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Citizenship in South Africa

It is only possible to get citizenship in South Africa by birth, naturalisation and descent. The process of applying for citizenship in South Africa requires that you submit certain documentation, and this differs from one type of application to the next. Consulting with an immigration expert is the best way to get the most up to date information available.

Understanding more about SA citizenship once you have it:




Retention of Citizenship

Should you want to obtain citizenship of another country and still keep your SA citizenship, you can apply for retention of your SA citizenship by filling out two simple forms and paying the required fee.

You will need to make sure that your application is approved before applying for the other citizenship. Failure to do so will cause you to lose your South African citizenship automatically.

Automatic loss of citizenship

You will lose your South African citizenship if you have not been granted retention before applying for another citizenship. This applies to every individual who is over the age of 18, if you obtained citizenship by a voluntary act other than marriage or if you are serving in the armed forces of the other country that you have citizenship in and that specific country is at war with SA.

Resumption of citizenship

You will be allowed to have your SA citizenship reinstated, but you need to be a former citizen by descent or by birth. You will also need to have come back to South Africa on a permanent basis.

If you are a former citizen by naturalization, you will need to re-apply for PR or apply for exemption before you will be considered. There will be a number of forms that need to be filled out and other documentation will also need to be submitted with your application.

Exemption from loss of citizenship

Those who have lost their South African citizenship before 6 October 1995 may apply for exemption provided that their citizenship was lost due to acquiring another citizenship somewhere else.

Renunciation of citizenship

This procedure is meant for any SA citizen who wishes to acquire citizenship in another country and those who possess dual citizenship.

Deprivation of Citizenship

You may be deprived of your SA citizenship if you acquired it by naturalization and you concealed facts that should have been on your application, if your certificate ends up being fraudulent or if you supplied false information at the time of application.

You could also be deprived of your citizenship in SA if you are a dual citizen and you were sentenced to 12 months or more imprisonment in another country. The offence needs to have been punishable in SA as well.

You will be given the chance to prove why you should not be deprived of your citizenship before the authorities make their final decision.

By Robbie Ragless 

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