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Is dual nationality Dutch – South-African a possibility?

Do you have the South African nationality and are you wondering if you can obtain the Dutch nationality without losing your South African nationality? This article will provide you with more information on this.

The general rule in the Netherlands is that you must renounce other nationalities when you become Dutch through naturalization. In South Africa, as a rule, you will automatically lose your South African nationality when obtaining another nationality.

However, under South African citizenship law you can ask for retention of your South African nationality when obtaining another nationality. In general, this gets approved which means that you retain your South African nationality if you obtain another nationality. Because the Dutch government is familiar with the South African citizenship law on this point, South Africans who apply for naturalization in the Netherlands are asked to sign a statement confirming that they have not asked for retention of the South African nationality and will not do so in the future. For this reason, in principle, it is not possible for South Africans who naturalize to become Dutch citizens to retain their South African nationality and become dual Dutch -South African citizens.

This is different if you have a Dutch spouse or registered partner. Then, the rule that you must renounce your other nationality(ies) does not apply. This is also different if you become Dutch through the option procedure because the option procedure generally does not have a renunciation requirement.

In June 2023, the Supreme Court of Appeal of South Africa ruled on a provision regarding the automatic loss of South African nationality upon obtaining another nationality. The Supreme Court ruled that the provision that the South African nationality is automatically lost when you acquire another nationality is unconstitutional. However, this does not yet change the practice of automatic loss. For that to happen, the Constitutional Court of South Africa must also rule that this loss is unconstitutional. After that, the South African nationality laws can be amended. That is not yet the case. Therefore, the practice remains the same and a South African who wants to naturalize and is not married to or has a registered partnership with a Dutch citizen needs to confirm that they will not ask the South African authorities to retain their South African nationality. 

If you have any questions regarding dual citizenship, please feel free to contact us.

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