How To Become A Citizen In South Africa

By | October 28, 2021

Citizenship is the status of a person recognized under the custom or law as being a legal member of a sovereign state or belonging to a nation.

Let us see the various ways to become a South African.


The South African Citizenship Act, 1995 (Act 88 of 1995) was amended by the South African Citizenship Amendment Act, 2010 (Act No. 17 of 2010) which came into operation on 1 January 2013. It brought in updated requirements in areas of different applications around Citizenship: 


  • Applications for naturalisation may only be received by the office if the applicant has been on a Permanent Residence Permit for a period of five (5) years from the date of obtaining Permanent Residence (PR) in the Republic of South Africa. No application may be received by the office if the applicant has less than the prescribed five (5) year period.
  • All applicants who wish to apply and are eligible to apply for naturalisation mustbe informed that the process for application will only begin when verification of Permanent Residence Permit has been confirmed by Immigration Services (IMS) through a written and signed letter of proof or PR to be attached to the application. This will require offices where such applications are received to first send verification of PR requests to IMS before receiving an application for naturalisation. Within the same period submit a request to SAPS for a Police Criminal Record check and confirmation to be attached. (SAPS record must be six months valid).
  • Applicants must be informed that they must obtain Police Clearance and a letter of acceptance of dual citizenship from country of citizenship (or origin) to be attached to the application for naturalisation.
  • Applications for naturalisation must be forwarded to the Head Office Citizenship Section within five (5) working days from date of receiving a fully compliant application by the Front Office.
  • Applications must be put on Track and Trace 035 reflecting every stage of the process update without fail.
  • All applications for naturalisation must have a PR identity number with a copy of ID submitted, before they can be received by the Front Office as applications for naturalisation.
  • Proof of language proficiency must be attached with application for naturalisation as well as the completed language test form.
  • Requirements for an application for naturalisation continue as they have been prescribed by the Citizenship Act.
  • It is compulsory to attend Induction to become a citizen of the Republic of South Africa
  • It is compulsory for all to attend the Naturalisation Ceremony and stand before a Judge in order to be granted citizenship in South Africa. Failure to attend would result in withdrawal or non-issuance of Certificate.

PLEASE NOTE – Applicants for naturalisation must be informed to constantly check their status of application or progress with the office of application as approved applications that require signing of “Declaration of Allegiance” will only be valid for a period of six (6) months from date of approval as appearing on 035. Any expired period of signing the “Declaration of Allegiance” will be considered as non-compliance. The application process would immediately lapse and an applicant for naturalisation would be required to lodge a new application.  


  • An application for Determination of Citizenship must be forwarded to Head Office before any application is submitted. This is to ensure that a correct application is submitted by the applicant. 
  • All applications for identity documents, passports and other services mustbe accepted following confirmation of citizenship status of the applicant by the Head Office.
  • All applications for Determination of Citizenship Status must be fully completed in order to comply with the time for the determination of citizenship status.


  • DHA -175 (application form)
  • DHA -529 (applicant form)
  • Proof of continuous residence 1 year prior to application
  • RSA Police report valid for six (6) months from the date of issue
  • Police clearance from country or countries of present nationalities
  • Letter confirming acceptance of dual nationality
  • Proof of payment (R300.00) as per regulated by the National Treasury

 All supporting documents must be attached to enable easy reference to an application. All offices, including embassies, must ensure that office stamps and sign off are adequately done on each application submitted.


  • All births registered by the Department are in terms of the Births and Deaths Registration Act. There is no exclusion or separate requirements for foreign birth registrations.
  • Supporting documents must be attached to an application as prescribed in the Births and Deaths Registration Act. Only complete applications with required supporting documents will be accepted and processed for Foreign Birth Registration.
  • Offices must ensure that parents/grandparents birth certificates are attached with every application submitted. Without these no application will be processed. 


  • Application form Notice of Birth (DHA 24)   
  • DHA 529 (applicant, parents duly fully completed)
  • Full birth certificate of the applicant
  • Front office Verify birth certificate of the applicant’s age from 15years and above with the country of origin (embassy)
  • Marriage certificate if the parents are married or both parents must acknowledge paternity.
  • Proof of birth / citizenship of the South African parent
  • Police report from country of origin as well as one from RSA (15 years and above)
  • An interview report for both the applicant and the South African parent (15 years and above)
  • Proof of Paternity / DNA tests (15 years and above)

SA Citizenship FAQs

Does South Africa allow dual citizenship?

Yes, it is possible for a South African Citizen to hold dual citizenship (be a citizen of more than one country). Under the South African Citizenship Act, one is only able to retain your South African Citizenship if you apply for the retention of this before acquiring foreign citizenship.

Can a refugee apply for citizenship in South Africa?

A refugee may apply for South African citizenship provided he or she:

  • has been granted permanent residence in South Africa
  • has been ordinarily resident in South Africa for a continuous period of 10 years immediately preceding the date of the application
  • is of good character
  • intends to continue to reside in South Africa
  • is able to communicate in any one of the official languages of South Africa
  • has adequate knowledge of the responsibilities and privileges of South African citizenship
  • is a citizen from a country which allows dual citizenship, unless the applicant relinquishes his or her birth nationality