There is an assumption that children born in foreign countries are recognized as citizens. But this is not true everywhere, and it isn’t true in South Africa. As a parent, your child’s status in South Africa depends on the visa or status you possess when they are born.

A Child Born Where at Least One Parent Is a Citizen of South Africa

Your child will automatically become a South African citizen if you or your partner are South African citizens.

South African Citizens Adopting a Foreign-Born Child

Adopted foreign children become citizens of descent when they are adopted by South Africans.

Children Born to Temporary Residents in South Africa

Your child will also be considered a temporary resident if you and your partner are both temporary South African residents. However, your child will need a visa to live in South Africa legally.

Children Born to Permanent Residents in South Africa

In accordance with the status of their parents, children born to parents who are permanent residents can apply for their relatives’ permanent or temporary residency. It is advisable to submit all applications as soon as possible after the birth of your child has been registered and they have obtained their passport.


The children of foreign parents who are born in South Africa without a valid visa are not in the country legally, and will not be able to attend school, regardless of whether you have mistakenly assumed they are citizens.


If your child qualifies for citizenship, it’s best to register their birth and apply for an unabridged birth certificate as soon as possible. Especially if you plan to travel out of South Africa. Let Doc Assist help you navigate the complex system that is the Department of Home Affairs and apply for an unabridged birth certificate on your behalf. For more information, get in touch today.


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