How to get Citizenship in South Africa
Achieving South African citizenship, when immigrating to South Africa, is often a ‘three step’ process. An immigrant cannot simply apply for citizenship straight away but must first hold permanent residency. As permanent residency can take up to 30 months (in some cases longer) to achieve, immigrants mainly first apply for temporary residency, whilst waiting for their permanent residency to be approved.
Once permanent residency is approved the following criteria will apply:
For people who are citizens of another country but want South African citizenship she or he can apply to the Minister of Home Affairs for citizenship.
These are the conditions that the person must fulfil:
- Must be over the age of 21
- Must have a permanent residence permit to live in South Africa
- Must have lived in South Africa with that permit for at least 5 years before applying for citizenship, and one of those years must have been the year before making the application. The other 4 years must have been within the 8 years before making the application. This 5 year period can be shortened to 2 years if the person is the wife or husband of a South African citizen.
- Must be able to communicate in one of our official languages
- Must be of good character
Please note an application for citizenship can be refused by the Minister even if the person seems to fulfil all the conditions. It is not a right but a privilege.
What if I am not sure if I am still a Citizen of South Africa?
For South Africans that have emigrated to another country and subsequently taken up citizenship of that country, there is often confusion as to whether they are still citizens of South Africa.
This can depend on whether disclosure to the Department of Home Affairs was made at the time of applications for citizenships in other countries, what undertakings were made to the country they were obtaining citizenship from and under what circumstances this citizenship was applied for.
To contact Intergate Immigration Service about your citizenship enquiries please use the below links
Alternatively you can fill out the below online enquiry form to contact us.