Earlier this week I received my letter confirming that I have not acquired British citizenship (only about 2 weeks later than expected following the crash of all of the UKBAs computer systems). You might recall that I needed this letter in order to apply to retain my South African citizenship. Contrary to what I was expecting, this £88 letter was not printed on inch thick paper in gold leaf… it was the same form I had sent to them, signed by someone at the bottom, slightly crumpled and sporting a coffee stain. Who says the UKBA doesn’t know how to make money…
Anyway, I took said letter to the South African Consulate this morning to get their seal of approval on me having dual nationality – a cinch at only £25.
The South African Consulate has decided that appointments are for losers, reverting to a free-for-all where you turn up and queue. They open at 8:45am. Go before that. Bring a snack. I would suggest not waiting to fill in the forms in the queue like the family in front of me. They’re not really all that straightforward and involve you having to basically re-confirm that you are a South African citizen (having a current valid passport and ID book are not confirmation enough). In order to do this you will need to know the full “pedigree” of your parents, including things like their place of birth and the date of their marriage. If, like me, one of your parents was not born in South Africa, you’ll also need things like their immigration permit number. Better hope that they’re as good at paperwork as my dad.
The process itself is relatively painless as long as you have remembered to bring a photocopy of your passport and once I was actually seen by the document checking person, it didn’t take very long. If you are able to wait, they’ll give you your letter back within about half an hour. I had to go to work so I had to leave mine. I suggested that I could fetch it tomorrow since I work really close to the consulate but unfortunately they don’t allow collections of this particular type of document (??) and I had to provide a special delivery envelope to return it in. These can be bought at any post office for the exorbitant amount of £6.35.
Next step will be using the Nationalisation Checking Service at my local council to submit my application for naturalisation as a British Citizen. First though, I need to find £893 to pay for it. Anyone got any spare change?