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How to protect your South African citizenship

By November 3, 2017October 3rd, 2023FinGlobal

How to protect your South African citizenship

November 3, 2017


Many South African expats who move abroad for work purposes may end up with permanent residency or even naturalise as citizens of their new country. What some South African’s don’t know, is that if they accept a new passport without applying for dual citizenship prior to gaining their new citizenship, they automatically lose their South African citizenship.

Travelling without visas

A second passport is very desirable if you travel abroad, as certain passports facilitate movement amongst a wide variety of countries without the need for visas. However if you obtain a foreign passport and have not applied for the retention of your South African passport, you will lose your South African citizenship status on the day you acquire foreign citizenship with the other passport.

Dual citizenship is not prohibited

South Africa does not prohibit dual citizenship or even multiple nationalities, but in order to retain your South African citizenship, you need to first apply for retention of your South African citizenship status. Only once you have had this confirmed, you may formally obtain your foreign passport.  The automatic loss of citizenship status is as a result of the Citizenship Act (No. 88 of 1995 and thereafter).

Entering and leaving requirements

If you do hold multiple passports, a recent amendment to the Citizenship Act requires that a South African citizen holding another passport must enter and leave South Africa on his/her South African passport. The same applies if you are a South African holding another type of passport, for example a UK passport – international best practice requires that you enter and leave the UK on your British passport.

What does the loss of SA citizenship mean?

If you lose your South African citizenship, you still retain your right to permanent residence in South Africa. If you have lost your South African citizenship because you did not follow the procedures by first applying for retention of your South African status, you can apply to resume your South African citizenship status.

How does financial emigration affect your SA citizenship?

Financial emigration is a formal process whereby the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) changes an SA expat’s status from resident ton non-resident for tax and exchange control purposes. This change does not require you to give up your citizenship or your passport or sell your property. It is merely a formality giving legal certainty to your non-resident status.

South African tax residents who live abroad are required to declare their worldwide income to SARS and are subject to South African tax laws. If you choose to financially emigrate, this changes and you will not be liable to pay any South African tax on your worldwide income. Not surprisingly, the proposed change in taxation of foreign income earned by South African tax residents has resulted in a lot more interest in the financial emigration process

How to financially emigrate

With thousands of satisfied customers living all over the world, FinGlobal is regarded as a leading migration company and regularly assists South Africans financially emigrate.

If you’re thinking of moving abroad and would like to financially emigrate, contact FinGlobal for more information about how to make the move and unlock your wealth in your new home.

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