South Africa - Passport & Nationality - Dual Nationality
Acquiring another nationality
The South African Citizenship Act provides for retention of South African citizenship prior to the acquisition of a foreign citizenship unless the subject is a Naturalised South African. A condition of attaining dual citizenship 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.
Children under 18
South African citizens under the age of 18 years are exempt and are not required to apply for dual citizenship as long as they acquire the foreign citizenship before their 18th birthday. They automatically retain their South African citizenship. 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 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.
Use of South African nationality
Legislation provides that a South African dual citizen can use their foreign passport/citizenship/nationality freely outside South Africa. However, in South Africa, they may not use their foreign citizenship 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 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 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affairs to deprive a citizen of his or her citizenship for having used the citizenship of a foreign country, has been repealed.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 Nationality (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.
For more specific information about some countries where you hold citizenship: