SA Chamber USA keeps South Africans in the USA informed. In this article, we will discuss Dual Citizenship options for South Africans living in the USA.
Please note that you can only obtain dual Citizenship approval before you naturalize as a USA citizen. Especially if you wish to retain your South African citizenship.
Many South Africans are still looking at obtaining a second passport to improve their work, study, and travel options overseas. John Dunn, director of citizenship and immigration at Sable International, explains the important issues and processes involved.
Dual citizenship or dual nationality allows you to be a national of multiple countries at the same time. Before you apply to register as a citizen of another country, there are some specific rules you must follow as a South African in order to retain your South African citizenship.
Foreign countries permit South Africans to acquire multiple citizenship, under certain conditions. You must first apply for permission from the South African Department of Home Affairs. Home Affairs must then grant permission for retention of your South African citizenship. before attaining your foreign citizenship. If you don’t do this before receiving citizenship, you can automatically lose your South African citizenship.
If permission has been granted, you will be given a “Letter of Retention”. This rule applies to all South African citizens aged 18 years or older. Those who are under the age of 18 years are exempted. Countries do not require children under the age of 18 to apply for dual citizenship, as long as they acquire foreign citizenship before their 18th birthday.
In some instances where a foreign country deems you a citizen at birth, this means you are able to apply for a passport of that country. You do not have to register, so you do not need to apply for retention of South African citizenship at all.
When you have dual nationality, you must use your South African passport to enter and exit South Africa. South Africa considers it a criminal offense to use another passport to enter the country if you are a South African passport holder. Outside of the country, you can use your foreign or South African nationality and passport freely.
You must complete the DHA-175 and DHA BI-1664 forms and submit these to the Home Affairs office, along with a letter from the Consulate or Embassy proving you have not already obtained citizenship.
Even if you’ve lost your South African citizenship, you haven’t lost your right to permanent residence in South Africa. Should you return to South Africa permanently, you will be able to apply for the resumption of your South African citizenship from within South Africa.
If you obtain your South African citizenship through this method, you will gain full residency rights.
You will be given a new ID number and your voting rights will not be reinstated.
Most countries allow dual nationality. But, Andorra, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Belarus, Botswana. Bhutan, China, Oman, Japan, Malaysia, and Singapore are some of the countries that forbid dual citizenship.