Under the South African Citizenship Act, South African citizens over the age of 18 must apply for permission to retain their South African citizenship before taking out foreign citizenship.
What does this mean to you?
· Firstly, if you are a South African citizen intending to become an Australian citizen, you must apply to the South African High Commission before becoming an Australian citizen if you want to retain your South African citizenship.
· Secondly, if you become an Australian citizen without first applying as above, you will automatically lose your South African citizenship when you become an Australian citizen. However, you will not lose your right to Permanent Residency in South Africa.
· Thirdly, if you are under the age of 18 when you become an Australian citizen, you do not need to apply to retain your South African citizenship – you will retain it automatically.
This may have implications for families with children who have taken out Australian citizenship together. In this case, family members who were over the age of 18 at the time would automatically lose their South African citizenship, and any children who were under the age of 18 at the time would automatically retain their South African citizenship (i.e. they are dual citizens). This means that, unless they have formally renounced their South African citizenship, they must use the appropriate passport when travelling between the two countries (as explained below).
Dual citizens travelling to South Africa
If you hold dual citizenship, you must enter and leave South Africa using your South African passport. If you hold South African citizenship, it is an offence to enter or leave South Africa using a foreign passport.
Similarly, you must leave and enter Australia using your Australian passport. This means that you need to carry both your South African passport and your Australian passport when travelling between the two countries (and keep them both up to date).
How to apply
To apply for permission to retain South African citizenship, visit the following webpage and follow the instructions: https://www.sahc.org.au/citizenship/Dual_Citizenship.htm
To apply for renunciation of your South African citizenship, visit the following webpage and follow the instructions: https://www.sahc.org.au/citizenship/Renunciation.htm
For further information, contact Australian Life Migration
08 9301 1055