As a South African living abroad, the topic of dual citizenship has probably crossed your mind or come up in conversation a few times. To help you make the right decision for your circumstances, let’s take a look at what you need to know about South African citizenship, including how to apply for dual citizenship in South Africa.
We’ve also put together a handy guide on which countries allow dual citizenship with South Africa, as well as a list of countries that do not allow dual citizenship. You’ll find this helpful if you’re still deciding on where to go if you decide to emigrate from South Africa.
What is dual citizenship?
Dual citizenship is where one person holds two nationalities from two countries simultaneously. This means they get the passports from both nations, as well as the rights of citizenship afforded in both countries. It also means they get the duties of both countries, including the obligation to pay tax according to the laws of each country.
The concept of dual citizenship varies according to the law of nationality in each country. Individuals who reside in two countries are double citizens. Dual citizenship must be obtained in line with the laws and regulations applicable in each country. In some European nations that allow dual citizenship, becoming a citizen may mean that you become eligible for certain living, working and studying benefits in that country.
Does South Africa allow dual citizenship?
Can a South African have dual citizenship? South African nationality law does provide for nationals to have dual citizenship, subject to following Home Affairs’ specific protocols. According to the 2006 South African Nationality Act, any South African over the age of 18 who wishes to become a dual citizen must first apply to retain their South African nationality.
What to know about dual citizenship in South Africa
- Before you can apply for citizenship in a foreign country, you must be granted permission to keep your South African citizenship.
- Failure to do so means that you will automatically lose South African nationality when you voluntarily acquire a foreign citizenship.
- If you lose your South African citizenship this way, you will need to apply to have it reinstated, and this can be a lengthy, frustrating process.
What are the disadvantages of dual citizenship?
While it might seem like double citizenship (two passports, baby!) would be attractive, there are some downsides. There is the potential for double taxation, and not to mention the fact that the process of obtaining dual citizenship can be long and expensive. It takes up to 12 months to apply to retain your South African citizenship, and then you have to meet the foreign country’s time requirements for residence, before you can qualify to become a resident, and ultimately a citizen.
Additionally, you then become bound by the laws of two countries. As such, it is advisable to do your homework and ensure that the benefits outweigh the disadvantages before taking on this process.
Does South Africa allow triple citizenship?
If the country allows double citizenship it is likely to allow triple citizenship. Furthermore, if you obtain citizenship in another country by marriage, this does not terminate your South African citizenship.
Which countries do not allow dual citizenship?
Most countries allow dual nationality. Andorra, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Belarus, Botswana. Bhutan, China, Oman, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore are some of the countries that do not allow dual citizenship.
How do I apply for dual citizenship in South Africa?
To apply for dual citizenship, you must first apply to retain your South African citizenship. You must complete the necessary forms and submit these along with the supporting documentation, to the Home Affairs office, along with a letter from the foreign country’s Consulate or Embassy verifying that you have not already obtained citizenship.
- DHA -175 (application form)
- DHA -529 (applicant form)
- Proof of uninterrupted residence one year before application
- RSA Police clearance report valid for six (6) months from date of issue
- Police clearance from foreign country of present nationalities
- Letter confirming the individual’s acceptance of dual nationality
- Proof of payment (R300.00) as stipulated by the National Treasury
FinGlobal: cross-border financial services for global South Africans
Dual citizenship can get complicated, but managing your finances in more than one jurisdiction doesn’t have to be. FinGlobal provides a full suite of financial services tailored to the needs of South Africans living abroad, including:
- Tax emigration
- Tax clearance
- Expat tax compliance
- Tax refunds
- Retirement annuity withdrawal
- Foreign exchange
To find out how FinGlobal can simplify managing your cross-border financial portfolio, please leave your contact details and we will be in touch.