Last year I did a “How To” post on applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK – I know many of my friends who are also on the path to becoming British found it useful, and it appears to have attracted attention from random “Googlers” too, so thought I would follow it up with another immigration related post on applying for the retention of South African citizenship in the UK, commonly referred to as an application for Dual Citizenship. I’ll also be doing posts soon on how I went about applying for my Naturalisation/British Citizenship and my actual British passport book – watch this space :)
Why apply for Dual Citizenship?
Two quick reasons, I’m sure there are more: to maintain ties with the country of your birth, and to give yourself the option of moving back to SA (without having to re-apply for citizenship) should you wish to.
Definition of Dual Citizenship/Retention of Citizenship
(from SA Embassy website)
“Application for the retention of RSA citizenship is an application that MUST be made before one acquires foreign nationality. South African citizens who take up foreign citizenship without applying for retention of South African will lose their SA citizenship. Persons under the age of 18 years do not need to apply for retention of their South African Citizenship, as they will not loose their citizenship whilst still minors.”
DISCLAIMER: I am not an immigration guru, do not quote me! The information here is from my own research and experience but I have compiled it to the best of my abilities to help where I can :) If you read this and spot any mistakes or mis-information, please let me know so that I can correct it. Everything I have written here is applicable to laws/rules currently in place now (i.e. July 2012). While I’m pretty sure my findings are correct, to cover all bases, I recommend you read up on the subject yourself before going ahead with any applications.
There are two stages in the process for applying for Dual Citizenship:
You have to get proof from the UK Border Agency that you have not yet become a British Citizen:
- Completed Form NQ
- Completed payment form (2nd page of the “nationality-fees” PDF]
The fee is £88 and you need to post the two forms to:
UK Border Agency
New Hall Place
Form NQ will be returned to you with an official signature / stamp.
Once you have received the signed letter back from the Home Office you can apply to the SA Embassy for Dual Citizenship. You can apply in person or you can post the application off (I posted it) – you do not need an appointment but note that the embassy only opens from 08h45 to 12h45 Monday to Friday (except on public holidays).
I copied this from the SA House website and deleted the irrelevant bits and added my own note – forms can be dowloaded from this page: http://southafricahouseuk.com/passports/psprt_citret.html
- All forms must be completed in black ink.
- Completed BI-1664 form.
- Completed bi-529 form.
- Where a question is NOT APPLICABLE to you, you MUST put “N/A” in the space provided for the answer.
- Certified copy of photo page of the passport. Applicants who will be applying in person will be assisted by the Consular staff with the certification of their documents.
- Letter of non-acquisition of British nationality; this letter should not be older than 3 months.
- Self addressed special delivery envelope – this should be A4 in size and weighted to carry up to 100g.
- Applicants must write their email address on all correspondence – I wrote mine at the bottom of each page.
- Processing fee of £25.00, payment must be in the form of cash or postal order payable to SA High Commission.
South African High Commission
London SW1A 2DD
They say turn-around time is 15 days. You will receive one sheet of paper back from them – a letter/certificate granting you the retention of your SA nationality when applying for other citizenship.
Make sure you start this process 2-3 months before you want to apply for British Naturalisation and include a certified copy of the document you receive in your Naturalisation application.