How to Get South Africa Nationality

Updated on January 9, 2024

How to Obtain South African Nationality

Are you considering becoming a citizen of South Africa? Obtaining South African nationality can open up a world of opportunities such as the right to live, work, and study in the country. This guide will walk you through the requirements and procedures you need to follow to acquire South African citizenship. Read on to explore the various routes available to obtain this coveted status.

Birthright Citizenship

One of the simplest ways to become a South African citizen is through birthright. If you are born in South Africa and at least one of your parents is a South African citizen or permanent resident, you automatically receive South African nationality. This provision also applies if you were born outside the country, but one of your parents is a citizen or permanent resident of South Africa.

Acquisition through Descent

If you have South African parents or grandparents, you may be eligible for citizenship by descent. To qualify, either your parents or grandparents must have been South African citizens at the time of your birth. An application for citizenship by descent must be made to the South African Department of Home Affairs, along with supporting documents proving your lineage.

How to Get South Africa Nationality


If you do not qualify for citizenship through birthright or descent, you can still apply for naturalization. To be eligible for naturalization, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have been a permanent resident of South Africa for a minimum of five years
  • Have a good command of one of the official languages of South Africa
  • Be of good character and show an intention to reside in South Africa
  • Understand the rights and responsibilities of South African citizenship

If you meet these requirements, you can submit an application for naturalization at your nearest South African embassy or consulate. The application process involves completing forms, providing relevant documents, and undergoing interviews and assessments. Upon successful completion of the process, you will be granted South African citizenship.

Marriage to a South African Citizen

If you are married to a South African citizen, you may be eligible for citizenship through marriage. However, it is important to note that being married to a South African citizen does not automatically grant you citizenship. Instead, it allows you to apply for permanent residency, which can eventually lead to citizenship through naturalization after meeting the specified residency requirements.

Retaining Dual Citizenship

South Africa recognizes dual citizenship, meaning you can retain your current citizenship while becoming a South African citizen. This can be especially beneficial if your home country does not allow dual nationality or imposes restrictions on citizens with dual citizenship. However, it is vital to familiarize yourself with the laws of your current country of citizenship to ensure they permit dual nationality.


Obtaining South African nationality can greatly enhance your personal and professional prospects. Whether you qualify for citizenship through birthright, descent, naturalization, marriage, or a combination of these, understanding the requirements and procedures outlined in this guide will help make your journey towards becoming a citizen of South Africa smoother and more successful.