These days, Elon Musk spends most of his time in California, and more specifically at the headquarters for two of his business; Tesla and SpaceX. He was born to a Canadian mother and a South African father and has lived in three countries. So, is Elon Musk South African?
Yes – he was born in South Africa and continues to hold South African citizenship. In fact, he holds has three citizenships. He holds passports for South Africa, Canada and the U.S. What was his journey to getting three passports? It all starts in Pretoria, South Africa where he was born, and his father still resides.
South Africa is a beautiful country, but not exactly known for their technological prowess and advancements. History could be very different if Elon Musk decided to stay in his home country, lucky for us, he came to North America.
Life in South Africa
In June of 1971, Elon Reeve Musk was born in Pretoria, South Africa. He was young when he started thinking about going to America. He felt that America was the best country in the world and that it was a country where dreams came true.
It was in South Africa that Musk started his road to making smart business decisions. When he was 12-years old he sold the first video game he created. He continued to educate himself and took a liking to Isaac Asimov’s science fiction trilogy, Foundation. It was from this series that he got the idea to find a way to prolong civilization, and to reduce a dark age, should one come about.
Move to Canada
When Elon Musk was 17-years old he figured it would be easier to get to the U.S. through Canada. Having a Canadian mother, he was eligible for citizenship, even though Maye Musk lived most of her life in South Africa. Three weeks after receiving his new passport, he was on his way to his new home country, while retaining his South African citizenship.
He worked on his cousin’s farm for a summer and the following year he enrolled at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario. Three years after arriving in Canada, he made his way south of the border into the United States when he transferred schools to the University of Pennsylvania.
While in Pennsylvania he was able to obtain a student Visa. After graduating with two degrees he was accepted into Stanford, where he was going to work towards a doctorate, but he ended up dropping out after two days so that he could form a company with his brother to get in on the internet boom.
After starting his company his Visa went from being a Student Visa, to an Employment Visa. From there he was eventually able to get a Green Card, which would open the doors for him to receive his citizenship. After living in the United States for five years as a legal resident he was able to apply for and obtain an American passport.
Retaining His Heritage
Through each of his additional passports, Musk never gave up his original heritage. Some people who gain another passport sometimes renounce their original citizenship instead of holding a dual citizenship. Of course, depending on their career, some people need to.
Musk wasn’t forced to give up any of his and he chose to keep them. This does provide him with more opportunities, and options, but it’s also nice to see that he is keeping a link to his homeland. Perhaps more so due to the fact that he’s estranged from his father, who still lives in Pretoria, and his mother, brother and sister all live in the U.S. as well.
Being close to his mother, brother and sister, both physically and emotionally, it would be easy for him to let go of something that links him to a man he has no present connection with.