My child was born in South Africa – are they South African?

Despite what one may be told or believe, if your child is born in South Africa they are not immediately South African citizens, unless of course, you are. In fact, any child born in South Africa begins their journey into this world as an illegal person – as they do not have a visa to reside in South Africa.

Practically, this means that if a child born in South Africa were to leave the country only on their passport, they could be declared undesirable upon exiting – despite all logic to the contrary!

It is therefore advisable that once a birth certificate and passport is obtained for your child, you immediately apply for temporary residency status – the category of which will depend on what you and your spouse’s status is in South Africa. Depending on the status of the parents, they can make an application for their child in terms of:

  • Accompanying minor visa 11(1)(b)(iv);
  • Relatives visa section 18

Once the visa is received and placed in the child’s passport, they are unequivocally in South Africa legally and will not have any issues leaving or re-entering the country. Once temporary residency is obtained and if at least one parent is a permanent resident, the child will also be eligible for permanent residency. Upon obtaining the age of majority, which is currently 18, he or she will be able to apply for citizenship if they so wish.