Answer to a question from a reader

Why did Home Affairs deny my youngest child citizenship?

The short answer

Children born after October 2014 will need a visa from Home Affairs.

The whole question

I am a foreign national and I’ve had permanent residency since 2011. I’ve been married for ten years and three of my children were born in South Africa, making them South African citizens. However, my last born was denied citizenship by Home Affairs. They stated that he should apply for a visa instead.  Shouldn’t he be a citizen like his siblings?

The long answer

The South African Citizenship Amendment Act, 2010 (Act No. 17 of 2010) came into operation on 1 January 2013 and unfortunately it means that children of permanent residents born after October 2014 no longer qualify for automatic citizenship or permanent residency. It means that children born after October 2014 will need a visa from Home Affairs.

The visa your youngest son must apply for is temporary residency, for example under the relatives category, and he will also need to apply for permanent residency.

The law now says:

“Any person born in the Republic of parents who have been admitted into the Republic for permanent residence and who is not a South African citizen, qualifies to be a South African citizen by birth, if:

(a) he or she has lived in the Republic from the date of his or her birth to the date of becoming a major; and
(b) his or her birth is registered in the Republic in accordance with the Births and Deaths Registration Act, 1992 (Act No. 51 of 1992).

So I’m afraid your son can only become a South African citizen after he is 18 years old, provided that his birth is registered.

Answered on May 8, 2020, 8:55 a.m.

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