Citizenship hoops

citizenshipAt long last I have got around to sorting out the paperwork for getting British citizenship. At first it appears to be a fairly straightforward process:

Pay the Home Office £88 for a letter stating I do not hold British citizenship. On recipt of the letter submit the application for the retention of South African citizenship to the South African High Commission in London. With £25.  Once that application is confirmed, pay the UK Border Agency a large sum of money and submit 5 years worth of identity documents and proof of address.  Once citizenship has been granted, attend a citizenship ceremony to complete the legal process.  Bob’s your uncle and Betty your Queen – go apply for a passport.

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.

1. All forms must be completed in black ink
2. Completed BI-1664 form (PLEASE IGNORE QUESTION 8 OF THE FORM)
3. Completed bi-529 form. All South African Citizens who are abroad at the time of lodging an application must fully complete this form. The purpose of the form is to establish that as a South African Citizen you have not lost your Citizenship. PLEASE MARK N/A TO QUESTIONS THAT ARE INAPLICABLE. It is worth noting that questions 9 – 11 MUST be answered.
4. 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.
5. Letter of non acquisition of British nationality; this letter should not be older than 3 months. Information on how to obtain non acquisition letter is available on this link:
6. Self addressed special delivery envelope with all postal applications.
7. Applicants must write their email address on all correspondence.
8. Processing fee of £25.00, Payment must be in the form of cash or postal order payable to SA High Commission.

Will keep you posted on how it goes.

[Update 23-01-2013] I have successfully applied and received the letter of non-acquisition of British citizenship (step 1) and have completed and posted the selection of forms and documentation for a certificate of retention of South African citizenship (step 2).  This takes 15 working days to complete so by the time we are back from South Africa I should have it.

[Update 27-01-2013] I received my certificate from the South Department of Home Affairs which gracefully allows me to retain my South Africa citizenship while applying for British citizenship.  And that was in four days instead of the advertised fifteen.  Which is nice.  So now the next step is to complete the UK Immigration forms once I am back from South Africa as my passport has to be submitted to the Machine and it may disappear for up to six months.

[Update 30-05-2013] This morning my passport and papers arrived back from the UK Border Agency.  My application for citizenship has been processed and approved.  Which is nice.  And it took less than three weeks.  I posted everything off on the 8th May.  Now I just need to wait for the invitation to the citizenship ceremony to start the next part of the process.  The passport is getting closer…

[Update 28-07-2014] Having had a number of queries about the process of getting the letter of non-acquisition of British citizenship and then the certificate of exemption from the South African High Commission I thought I would add some images of what mine look like.  So, you fill in this form and pay £88.  Then you’ll get a letter like this:

acknowledge-ukbaThen you may have to wait a while for them to send you back Page 2 of the Form NQ that you filled in earlier.  When you get that you send it to the South African High Commission following this process.  Mine came back pretty promptly and looked like this:

cert-saOnce you have that you can then start the process of applying for British citizenship and once you’ve got that you can get your passport sorted out.  Keep this certificate in a safe place.  You may need it when your current SA passport expires and you need a new one.

Remember you have to enter and leave South Africa on your South African passport and if you are leaving from and returning to the UK then I would just use the South African passport there too.  For destinations other than South Africa the British passport is probably easier.

51 thoughts on “Citizenship hoops”

  1. Hi,
    I have just applied for non acquisition of British citizenship and received part 2 back within 5 days, which is good but no official letter enclosed, only part 2 signed and stamped. Has anyone else just received their letter back with no official letter from the HO? I checked my bank and payment was taken by nationality direct Liverpool which is legit. Im going to apply in person for the retention of nationality at the SA embassy so that is Sam day. I think I may have put my fathers name and place of birth but under passport number I thought they asked for mine so put mine down. I am also separated from my husband so when applying I will say married as we are but separated. I will give his address and passport with all the forms. Has anyone else experienced issues applying for naturalization as separated or was it all ok? I’m on indefinite leave to remain and got it by being in the U.K. Based on 10 years residence. Any tips will help! Thanks, Michelle

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