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Dual citizenships in India

People in India, very often confuse between holding dual citizenships with Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) introduced by the the Govt of India. The Indian constitution does not allow dual citizenship or simultaneously holding two passports of different countries.

Here are the facts:

* The Indian constitution does not allow or recognize “dual citizenship”.
* The Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) scheme does not get you “dual citizenship”.
* The Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) scheme does not give you “Indian passport”.

Automatic loss of Indian citizenship covered in Section 9(1) of theCitizenship act 1955, provides that any citizen of India who by naturalisation or registration acquires the citizenship of another country shall cease to be a citizen of India.” This means you have to give up Indian passport and citizenship to the nearest Indian embassy, should you become citizen of foreign country. A seal is affixed at the back of passport mentioning it is a punishable offence under Indian Passports Act of 1957, of any possession of indian passport, should the passport holder acquires nationality of another country..

Overseas Citizens of India (OCI)

The Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) scheme was introduced by Indian Govt in 2005, to encourage Indians who have gained citizenships abroad in terms of easing travel restrictions and aid the economic development of India. This scheme is just like “Permanent Residence” or "Green Card "given in India.

If you are already a Person of Indian origin (POI) and have taken up citizenship abroad, you can take up benefits of OCI scheme, which gives you same travel and residence privileges like other Indians, but you are not allowed to vote and take up jobs in Government sector. You will also be free from reporting requirements to police regarding the length of your stay. . With that being said, you are eligible to apply for Indian citizenship if you have acquired OCI for 5 years and you have legally resided in India atleast for a year.

The passport document issued for overseas citizens, may look similar like Indian passport but it is very different from Indian passport.

For more specific information about OCI scheme, please visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Website.

Please note that dual citizenship is a sensitive issue and the information given above are for general information only and should not be interpreted as professional advice. For any assistance, you should always contact nearby Indian consulate or immigration lawyer in your country.

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