Settling abroad is not an easy job. People have to face many problems, answer several questions and clear innumerable doubts. One of the most common topics of confusion is Indian dual citizenship. The question of whether India allows dual citizenship, rings up every mind. Therefore, this article is completely based on ‘Can Indians get dual citizenship?’
Let us begin with a simple question?
What is dual citizenship?
As understood by the term itself, dual citizenship refers to a person who has the rights of citizenship of two countries at the same time. It often arises as a matter of law. Such people have duties towards both the countries. Dual membership is advantages as it provides easy residency in multiple countries and access to many government programs as well. Yet there are many legal considerations that can add to your problems (Sometimes).
Let us understand this concept better with an example. Hypothetically you have dual citizenship . So you will be entitled to all the rights of both the countries. But you will also have to perform all the duties that you are liable to, of the same countries. This would include tax payment, residency duties, obligations towards homeland etc.
Now that the basic concept is clear, let us focus on some related, commonly asked questions
Does India allow dual citizenship?
In simple worlds, India does not allow Dual Citizenship. But again this completely does not depend upon India. It also depends on the other country’s policy. For example if you are a citizen of India by default and you want a citizenship of Singapore, the decision would depend on the latter country.
The Indian policy regarding Dual Citizenship is a bit different. India follows a concept of OCI (Overseas Citizenship of India) Vs Dual Citizenship.
What is OCI ?
OCI (overseas citizenship of India) refers to an immigration status which gives the permission to a foreign citizen (but of Indian origin) to live in India. This concept is based on Dual Citizenship, where the Indian government has built up the law to grant OCI.
Who can get an OCI
People of Indian origin are granted OCI as long as their home country does not have a problem with it. So, Indians who have migrated and have acquired citizenship of a foreign country are granted with the above mentioned. As an OCI holder they are eligible to live in India indefinitely. Yet this law is not applicable for citizens for Pakistan and Bangladesh. A bill was passed by India ( in year 2000) which stated that OCI is not open to all the people of Indian origin. It can be only granted to people who were from specific countries which are in the approved list and granted case by case .
What are the Benefits of OCI
- People with an OCI Card can stay in India as long as they want to without reporting to any authorities
- It provides people with a lifelong visa to visit India.
- As an OCI holder, you have an equal position to that of NRIs with respect of financial, economic and educational field.
Restrictions of OCI
- Such people have no rights over public services. This includes government jobs and other government programs.
- Right to vote is withdrawn from people who hold OCI.
- They do not enjoy the rights to hold farmland. That is an agricultural property.
- A person who is a holder of OCI would not get the privilege to stand as a candidate in the Lok Sabha. He would not be eligible for elections at Raja Sabha or any other constitutional post (the post of the President, the Vice President, Judge of the Supreme Court and the High Court).
Eligibility criteria for OCI
Indian Government has drawn an eligibility list regarding OCI. The pointers of the list are given below:
- A person who has been a citizen of India on 26 January, 1950 and thereafter can be a holder of OCI.
- Belonged to the territory which became a part of India after 15 August 1947 is eligible to apply for OCI.
- Belongs to the generation of such members who were a citizen or is a minor of a person who is fulfilling the above mentioned criteria can be granted OCI.
- Spouse of an OCI holder or of foreign origin of a citizen of India can be a holder of OCI.
The OCI certificate contains a note: “This is to certify that the person who particulars are given in this citizenship has been registered as an overseas citizen of India under the provisions of section 7 a of the citizenship act, 1955”.
In summary, OCI is a similar to of dual citizenship formed by the Indian Government but with some restrictions. You can learn more about OCI here
We hope that this article was helpful. In case you have any further questions or doubts, do leave a comment below.