South Africa - flag South Africa - Passport & Nationality - British Nationality for a South African

Listen to our BRITISH NATIONALITY WEBINAR on South Africa where our two British nationality experts - Philip Gamble and Mishal Patel - discuss a family birth in South Africa and its implications for claims to British nationality in the modern day.

Both South Africa and the United Kingdom allow Dual Nationality. This means that a person can hold nationality (and the passport) of both countries, though you must first obtain permission from South Africa Home Affairs.

As a South African, you could be eligible for BRITISH NATIONALITY in the following circumstances:

  • You were BORN IN THE UK* (or Northern Ireland) before 1983. You will have been classified as British Otherwise than by Descent, can hold a British Passport, and can pass British Nationality to your children, irrespective of where these children are born. Read more about British Nationality by Birth.
  • You have a PARENT* (a father or mother) who was Naturalised in the UK before your birth, or who was born in the UK (or Northern Ireland) before 1983. Your parent will have been classified as British Otherwise than by Descent, hold a British Passport, and they can pass British Nationality to their children, irrespective of where these children are born. Read more about British Nationality by Descent.

* It gets more complicated if:

As a South African citizen, you are eligible for the following WORKING VISAS in the UK:

  • UK Work Permit, if you have a job offer in the UK or specific skills that are in demand in the UK.


How do I find out if I have a claim to British Nationality?

We suggest following our 4 STEP PROCESS, designed to simplify the complex laws of British nationality and to avoid unnecessary and expensive application fees, to find your answer:

Step 1: Determine whether you have a Standard Route (birth in the UK before 1983, or a parent born in the UK before 1983)
Step 2: If not, complete our free Nationality Assessment
Step 3: Order a free Status Trace
Step 4: Conduct a Citizenship Report


The Cape, Natal, Transvaal and Orange Free State (now part of South Africa)

South Africa

  • Prior to 31.05.1910, South Africa comprised of four separate territories.
  • From 31.05.1910 until 31.12.1948, South Africa was within the British Crown Dominions.
  • Between 01.01.1949 and 30.05.1962, it was an independent Commonwealth country.
  • From 31.05.1962 until 25.07.1994, it was a foreign country.
  • From 26.07.1994 until the present day, it was an independent Commonwealth country.

MORE Solutions for South Africans

Below is a selection of scenarios that people with links to Southern Africa could lead to claims to British nationality. You could be eligible for British citizenship if you were:

  • Born to a parent (a father or mother) who was born in the UK before 1983. 
  • Born after 1948 to a parent born in Southern Rhodesia before 12.09.1923 and you have a UK-born grandparent
  • Born in Northern Rhodesia before independence with a UK-born grandparent.
  • Born after 1948 and before 1983, with a parent born in Northern Rhodesia and with a UK-born grandparent.
  • Born in South Africa after 31 May 1962 but before 1983, and you have a UK-born grandparent.
  • Born after 1948, and your parents were married before 1949 and your paternal grandfather (your dad’s dad) was born in the UK. 
  • Born before 1966 with a Rhodesian-born father, with either grandfather born in the UK.

Ask Philip Gamble whether you (or your children) have a claim to British nationality.

Learn more about these routes to British Nationality: is a specialist UK Nationality and British Citizenship site offering an online search and assessment. Claims to hold a British Passport can be complex and the site offers a quick, simple search to give you the answers. While many people qualify for the UK Ancestry Visa based on holding a Commonwealth passport with a UK born grandmother or grandfather, we have found that if you have a grandparent born in the UK, or if your mother is British or your father is British, then there are several scenarios where you can claim British Nationality and the right to hold a British Passport. This stems from Britain’s collection of British Colonies, British Protectorates and British Protected States in the middle of last century and the Nationality rules concerning what are now the countries of the Commonwealth. is a subsidiary of Sable International.

Sable International offers a range of services relating to UK and Australian immigration. For over 20 years, we have been helping people with their UK and Australian visa applications. We assist with applications for Ancestry visas, spouse visas, work visas, Tier 1 visas, UK working holiday visas, UK dependant visas, Tier 4 visas, UK Visitor visas, sponsorship visas or UK permanent residency or indefinite leave to remain. We also specialise in UK visa extensions. If you’ve overstayed your visa, our Overstayer Status Trace service can assist to regularise your visa status.