South African Citizens who have already acquired their Citizenship of another country and wish to resume their South African Citizenship – foreign Citizenship acquired after October 1995
The South African Citizenship Act of 1995 which applies to all applicants who acquired their foreign citizenship after October 1995, differs only slightly from the 1949 Act mentioned above.
According to the 1995 Act a South African citizen will lose their South African citizenship if, whilst not being a minor, they acquire the citizenship of another country by way of a voluntary and formal act. The exclusion of not losing your South African citizenship if you acquire a foreign citizenship whilst in South Africa was no longer applicable under the 1995 Act and, as such, it no longer made a difference whether you were inside or outside South Africa when acquisition of a foreign citizenship took place.
Similarly to the process that would be followed under the 1949 Act, there is a difference here between applicants who are intending or are in fact already residing permanently in South Africa and applicants who have no intention to return to South Africa. In respect of the applicant who has no intention to return to South Africa, here the applicant still retains the right to South African Permanent Residence. As a result, such a person could obtain a Permanent Residence endorsement into their foreign passport. In respect of the applicant who is residing permanently in South Africa or intends to do so, an application can be made here for a resumption of South African citizenship. Once again, this will ultimately involve the process of applying for a new South African Identity Document and Passport.
We are often asked what the difference is between being a South African Permanent Resident as opposed to resuming South African citizenship in its entirety. The main differences are that as a South African Permanent Resident, you would no longer be entitled to a South African citizen Identity Document and South African passport. However, you would hold the entitlement to a non South African citizen Identity Document or Permanent Resident Identity Document. Your South African Identity Number would also change slightly as a result of now becoming a Permanent Resident. Furthermore, you would no longer be entitled to vote in South Africa’s General or Municipal elections. Apart from that, you retain all other rights and responsibilities that a South African citizen would. You would still be able to enter and exit South Africa as you please, work, study, run a business etc. in South Africa. Should you then ever return to South Africa permanently, you would still be entitled to apply for a resumption of your South African citizenship at that stage.