Dual Citizenship

Dual Citizenship Of India

Indian Constitution does not allow dual citizenship of india, i.e., holding Indian citizenship and citizenship of a foreign country at the same time.

Recently Government of India decided to grant Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI). Most people are mistakenly refering it as 'dual citizenship for indians'. Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) of certain category who migrated from India and acquired citizenship of a foreign country other than Pakistan and Bangladesh, are eligible for grant of OCI as long as their home countries allow dual citizenship in some form or the other under their local laws. For example it is allowed to be a dual citizen in USA, so a person of Indian origin who has migrated to USA and is now US national can take up overseas citizenship of India as well but that is not equivalent to full indian citizenship.

OCI versus NRI status

Differences in being an Overseas citizen of India as against having full indian nationality is

  • You do not get Indian passport.

  • You do not get voting rights to vote in Indian elections.

  • You Can not give your candidature for Lok Sabha/Rajya Sabha/Legislative Assembly/Council

  • You can not hold constitutional posts such as President, Vice President, Supreme Court/High Court Judge etc.

  • You cannot normally hold employment in the Government which is only for Indian citizens.

As Overseas Citizen of India, you get following benefits:

  • Multiple entry, multi-purpose life long visa to visit India;

  • Exemption from reporting to Police authorities for any length of stay in India; and

  • Parity with NRIs in financial, economic and educational fields except in the acquisition of agricultural or plantation properties.

Any further benefits to OCIs will be notified by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) under section 7B(1) of the Citizenship Act, 1955.

A person registered as OCI is eligible to apply by the Ministry of citizenship under section 5(1)(g) of the Citizenship Act, 1955 if he/she is registered as OCI for five years and has been residing in India for one year out of the five years before making the application.

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However, such person would have to renounce foreign citizenship.

OCI scheme is being operational from Dec 2, 2005. It has been decided that formal launching of scheme will be done by Prime Minister at Pravasi Bharatiya Divas on Jan 7, 2006 at Hyderabad by symbolically handing over the first OCI certificate to a person of Indian origin.

It is anticipated that a large number of Indian Diaspora will be benefited by this scheme for a hassle free travel to their motherland. They will bring economic value and benefits to Indian economy and contribute to the development process.

Related article of interest http://onenri.com/oci-versus-nri.html