South African Citizenship
The acquisition, loss, deprivation and resumption of South African citizenship are regulated by the South African Citizenship Act, 1995 (Act 88 of 1995), hereinafter referred to as "the Act", and the Regulations issued in terms of the Act.
There are three main forms of South African Citizenship:
In terms of the Act, a child born in South Africa and of which one of the parents was a South African citizen or South African permanent residence holder at the time of the child's birth, shall be a South African citizen by birth in the case of births from 6 October 1995 when the Act came into operation.
The position before that was governed by the South African Citizenship Act, 1949, which contained a wide range of different requirements over the years. To determine a person's claim to South African citizenship in respect of births in that era, completion of a BI-529 (Determination of Citizenship Status) is normally required.
A foreign child born in South Africa and who is adopted in terms of the Child Care Act, 1983 by a South African citizen and whose birth has been registered in South Africa is also a South African citizen by birth.
A foreign child born in South Africa and who has no claim to another citizenship (stateless) may also acquire South African citizenship by birth. Conclusive proof that the child has no other citizenship, or claim to any other citizenship is required in such cases.
A child born outside South Africa and of which at least one of the parents was a South African citizen at the time of the child's birth has a claim to South African citizenship by descent. The child's birth must, however, be registered in South Africa for the child to acquire South African citizenship.
Foreigners wishing to acquire South African citizenship may apply for South African citizenship by naturalisation.
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