Many of us (South Africans living in the US) get green cards that eventually lead to qualifying for US citizenship.
Once you reach that point, the question becomes, “Do I give up my South African citizenship, or do I go for dual-citizenship?”
There are some issues with both options…
Giving Up SA Citizenship and having US Citizenship Only
- You will be regarded as a foreigner in South Africa and will need to get a visa when you visit SA. (This is not a problem for the usual short-term tourist visas. You get those at the airport.)
- If you ever decide to move back to South Africa, you will need to apply with the SA govt for residence status and to regain your citizenship, i.e. you won’t simply be able to show up and settle.
- You will not have to go through the whole process of renewing your SA passport every few years, a process that can at times be frustrating.
- When visiting South Africa, since you will be there as an American, you will able to get assistance from the US embassy in the case of an emergency.
- You will no longer be subject to South African laws, e.g. possible military conscription obligations, or not being able to take your US-bought firearm into South Africa.
Keeping your South African Citizenship (Dual Citizenship)
- You have to renew your SA passport every few years. (As I said, sometimes the process can at times be frustrating.)
- You can go back to South Africa at any time you choose, whether to visit or live.
- When visiting South Africa, you have to enter South Africa as a South African (i.e. on your SA passport). This means you can’t take your US-bought firearm with you on a hunting trip because you won’t have a South African firearm license for it. You also won’t be able to get assistance from the US embassy in the case of an emergency.
There are probably more issues to consider, but these are the general ones.
So my question to you is this:
Tell us what you think, and feel free to add your thoughts as a comment below!