Virginia, US
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| Manal Galaria

Indian Citizenship -To be, or not to be

As I write this post many babies are being born around the globe – some far away from the place they are meant to call home, international marriages being celebrated, travelers falling in love with foreign lands and looking for long term solutions to soothe the ache that comes from leaving and some having to make the hard choice of picking only one such country to belong to because they cannot have it all.

As cliché as I might sound, I cannot resist quoting our very own friendly neighborhood Spiderman’s uncle who once said ‘With great power, comes great responsibility.’ Global mobility brings great power to start a new life in a new country and with immigration comes great responsibility to always make informed choices.

Being in the Indian immigration space, I know that India is a country, which does not consent to dual citizenship. This adds to the pressures of making the right choice, at the right time to either retain it or acquire a foreign citizenship.

Eligibility Criteria of Indian Citizenship

The Indian Citizenship Act, drafted in 1955, chalks out eligibility criteria and residency requirements in India based on the following:

  • Citizenship at the commencement of the constitution of India 
  • Citizenship by birth 
  • Citizenship by descent 
  • Citizenship by registration 
  • Citizenship by naturalisation
Considering the pros and cons of Indian Citizenship
On the flipside, renunciation of Indian citizenship is mandatory while acquiring citizenship of another country. It will be important to note here that minor children of the parent or parents renouncing Indian citizenship lose their own citizenships as well. When the children reach the age of 18, they have the right to restore their Indian citizenship, provided all necessary requirements are fulfilled.

While making these decisions, it is extremely important to weigh out all pros and cons. The most important question we should ask ourselves is if we are to head back to our home country permanently or even temporarily, what are the immigration regulations that we need to be aware of and if we are willing to do what it takes?

Not always are these decisions ours to make alone. Most commonly, parents have to make this choice for their new-born and minor children. In such scenarios, it is very important to consider the impact of choosing a foreign citizenship and obligations that come attached with that passport while the child is growing up. In most countries, once a citizenship is acquired at birth, parents cannot renounce that citizenship on behalf of the minor child. For those who want their children to remain Indian, the Government of India has the provision to register a child born abroad at the Indian Embassy and apply for an Indian passport.

Given this dynamic nature of our lives and laws that govern us, isn’t it best to be prepared?

For any further advice or information on Indian citizenship requirements, please feel free to contact me on +91 80 4344 4712 or