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How To Apply For Citizenship In South Africa?

Last updated on: 08/07/2024

Quick Summary

This blog post provides a comprehensive guide on how to apply for citizenship in South Africa. It covers the different ways to acquire citizenship, the requirements for naturalization, the application process, and frequently asked questions. Whether you are a foreign national or a permanent resident, this post will help you navigate the process and understand the criteria for becoming a South African citizen.


South Africa is a diverse and vibrant country that offers numerous opportunities for individuals seeking to become citizens. Whether you were born in South Africa, have family ties through adoption or descent, or are looking to naturalize as a foreign national, this guide will provide you with the necessary information on how to apply for citizenship.

In this blog post, we will explore the different pathways available for acquiring South African citizenship and outline the requirements and application process involved. We’ll also address frequently asked questions regarding timelines, eligibility criteria, dual citizenship options, and more.

If becoming a citizen of South Africa is your goal – whether it’s due to personal reasons such as wanting stronger connections with your heritage or professional aspirations like accessing job opportunities – read on! This comprehensive guide aims to assist you throughout every step of your journey towards obtaining South African citizenship.

Acquiring South African Citizenship

South African citizenship can be acquired through three main avenues – birth, descent (adoption), or naturalization. Let’s explore each of these pathways in detail:

1. Birth:

If you were born on South African soil to at least one parent who is a citizen or permanent resident of the country, you are automatically considered a South African citizen by birth.

2. Descent (Adoption):

Children who have been legally adopted by South African citizens also qualify for citizenship. The adoption process must adhere to the regulations set forth by the Department of Home Affairs and other relevant authorities.

3. Naturalization:

Foreign nationals residing in South Africa may apply for citizenship through naturalization if they meet certain requirements outlined by the Department of Home Affairs.

To become eligible for naturalization as a foreign national, individuals typically need to fulfill specific criteria such as holding Permanent Residency status within the country for an extended period and meeting additional conditions related to character assessment and language proficiency.

It’s important to note that while acquiring citizenship through birth or descent happens automatically under specified circumstances, applying for naturalized citizenship requires proactive steps from interested individuals seeking full integration into society.

Requirements for Naturalization

To apply for South African citizenship through naturalization, there are certain requirements that need to be met. These requirements include:

1. Proof of permanent residence or exemption:

Applicants must provide documentation proving their status as a permanent resident in South Africa. This can be in the form of a valid Permanent Residence Permit.

2. Confirmation of dual citizenship from the country of origin:

If you currently hold another citizenship apart from your South African one, you will need to provide confirmation and proof from your country of origin.

3. South African non-citizen ID:

As part of the application process, applicants will need to obtain a non-citizen identity document (ID) issued by the Department of Home Affairs specifically for individuals who do not have full citizen rights yet but reside legally within the country’s borders.

4. Spouse’s ID (if applicable):

In case an applicant is married at present or has been previously married while residing in SA, they would require providing spouse’s identification documents such as Identity card/Passport etc.

5. Foreign passport:

A copy/original foreign passport should also accompany other required documents during submission.

6. Marriage certificate (if applicable):

For those applying based on marriage grounds, a certified copy/original Marriage Certificate needs to be submitted along with supporting evidence like photographs showing the marital relationship exists between both parties.

7. Divorce decree (if applicable):

Divorced persons seeking Citizenship shall submit divorce decrees duly attested/certified copies thereof.

8. Police clearance from present nationalities:

Police Clearance Certificates obtained recently, i.e., within six months prior to submitting applications, may also be needed if any criminal records exist against them outside South Africa jurisdiction where he/she resided before coming here.

9. Death certificate (if applicable):

Death certificates of spouse (if applicable) should be submitted in case the applicant is widowed.

10. Proof of qualifications:

Applicants must provide proof of their educational qualifications. This can include copies or original certificates, diplomas, degrees, etc., that have been recognized by relevant authorities.

11. Proof of employment:

Proof showing current and/or previous employment history may also need to be provided as part of the application process.

Application Process for South African Citizenship

To apply for citizenship in South Africa, there is a specific process that individuals need to follow. Here are the steps involved:

1. In-person interview at the Department of Home Affairs:

Once you have gathered all the required documents mentioned earlier, you will need to schedule an appointment with your nearest Department of Home Affairs office. During this interview, officials will review your application and supporting documentation.

2. Attendance at a compulsory induction seminar:

After successfully completing the initial interview, applicants are required to attend a compulsory induction seminar organized by the Department of Home Affairs. This seminar aims to provide information about rights and responsibilities as citizens of South Africa.

3. Naturalization ceremony:

Upon successful completion of both the in-person interview and attendance at the induction seminar, applicants may be invited or notified about their naturalization ceremony date.

4. Seeking guidance from immigration specialists (optional):

The application process can sometimes be complex depending on individual circumstances such as dual citizenship or unique situations not covered under general guidelines provided by authorities. It is advisable to seek assistance from experienced immigration specialists who can guide you through each step, ensuring compliance with requirements set forth by relevant government departments.

It’s important to note that throughout this entire process, it is crucially important to ensure accuracy when filling out forms, providing correct documentation, and adhering strictly to deadlines given during various stages. Any errors could result in delays or rejection of your application.

By following these steps diligently and seeking professional advice if needed, you’ll increase your chances of success in obtaining South African Citizenship.

Applying for Citizenship in South Africa

To apply for citizenship in South Africa, there are certain criteria that need to be met. These include:

Age Requirement:

Applicants must be over the age of 18 to qualify for citizenship.

Permanent Residency Duration:

One of the requirements is being a permanent resident of South Africa for at least five consecutive years. This means having legally obtained and maintained permanent residency status within the country.

Ordinary Residency Requirement:

In addition to meeting the minimum duration requirement, applicants must also have been ordinarily resident in South Africa for at least 12 months prior to applying. This means physically residing within the country on a regular basis during this period.

Good Character Requirement:

The Department of Home Affairs assesses an applicant’s character as part of their evaluation process. It is important that individuals demonstrate good moral conduct and adhere to local laws and regulations throughout their stay in South Africa.

Intent to Establish Oneself in South Africa:

Applicants should show genuine intent and commitment towards establishing themselves permanently within the borders of South African society. The authorities want assurance that successful candidates will contribute positively towards national development while embracing cultural diversity.

Language Proficiency Requirement:

Proficiency or fluency (both written and spoken) in one official language recognized by Republic law is necessary when applying for citizenship.

Knowledge Of Responsibilities And Privileges Of SA Citizenship:

Prospective citizens should possess adequate knowledge about both responsibilities associated with being a citizen as well as privileges granted under South African law. This includes understanding civic duties such as voting rights, respecting constitutional principles, and actively participating in community affairs.

Meeting these criteria demonstrates eligibility but does not guarantee automatic approval. The application process involves submitting relevant documentation, paying applicable fees, and undergoing assessments conducted by the Department of Home Affairs. It is important to follow all guidelines and procedures outlined by the government to complete an application accurately and in a timely manner.

Applying for Citizenship through the Department of Home Affairs

Applying for South African citizenship is a significant step towards becoming a permanent member of the country. The process involves submitting an application to the Department of Home Affairs, which oversees all matters related to immigration and citizenship in South Africa.

Application Fee:

When applying for citizenship through the Department of Home Affairs, there is an application fee that needs to be paid. As per current regulations, this fee amounts to R300.00 (subject to change). It’s important to note that this fee may vary over time, so it’s advisable always check with official sources or consult professionals before proceeding with your application.

Required Paperwork:

To ensure a smooth and successful application process, it is crucially important that you have all necessary paperwork ready when applying for South African citizenship. Here are some key documents typically required:

  1. Proof of Permanent Residence or Exemption: You will need documentation proving your status as either a permanent resident in South Africa or exemption from such requirement.
  2. Confirmation of Dual Citizenship: If you hold dual nationality – being both a citizen by birthright or descent in another country while also seeking naturalization as a citizen in South Africa – you must provide confirmation from your home country acknowledging and allowing dual nationality.
  3. South African Non-Citizen ID: This identification document serves as proof that you currently reside legally within the borders but haven’t yet acquired full-fledged national identity.
  4. Spouse’s Identification (if applicable): In case you’re married at present – whether they are already citizens themselves – their identification details should accompany yours during submission.
  5. Foreign Passport(s): Submit copies showing relevant pages like personal information page along with any visa stamps indicating entry into/exit out-of-country since obtaining PR status here; if multiple passports exist due changes made throughout life span then include them too!
  6. Marriage Certificate (if applicable): For those who got married after acquiring permanent residency, a marriage certificate is required as proof of the union.
  7. Divorce Decree (if applicable): If you have been divorced since obtaining PR status or married someone who was previously married and has now obtained citizenship themselves – provide divorce decree(s) to show legal termination from previous spouse before applying for naturalization.
  8. Police Clearance: Obtain police clearance certificates from all countries where you hold nationality or resided in during adulthood. This ensures that your criminal record is clean and free of any convictions.
  9. Death Certificate (if applicable): In case one’s former partner passed away after acquiring Permanent Residency but prior becoming citizens together then include death certificate too!
  10. Proof of Qualifications: Provide evidence showing educational qualifications attained while residing within South Africa; this could be diplomas, degrees, etc., issued by recognized institutions here at home country abroad alike – whichever applies best based on individual circumstances.
  11. Proof of Employment: Submit documents proving employment history such as contracts with employers over time period spent living locally plus payslips if available along side bank statements reflecting salary deposits made into personal account throughout duration worked thereat particular company/organization/entity involved.
  12. Proof Of Fixed Property Ownership (if Any): If an applicant owns property in South Africa, it should be mentioned.

Importance of Having Correct Documentation:

Having correct documentation when applying for citizenship through the Department Home Affairs cannot be stressed enough. The accuracy and completeness are crucial factors determining whether your application will proceed smoothly without unnecessary delays or complications.

Submitting incomplete forms may result in rejection outrightly which means starting process afresh again later date once everything sorted out properly beforehand so make sure every detail filled correctly according requirements outlined official guidelines provided online resources accessible via their website.

It’s always recommended seeking professional advice immigration specialists experienced handling applications like these navigate complexities associated therewith ensuring highest chances success possible given unique set circumstances surrounding each person individually.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question 1: How long does the citizenship application process take?

The duration of the citizenship application process can vary depending on various factors such as individual circumstances, completeness of documentation, and processing times at the Department of Home Affairs. Generally, it is advisable to allow several months for your application to be processed. It is recommended to check with your local Department of Home Affairs or consult an immigration specialist for more accurate information regarding current processing times.

Question 2: Can I apply for citizenship if I have a criminal record?

Having a criminal record may affect your eligibility for South African citizenship. The Department of Home Affairs considers good character as one criterion when assessing applications. If you have a criminal record, it is important to disclose this information in your application and provide any relevant supporting documents that demonstrate rehabilitation or evidence that you are no longer considered a risk.

Question 3: Can I retain my original citizenship if I become a South African citizen?

South Africa allows dual/multiple nationality; therefore, in most cases, individuals who acquire South African citizenship do not need to renounce their original nationality/citizenship unless required by their country’s laws. However, it is essential to confirm whether retaining dual/multiple nationalities will impact any rights or obligations associated with either nationality/citizenship before proceeding with acquiring South African Citizenship.

Question 4: Can I apply for citizenship if I am married to a South African citizen?


  1. https://apostil.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/BI-529-Determination-of-Citizenship-Status-South-Africa.pdf
  2. https://www.workpermitsouthafrica.co.za/south-african-citizenship/
  3. https://jlia.co.za/citizenship/

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