I'm a USA citizen applying for permanent residency in Australia. As part of the form I have to say which countries I'm a citizen for, but I don't actually know...

I became a citizen through an N-600 application (my father was naturalised while I was under 18). Before then I had Canadian and South African citizenship. My understanding is that I retain my other citizenships, since I was under 18 at the time and had no say in the matter of receiving my US citizenship. Does anyone know if that is correct? Am I currently a tri-citizen, or did I lose my other citizenships in the N-600 process?

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    Hmmm... Looked around a bit more. According to this answer I've at least lost my South African citizenship since I didn't "obtain permission from the South African government before undertaking application for [American] citizenship."
    – Lucy
    Sep 13, 2014 at 7:27

2 Answers 2


First of all, you cannot "became a citizen through an N-600 application". The N-600 is the form to apply for a Certificate of Citizenship, for which the prerequisite is that you are already a U.S. citizen. The certificate is simply a proof. Applying for it, or not applying for it, has no effect on your U.S. citizenship. You became a U.S. citizen automatically (and involuntarily) by law when your father naturalized, and you were a permanent resident under 18 residing with him.

Every country's nationality law is independent, and to determine whether you have a country's nationality, you must look to that country's laws. Canadian nationality law does not care about other nationalities. So the question is with South Africa.

For South Africa, you automatically lose South African nationality on acquiring another nationality only if you were at least 18 when you acquired it, acquired it voluntarily, and if you did not get permission to retain it. This doesn't apply to you because you acquired U.S. nationality (and Canadian too, if you weren't born with it) before 18 (also it was not voluntary). You can read the South African Citizenship Act of 1995, in particular, article 6, which says:

  1. (1) Subject to the provisions of subsection (2), a South African citizen shall cease to be a South African citizen if-

    (a) he or she, whilst not being a minor, by some voluntary and formal act other than marriage, acquires the citizenship or nationality of a country other than the Republic; or

    (b) he or she in terms of the laws of any other country also has the citizenship or nationality of that country, and serves in the armed forces of such country while that country is at war with the Republic.

    (2) Any person referred to in subsection (1) may, prior to his or her loss of South African citizenship in terms of this section, apply to the Minister to retain his or her South African citizenship, and the Minister may, if he or she deems it fit, order such retention. Renunciation of citizenship


American form is irrelevant. What's relevant is the law of the other countries.

To the best of my knowledge, Canadians allow dual citizenship and you retain your Canadian citizenship after naturalizing in the US unless you explicitly renounce it.

South Africa, to the best of my knowledge, doesn't allow dual citizenship and you're considered to have lost your citizenship once you gained your Canadian or US citizenship (unless you got them at birth, which at least the US - you haven't).

According to the link you found, since you got naturalized in the US before becoming 18 years old, you're exempt from the limitation and may still have your South African citizenship. Check with their consulate in your area.

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