Yes, it is possible for a South African Citizen to hold dual citizenship (be a citizen of more than one country). However, in order to make this possible a South African Citizen aged 18 years or older must apply to the Department of Home Affairs for the retention of their citizenship. Under the South African Citizenship Act one is only able to retain your South African Citizenship if you apply for the retention of this before acquiring foreign citizenship. If a South African Citizen does not obtain this permission prior to obtaining foreign citizenship, they will automatically lose this on the basis of voluntarily acquiring citizenship of a foreign country.
This does not apply to South African Citizens under the age of 18 years. Under age South African Citizens are exempt from this and are not required to apply to the Department of Home Affairs for retention of this as long as they have acquired their foreign citizenship before their 18th birthday. They also automatically retain their South African Citizenship for life unless, once they have obtained this and reach the age of 18 years and wish to acquire further foreign citizenships. If after the age of 18 years they wish to acquire further foreign citizenship, they will need to apply for prior permission to retain this. Unfortunately in failing to do so, they will automatically lose their South African Citizenship.
In terms of the South African Citizenship Act it is an offence for a South African Citizen holding dual citizenship to enter or depart South Africa using a passport of another country. This means that if you hold dual citizenship you must always enter and depart South Africa using your valid South African passport. South African legislation allows a South African dual citizen to use their foreign passport freely outside of South Africa, however in South Africa they are not allowed to use their foreign passport/citizenship to gain an advantage, avoid a duty or responsibility that a South African Citizen would otherwise have/ have not been entitled or subjected to.
One final important notice is that South African Citizens that obtain their citizenship by birth who automatically lose their South African Citizenship never lose their right to Permanent Residency in South Africa.
For more information on South African Migration and Migration Laws please do not hesitate to contact New World Immigration or leave an inquiry on our website and one of our consultants will contact you.