South Africans interested in joining the British Armed Forces will be delighted to hear about a recent rule change in the recruitment process of the British Armed Forces.

Earlier this month (November 2018), the British Armed Forces announced that citizens from British Commonwealth countries would henceforth be allowed to apply for all ranks and roles in the British Armed Forces, without having to fulfil the five-year residency rule.

In 2013 the British Armed Forces introduced a five-year residency requirement for all applicants. Applicants were required to have spent five years in the UK on a visa leading to permanent residence, such as the Ancestral route. This rule has now been scrapped, and all Commonwealth citizens can thus apply for all ranks and rules, without any residency requirements.

South Africa is, of course, a member of the Commonwealth, and South Africans can thus apply for positions!

Commonwealth countries currently are the following:

Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Botswana, Brunei, Cameroon, Canada, Cyprus, Dominica, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), Fiji, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Kiribati, Lesotho, Malawi, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Samoa, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, the Solomon Islands, South Africa, Sri Lanka, St Kitts and Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines, The Gambia,, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Uganda, Tanzania, Vanuatu, Zambia.

The Minister of State for the British Armed Forces, Mark Lancaster, also made specific mention of South Africa in his announcement. He said that the UK Armed Forces had more than 7500 Commonwealth citizens in its ranks, with many hailing from South Africa, Fiji, and Australia.

The British Armed Forces recruitment process

As from the date of the announcement, the application for the British Armed Forces for all ranks and roles will be open to South African citizens 18 years and older.

It was announced that 1350 persons from Commonwealth countries will be recruited per year. The British Army will recruit about 1000 personnel per year; the Royal Navy 300 persons per year and the Royal Air Forces about 50 persons per year.

The Royal Navy and the Royal Air Forces have already started with their recruitment process. The British Army will start their recruitment process in January 2019.

Dependants and British citizenship

South Africans who are successful in joining the British Armed Forces will be glad to hear that their family will be able to join them. Dependants will include spouses, life partners, and dependent children. Successful candidates will also eventually be able to obtain permanent residence status that can give access to British citizenship.

For more information on how your spouse, partner, children, and other dependants can join you, please feel free to contact Breytenbachs Immigration Consultants at


This post is also available in: Afrikaans

Breytenbachs Immigration Consultants Limited
Breytenbachs Immigration Consultants Limited
BREYTENBACHS IMMIGRATION CONSULTANTS LIMITED specialises in UK and SA Immigration. We pride ourselves on our reputation for excellence, fast results and friendly service. The consultants in the UK immigration department will be able to give you the best advice on the permit or visa that will enable you to live and work in the UK or South Africa.

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