How To Renounce A Foreign Citizenship And Acquire An Indian Citizenship?

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic-led lockdowns, several foreign nationals have come back to India and staying here for over a year. In such a case, they could be eligible to register or naturalise as a citizen of India. This is a good time to apply because staying for 12 months continuously means some pre-requisite with limited flexibility for them. 

If you are one among them and planning to acquire Indian Citizenship, read up! 

Indian Citizenship Acquisition 

You can acquire Indian citizenship by birth, descent, registration or naturalisation as set out in The Citizenship Act, 1955 of India. 

Citizenship by Registration 

Check the below criteria if you are eligible to apply to the Indian government for registering yourself as an Indian citizen: 

  • An individual of Indian origin who is ordinarily staying in India for seven years before making an application 
  • A person who is married to an Indian citizen and is ordinarily residing in India for seven years prior to applying for Indian citizenship 
  • Minor children of people who are Indian citizens 
  • An individual whose parents are Indian citizens 
  • A person who has registered as an OCI for at least five years 
  • An individual who or his parents was earlier a citizen of independent India 

Applicants, notably, have to stay in India consistently for 12 months prior to the date of application. The regulations grant a cumulative absence from India for a total of one month if the GOI is satisfied regarding the existence of special circumstances. 

Citizenship by Naturalisation 

You, as a foreign national, can opt for Indian citizenship by naturalisation if you have resided in India for 12 years, without any interruption throughout 12 months before the date of application. 

After being approved for Indian citizenship, you mandatorily have to renounce your present nationality and provide evidence of this to the Indian government. The process and processing time for renunciation depend on the country of citizenship, which could vary from one country to another. 

Foreign Citizenship Renunciation 

A naturalisation certificate is issued only to someone who has been granted Indian citizenship after furnishing proof of renunciation. The rules are, however, different for children. If a child is eligible for citizenship in another country as it was born in such a country that automatically grants citizenship by birth, the decision of the child may differ regarding which citizenship to accept until it attains 18 years of age. Once the child turns 18, s/he could decide which nationality s/he wants to have. However, the child needs to choose wisely as some countries do not permit a child to renounce his/her citizenship until they become 18 years old. 

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