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Dual Citizenship in India

  • Author :
  • TATA AIG Team
  • Published on :
  • 23/01/2023

Matters concerning travel, citizenship, immigration, etc. can be confusing to the commonfolk who are not working in the travelling business. But fortunately, even if these things are not as easy to understand as your travel insurance plan, they are not very complicated either. One of the most common immigration queries afflicting several individuals is the matter of dual citizenship. Many think that because the Constitution of India does not permit holding Indian citizenship alongside that of a foreign country, there is no alternative. However, the rules about dual citizenship in India are a little more detailed than that. Before exploring countries that allow dual citizenship, let’s first understand dual citizenship’s meaning.

What is Dual Citizenship?

In its simplest definitions, dual citizenship means that an individual has more than one nationality. This enables an individual to enjoy the country-specific rights and benefits of both the countries in which they hold their citizenships. For instance, an individual who has dual citizenship can study, work, and reside in both these countries. This also applies to privileges such as access to healthcare, social security, etc.

Another benefit of holding dual citizenship is that the said individual can hold multiple passports, which enables ease of travel with visa-free benefits in most countries.

Having understood dual citizenship meaning, let’s move on to the next common question, “is dual citizenship allowed in India?”

Is Dual Citizenship Allowed in India?

As most people may be aware, the Constitution of India does not have any provision concerning dual or multiple citizenships. In other words, holding dual citizenship in India is not permitted. However, while you cannot be a second citizen of India, Indians can instead acquire a passport from another country. They will have to do so, however, by giving up their Indian citizenship.

According to the Passport Act 1967, every Indian citizen must submit their passport to their nearest Indian embassy once they acquire the nationality of another country. Once this formality is completed, while you cannot be a second citizen of India, you get the status of Overseas Citizen of India (OCI).

Some requirements for dual citizenship include:

  • Individuals who have voluntarily sought the citizenship of a foreign state basis Articles 5, 6, and 8 will no longer be Indian citizens.
  • These individuals will then assume the nationality of another foreign state where they have raised the request for their citizenship.
  • Individuals assuming foreign nationality are expected to submit their Indian passport at their nearest Indian embassy.

While India does not belong to the list of countries that offer dual citizenship, these individuals can opt for an OCI card. The benefits that come with an OCI card are discussed below.

Benefits of the OCI Card

Individuals holding an OCI card can enjoy several benefits, including:

  • Independence to work, reside in and establish their business in India as well as the country of their choice indefinitely.
  • Multi-purpose, multiple entries with a life-long visa for visiting India.
  • They can own property and assets.
  • Registered OCI members are charged the same entry fee as domestic Indian visitors to national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in India.
  • Students holding an OCI card are at par with the NRIs to be appearing for all-India pre-medical test and other such tests. However, this can be accomplished in the pursuance of the provisions mentioned in the relevant rules/acts under which these tests are conducted.
  • These individuals can hold multiple passports. However, with multiple passports comes added responsibility and so to enhance security, comprehensive travelling insurance is recommended.

OCIs can re-apply for their Indian citizenship after giving up their foreign citizenship. This, however, depends on the updated regulations.

Eligibility for Dual Citizenship

Before applying for dual citizenship, every applicant must first take a look at the parameters involved. This is because countries that allow dual citizenship can have varying eligibility parameters. When it comes to Indian citizenship, here are the criteria that need to be fulfilled:

  • The applicant must be an ordinary resident of India for at least seven years before he/she can apply for Indian citizenship.
  • Individuals who have an Indian spouse can also apply for Indian citizenship.
  • An adult with his/her parents holding Indian citizenship can also apply for the same. However, they have to be living in India for at least a year to be eligible.
  • An individual who has been registered as an OCI for five years.
  • Indian citizenship is also eligible for foreign nationals.
  • Foreign nationals who were entitled to settle in India as of 26.01.1950, who were Indian citizens on or after 26.01.1950, or who belonged to a region that joined India after 15.08.1947.

Application Process for Obtaining Dual Citizenship

The application process would also vary depending on the country. It is important to be aware of the processes and the documents involved when applying for dual citizenship. Even a small error can lead you to lose your citizenship of the country you have been residing in. To apply for an OCI card in India, here’s what you can do:

  • Visit the official website for online OCI and get yourself registered
  • Check the eligibility criteria and get all the documents ready prior to making an application
  • Click on the “Apply Online” tab and submit your duly filled form

Once this is done, get two printouts of your application form.

Documents Needed to Apply for Dual Citizenship in India

  • When applying for their OCI card, individuals are expected to keep the following documents handy:

  • Proof of current citizenship

  • A copy of the cancelled Indian passport along with your original passport. A drill stamp is an indispensable inclusion in this passport.

  • If claiming an Indian origin for the grant of an OCI, the individual must present evidence of a relationship with the parent or the grandparent.

  • Proof of residence

  • Details of the previous and the current job profile

  • Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) must submit a copy of their PIO card

  • The photos that are submitted must have a light-coloured background but not a white background.

Let’s now take a look at dual citizenship countries for seamless application processes.

List of Countries that Offer Dual Citizenship

Here is a list of countries offering dual citizenship:

Country Name Country Name Country Name
Slovenia South Korea Latvia
Argentina Brazil Costa Rica
Antigua & Barbuda Armenia Ireland
Finland Philippines United Kingdom
Malawi Benin France
Luxembourg Egypt Germany
United States of America Bolivia Hungary
Malta Iceland Mexico
New Zealand Nigeria Bulgaria

Importance of Travel Insurance

Having learned about the different factors involved concerning dual citizenship, travellers must also learn of another important travel document: travelling insurance.

The outbreak of the infamous pandemic not only induced urgency among Indians looking to move abroad, but it came with a lot of uncertainty owing to changing rules and regulations. This further highlighted the importance of a comprehensive travel insurance plan to secure journeys. Travellers learned that with changing flight schedules, having flight cancellation insurance is the best way to safeguard their finances. Aside from flights, a comprehensive travel insurance plan secures travellers against other unpleasant scenarios such as loss of passport, misplaced luggage, medical emergencies, and more. The travel insurance by Tata AIG also comes with a COVID-19 cover to secure journeys, so individuals can travel in a stress-free manner.

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