United Kingdom - flag United Kingdom - Passport & Nationality - British Citizenship by Double Descent (Losing South African Domicility Pre 1949)

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.

Where a person was born in South Africa before 1949, there were some circumstances where such a person can claim British Nationality.

The South Africa Nationality Act of 1949 determined who was granted South African nationality when the country was granted the right to determine its own citizenship laws. An anomaly in the Act meant that those who lost their South African domicility (because they or their parents left SA before 1949) did not automatically get the new South African citizenship. In such a case, the person retained their British Subject status (based on their birth in what was then a British Crown Dominion) and, after 1 January 1949, became a Citizen of the UK & Colonies. On 1 January 1983, they would have been automatically reclassified as a British Citizen, even if they weren't aware of it.

The key criteria of this solution are:

 - Candidate born in a South Africa before 1 January 1949;

 - Candidate (or their parents) emigrated from South Africa before 1949; AND

 - Candidate has the Right of Abode.

The Right of Abode normally occures where the candidate:

 a) has a grandparent born in the UK or Ireland;

 b) spent time in the UK before 1983; OR

 c) is a woman and married a British or Irish husband before 1983.


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

Learn more about these routes to British Nationality:

WhatPassport.com 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.

WhatPassport.com 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.