I am South African and Polish national with current passports in both countries. Neither one has any reservations about this fact and is pretty common with many countries.

I do not live in either of those countries. I currently live in England and I am thinking about taking "the test" to become a British Citizen.

I am not sure but I tried to skim on-line documents, and it seems like I will be able to keep my other 2 passports and gain this third, British one.

Is this possible? Or is is something that might cause me complications or are there some benefits in this?

  • Of related interest: How many nationalities can I have?
    – choster
    Mar 12, 2014 at 21:46
  • Tell them that you don't mind paying taxes to all 3 countries even if it means 110% of everything you earn daily, and they will happily agree.
    – NickNo
    Jun 19, 2014 at 18:08
  • They wont even know how to calculate that...
    – Piotr Kula
    Jun 21, 2014 at 20:40

2 Answers 2


There is no limit, unless the countries you have a citizenship in limit them. Britain for example doesn't care whether you have a citizenship in an other country or not (since the British Nationality Act of 1948).

However South Africa does not allow multiple citizenships, unless you ask them for permission before getting a new citizenship from them. I don't know in which order you got the Polish and South African citizenship, but you should be careful when applying, as you might lose your South African citizenship in the process.

If you don't get a permission, this might still mean you can get a British citizenship without losing the South African one, but only if you can keep this as a secret from the South African government, but if you value that citizenship, you should not take the chances.

Also Poland doesn't seem to have any kind of legislation about multiple citizenships.

  • 1
    Poland has changed legislation in 1990s. Old legislation limited to dual citizenship, now it's unlimited.
    – vartec
    Mar 13, 2014 at 12:36
  • Technically, depending on how the law is formulated, hiding your new nationality from the South African government could allow you to continue to use it but you might nonetheless have already lost it from day one, legally. (Importantly, if and when they find out, the effects would in this case be retroactive, e.g. a child you had in-between would have no claim to the nationality, etc.)
    – Gala
    Mar 21, 2014 at 6:38

As SztupY mentioned, you need to request permission retain your South African citizenship on gaining any other citizenship. If you are not granted such permission, you will lose South African citizenship.

I am a little worried you may have lost your South African citizenship on gaining Polish citizenship.

Requesting Retention

If you are in the UK / London, the process for retaining citizenship is detailed on the South Africa House Citizenship Retention Page.

I suggest you apply in person, since finding someone to certify a copy of your passport according to South African standards is likely to be expensive / difficult.

You should leave a good few weeks for this process before you gain UK citizenship, since the first step could take more than 2 weeks.


  1. Apply for a letter confirming you have not gained British Citizenship from the UK government. This currently (March 2014) costs £94, and will take 10 working days.
  2. Download and fill in the BI-1664 and BI-529 forms from the South Africa House page (more details about which items to cross out and ignore are on the same page). If you have questions, staff at South Africa House are helpful. Print a couple of spare copies in case you have forgotten something.
  3. Make a couple of copies of the photo page of your passport. Don't forget this, or you will need to find a photocopier somewhere in central London. South Africa House staff won't do it for you.
  4. Draw £25 in cash for the South Africa House fee (current price as at March 2014)
  5. Visit the Consular Section of South Africa House at 15 Whitehall, London, SW1A 2DD in person. No appointment is necessary, but you should arrive from 08:45 to 12:45 Monday to Friday (note that this excludes South African public holidays, which UK consular staff take as holidays).

Expect the process to take a few hours. If all is well, you should leave with the appropriate permission letter on the same day.

  • I think this permission was granted when I was younger to have Polish and South African. I briefly remember my parents talking about this but something changed and I no longer needed a separate document. But if I get British I suppose I need to do this again and South Africa might deny this application. +1
    – Piotr Kula
    Mar 20, 2014 at 22:17
  • Just extra information that's hopefully relevant to your point: the letter given by the SA government is with reference to the specific type of citizenship you are gaining. So mine says that I will not lose my SA citizenship when I gain UK citizenship. Unfortunately this means that you can't use the same letter for both your Polish and UK citizenship. Mar 20, 2014 at 22:58
  • If you acquire the second citizenship before you are 18, it's not a problem (I guess you acquired Polish citizenship at birth or as a small child)
    – Max
    May 21, 2014 at 7:57

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