South African citizens who have already acquired their citizenship of another country and wish to resume their South African citizenship – foreign citizenship acquired before October 1995

Due to the new South African Citizenship Act coming into force in October 1995, this does mean a separation of citizenship related matters in respect of applicants who acquired their foreign Citizenship before or after October 1995.


In respect of South African Citizens who acquired their foreign citizenship before October 1995, then an additional exclusion exists in respect of when an applicant will not lose their South African citizenship.


The South African Citizenship Act of 1949 would be applicable here and, although this is very similar to the 1995 Act, there are some subtle differences.


Under the 1949 Act a South African citizen would only lose their South African citizenship if they acquired a foreign citizenship, whilst not being a minor, by some voluntary and formal act and if acquisition took place whilst the South African citizen was outside the Republic of South Africa.


This then raises two (2) distinct exclusions from the loss of South African citizenship.  A South African citizen, who acquired their foreign citizenship prior to October 1995, would not have lost their South African citizenship if they were still a minor when they acquired it or if they were inside the Republic of South Africa when they acquired such foreign citizenship.


In a situation where a South African citizen has in fact lost their South African citizenship as a result of the acquisition of a foreign citizenship acquired prior to 1995, and where such applicant was indeed permanently residing in South Africa or intending to return to South Africa permanently then an exemption application could be applied for.  The exemption application would be an exemption from the loss of South African citizenship and would allow such applicant to resume South African citizenship in its entirety. Please take note that this process would, in the end, include also applying for a new South African Identity Document and South African Passport.


In a situation where such an applicant was not intending to reside in South Africa permanently again, then they do retain their right to South African Permanent Residence.  As such, they would still be entitled to obtain a Permanent Residence endorsement into their foreign passport.