Indian citizenship can be acquired either by registration or naturalization. The exact process for becoming an Indian citizen depends on your nationality and whether you have Indian origin or not.
What is the law governing citizenship in India?
The Constitution of India provides a single citizenship for the entire country. The Citizenship Act enacted by the Parliament in 1955 provides for acquisition, renunciation, termination, deprivation and determination of Indian citizenship. The Act provides for acquisition of Indian Citizenship by birth, descent, registration and naturalization.
What are the ways by which a person can become a citizen of India?
- Every person born in India on or after the 26.01.1950 but before 01.07.1987 is a citizen of India by birth irrespective of the nationality of his/her parents.
- Every person born in India between 01.07.1987 to 02.12.2004 is a citizen of India provided either of his/her parents is a citizen of India at the time of his/ her birth.
- Every person born in India on or after 03.12.2004, shall be citizen of India provided both of his/her parents are citizens of India or one of whose parents is a citizen of India and the other is not an illegal migrant at the time of his/ her birth
Citizenship of India by registration can be acquired by –
- A person of Indian origin who is ordinarily resident in India for seven years before making an application for registration
- A person of Indian origin who is ordinarily resident in any country or place outside undivided India
- A person who is married to a citizen of India and is ordinarily resident of India for seven years before making an application for registration
- Minor children of persons who are citizens of India
- A person of full age and capacity whose parents are registered as citizens of India section 5(1) (a) of this sub-section or sub-section (1) of section 6
- A person of full age and capacity who, or either of his/ her parents, was earlier citizen of independent India, and has been residing in India for one year immediately before making an application for registration
- A person of full age and capacity who has been registered as an overseas citizen of India for five years, and who has been residing in India for one year before making an application for registration
Citizenship of India by naturalization can be acquired by a foreigner (not being an illegal migrant) who is ordinarily resident in India for twelve years (throughout the period of twelve months immediately preceding the date of application and for eleven years in the aggregate in the fourteen years preceding the twelve months) and fulfils other qualifications as specified in third schedule to the act, 1955.
What is the process of determination of a citizenship?
- Any question that arise about the manner of acquisition of the citizenship of another country by any citizen of India, the same shall be determined by the Central Government
- Any question relating to the acquisition by an Indian citizen of the citizenship of any other country, the Central Government may make such reference as it thinks fit in respect of that question or of any matter relating thereto, to its Embassy in that country or to the Government of that country and act on any report or Information received in pursuance of such reference
- The fact that a citizen of India has obtained on any date a passport from the Government of any other country shall be conclusive proof of his having voluntarily acquired the citizenship of that country before that date
- In determining whether a citizen of India has or has not voluntarily acquired the citizenship of any other country, the Central Government may take the following circumstances into consideration, namely
- Whether the person has migrated to that country with the intention of making it his permanent house.
- Whether he has in fact taken up permanent residence in that country and
- Any other circumstances relevant to the purpose
How is citizenship terminated?
Any citizen of India who by naturalization, registration or otherwise voluntarily acquires, or has at any time between the 26th January, 1950 and the commencement of this Act, voluntarily acquired the citizenship of another country shall, upon such acquisition or, as the case may be, such commencement, cease to be a citizen of India.
What are the important documents required before applying for citizenship of India?
- Evidence of the date of birth of the parents’ viz. copy of the Indian passport or birth certificate.
- Declaration and Oath of allegiance as specified in the form to be made before the offices specified in the Citizenship Rules, 1955 i.e. Collector/ DM/ DC.
- Copy of Bank Challan in original amounting to Rs.500/- payable towards declaration and Oath of allegiance deposited in the State Bank of India under Head No.”0070-Other Administrative Services-Other Services-receipts under the Citizenship Act”.