New citizenship laws now in effect


The South African Citizenship Amendment Act of 2010 came into effect on 1 January this year.

This was revealed in a proclamation published in Government Gazette 36054.

The bill was adopted by the national assembly in October 2010 and signed into law in December of that year.

The legislation ensures that a child born to a South African parent inside or outside the country is a South African by birth as long as the child is registered according to South African law.

It also stipulates that a child born of non-South African parents but adopted by South African parents is a citizen by descent.

The act also contains the requirement that foreign nationals who have acquired the status of permanent residents and who wish to obtain a Certificate of Naturalization must have been resident in the country for five instead of the current four years.

In terms of dual citizenship, the act ensures that foreign nationals who want to acquire South African citizenship must renounce their original citizenship before the South African citizenship can be conferred upon them.

This is in situations where the country of origin does not permit dual citizenship.

The act also provides for the withdrawal of naturalized citizenship for individuals who participate in wars under another country’s flag.

This applies in cases when participation in a particular conflict flies in the face of South Africa’s stated policy position.

Harsher penalties are also in place for those implicated in the fraudulent acquisition of South African citizenship and identity theft.

In a related matter, the home affairs department has also published regulations on the South African Citizenship Act of 1995 in Gazette 36054.

The regulations focus on the key provisions contained in the amendment act.

Areas dealt with include:

•    Registration of birth that occurred outside South Africa
•    Certificate of naturalisation
•    Proof of renunciation of citizenship of country of origin
•    Citizenship by marriage
•    Loss of South African citizenship
•    Declaration of renunciation of South African citizenship
•    Application for resumption of South African citizenship
•    Certificates for South African citizenship
•    Applications for exemption from the loss of South African citizenship