Worried you’ve lost SA citizen


Worried you’ve lost SA citizenship? It’s now easy to check through a Determination process

(Partner content) If you are a South African currently living abroad, you might have some concerns and questions about moving back to SA.

Worried you’ve lost SA citizen


A lot of South Africans travel overseas on either a permanent or temporary basis, regardless of whether it is for employment or just starting a life in a new part of the world.

Perhaps you got married to a non-South African citizen or had kids while living abroad. Perhaps you’ve been out of the country for very long and took another citizenship? Did your actions impact your South African citizenship? Doing a Determination of Citizenship is the fastest and easiest way to tell.

Although facts about every individual case need to be taken into consideration before any advice can be given, there are some general guidelines we’d like to point out as far as South African citizenship and the verification thereof is concerned.

How do I verify my South African citizenship status?

You can verify your South African citizenship through the Citizenship Determination process. The check is usually completed in 30-40 business days, but lengthy delays can be expected in the event where your documents have to be sent to the head offices of the South African Department of Home Affairs.

Ultimately, a Determination of Citizenship is the process in which to verify whether your South African citizenship has been revoked or not. Should you have lost citizenship for some reason, you can apply for the resumption thereof, although it is an extremely lengthy process.

Do I have to spend a certain amount of time in SA per year to retain my citizenship status?

Luckily, South African citizens can reside outside of the country indefinitely without losing their citizenship. You only stand to lose your status in the event that you obtain citizenship in another country without applying for Retention of South African Citizenship first. You are required, by law, to make a formal application to the Department of Home Affairs or your nearest South African Mission abroad in order to retain your SA citizenship before taking up citizenship in a foreign country.

What does Determination of Citizenship Status look like?

The determination will be in the form of a letter from the South African Department of Home Affairs (DHA). The letter will confirm whether the applicant has Citizenship or Permanent Residency status in South Africa. The DHA checks the information against the National Population Register and then issues a determination of citizenship letter.

What documents do I need to submit in order to apply for determination?

To assist with the finalization of the application, you will be usually be expected to submit certified copies of the following documents:

  • Unabridged birth certificate
  • South African Identity Document OR Passport
  • Letter of Retention of South African Citizenship (or your Foreign Citizenship Certificate)

Need help?

However, enquire with your document agency (such as Apostil.co.za), since not all cases require all the above documentation. As with all things South African document related, it is strongly recommended that you submit any and all proof that might support your case. This can be in the form of identity documents, marriage certificates and any documents that will assist in expediting the finalization of the application.