The Extra Mile

Can my kids have passports for three different countries?

We answer your travel questions

22 December 2019 - 00:00 By Elizabeth Sleith
'There is no legal reason why - if you qualify for them - you cannot hold three passports'.
'There is no legal reason why - if you qualify for them - you cannot hold three passports'.
Image: 123RF/David Carillet

Q. I was born in UK and have an Irish passport and permanent residence for SA. My 19 year-old twins were born and study in SA. They have both SA and UK passports but the latter have expired and need to be renewed. Should I apply now before Brexit happens? What passport should I apply for with regards to my kids — can they have Irish, UK and SA passports? — Bernie

A. Your children are in an enviable position indeed, especially at a time when so many EU and UK citizens are still in limbo on how Brexit will affect their status in the countries that they currently call home. That uncertainty is also likely to continue for some time as the UK now embarks on the real work of renegotiating its entire relationship with the EU. That said, do not delay any further — Brexit is now inevitable.

There is no legal reason why your children — as long as they qualify for Irish citizenship — cannot hold all three passports. If you were born in Northern Ireland, they might be able to apply for Irish nationality. The questionnaire on irishimmigration.ie is a useful guide.

The next step is to renew their UK passports. This is fairly simple. It can be done online and costs £75.50 (about R1,420). It will take at least three weeks.The process is outlined in detail on the UK home office website gov.uk.

Finally, make sure their SA passports remain valid. The renewal process is quite simple but getting an appointment can take time.

• We can help with your destination dilemmas, visa mysteries and itinerary ideas. E-mail us on travelmag@sundaytimes.co.za