South Africa – Dual Citizenship

Homecoming-Revolution-Dual-Citizenship-300x210Retaining citizenship is something that may be a necessity for a lot South Africans living in the UK and elsewhere. There will be those who need to return for business, family and other personal reasons.

Equally important may be the need to establish or retain ties to the UK. While the UK does not define dual citizenship as such, it allows a person to hold more than one passport if they hold a British one.

South Africa appears to be going out of its way to control the freedom of its citizens. There could be a debate as whether the new Act is constitutional. while Embassy websites lead one  to believe that its a simply process of filly in a one page for prior to obtaining a second citizenship and a normal cost of around £25, this is not quite the case.

Here are some of the facts and myths unravelled:

1. Retaining SA-UK Dual citizenship is a three-part process.
You first have to obtain a letter from the UK Home Office confirming that you have NEVER applied for British citizenship.
Then you take that letter to the SA Embassy with your application form for the Retention certificate.
Only then, once you have the Retention letter, do you apply for UK citizenship.
This applies to anyone who is over the age of 18 and is eligible to obtain British Citizenship by naturalization. If you can claim British Citizenship by descent through your father you do not need to apply for dual citizenship as you will have acquired it at birth. Claiming British Citizenship by descent through your mother WILL require the Retention letter BEFORE you submit an application form UKM.
2. For any documentation, letters relating to British citizenship and British visas, you go to the UK Home Office, not to the SA Embassy nor SA Home Office.
3. For documentation, letters, etc South African citizenship, you go to the SA Embassy or SA Home Office, not to the UK Home Office.
4. An embassy is like an extension of a home office in a foreign country.
5. Citizenship and passports are two different matters. You will need citizenship of a country BEFORE you apply for a passport.
6. Uk Ancestral visas allow you to live and work in the UK for a DEFINITE period of time. Work Permits are another document although an Ancestral Visa does entitle you to work in any occupation and capacity.
Biometrics (fingers, eyes and photo) are necessary for both visa and ID.
Once your biometrics have been processed, you may also be issued with a credit-card type of document known as a Residence Permit which shows your visa status. Similar to the new SA biometric ID cards.
7. Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) allows you to live and work in the UK for an Indefinite period, no time limit. They are not called Work Permits.
8. Anyone living in a foreign country, no matter their visa status, should have a valid passport.
9. SA passports cannot be renewed, neither in SA nor at any SA Embassy anywhere in the whole wide world.
Once your passport has expired, you apply for a new one. Keep the expired ones for personal records and for any visas that may still be valid. If SA Home Affairs want to cancel your old passport, they usually cut off a top corner. Make sure they don’t do it on any pages with valid visas.
10. Keep abreast of the changes. Nothing changes faster than immigration law and perhaps the Scottish weather