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It is, however, crucial that a person must protect his/her South African citizenship before taking on any other nationality through naturalization. Should you fail to do so, you will automatically lose your South African citizenship.
Retaining your South African Nationality
South Africans who are about to apply for another citizenship through naturalization, have to apply for the Retention of South African citizenship before they acquire another citizenship, to safeguard their SA citizenship. This ensures that their SA citizenship is protected and they can hold another nationality. In this regard, it is important to note the difference between obtaining the other nationality through descent and naturalisation.
Persons who acquire another nationality via descent, will NOT automatically lose their South African citizenship (provided he/she can automatically apply for the second passport without lodging a formal application for such citizenship), and do not have to follow the process of retaining their SA citizenship. Descent is passed down by a parent only. An example is a British parent that passes citizenship down to children born outside of the UK.
This is applicable to people who obtain a second nationality through a formal application (i.e. after holding indefinite leave to remain for a certain period). If you can obtain another citizenship through naturalisation, you have to apply formally for the retention of your SA citizenship, before acquiring the other nationality. If you fail to do so, you will automatically lose your South African citizenship.
Reasons for protecting your South African Citizenship
Clients often ask the consultants at Breytenbachs Immigration Consultants (BIC) why they need to protect their SA Citizenship, as they are often of the opinion that their move overseas is a permanent one.
Reasons will, of course, differ from case to case, and the decision is a personal one but protecting your SA citizenship in the first instance is a relatively simple process. To protect it from the outset can prevent a lot of administration and hassle for the future, should a person’s circumstances change.
How to retain your SA nationality
The process to retain your South African nationality has two stages. The first involves having to apply for a Certificate of Non-Acquisition from the relevant government authority where you will be obtaining your second citizenship.
The second stage involves applying for your Certificate of Retention from the South African High Commission / SA Home Affairs offices in SA. Please speak to your BIC consultant for more advice in this regard.
Reinstating your South African Citizenship
Fortunately, it is possible to re-instate your South African Citizenship, should you have lost it by inaction or due to being uninformed about the required process of retaining one’s South African nationality. Breytenbachs Immigration Consultants (BIC) has a dedicated team of SA Immigration consultants in South Africa, dealing with SA Department Home Affairs, who will be able to assist in every unique circumstance.
Source: The South African
South Africans acquiring other nationalities