How to get Indian Citizenship?


In this write-up, we endeavor to take you through the details that pertain to “How to get Indian citizenship”. We have covered various topics such as what is citizenship, how is it acquired, dual citizenship, validity, Indian Citizenship Act 1955 and the Citizenship Amendment Bill for you to get the details in one place.

What is Citizenship?

Under a custom or law, citizenship is recognized as the position of a person of being a citizen or a legal member or a country.

In other words, citizenship refers to the status of a person as a citizen of a country.

A person with the citizenship of India or any country has the right to live in the country, work and vote.

It is the fundamental duty of a citizen to abide by the law and pay taxes as well.

The word citizenship comes from the Latin word ‘civitas’. It is the Latin word for the city.

Citizenship is used for conferring a person as a legal member because in earlier times; people often associated themselves to belong to a city rather than a country or state.

How to get Indian Citizenship?

In India, citizenship can be acquired in 5 ways. Part II of the Constitution of Indian from Articles 5 to 11 governs the declaration of a person as a citizen of India.

By Birth

Any person who is born in India on or after 26th January 1950 is considered to be an Indian citizen.

By Registration

Upon application, a person can be registered as a citizen of India by the responsible authority subject to certain provisions, conditions and prescribed restrictions.

He/ she should meet all the conditions as mentioned in the section.

By descent

A person is conferred to be an Indian citizen if his/her father is a citizen of India at the time of his/ her birth.

The person should be born outside India on or after 26th January 1950.

By Naturalization

When a person of full age and capacity makes an application in the prescribed manner, the Central Government may grant the certificate of naturalization.

However, the person should not be the citizen of a country specified in the First Schedule.

By Incorporation of Territory

In an instance, if any territory becomes a part of India, the Central Government specifies the persons who shall be conferred Indian citizenship due to their connection with the territory.

The persons whom the Central Government specifies become Indian citizens from the date specified in the order.

Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019

The CAA was passed by both the houses in 2019 which amends the condition to reside in India for 11 out of the 14 previous years to acquire the status of a citizen. This provision was laid out by the Citizenship Act 1955.

The amendment has provided relaxation to people of Hindu, Sikh, Jains, Parsis and Buddhist communities from tree nations – Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

The requirement of 11 years has been relaxed to 6 years to become a deemed citizen of the country.

Who is benefitted by CAA?

The people of the communities, as stated in the amendment, who immigrated to India from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh can become Indian citizens if they have arrived in India before 31st December 2014.

Even if the immigrants do not hold adequate documents, they stand a chance to acquire the status of a citizen in India.

Moreover, they will not be deported or face legal consequences for not holding the required documents.

Can an Indian citizen hold dual citizenship?

No, the citizens of India cannot hold dual citizenship. No person, who is holding the citizenship/passport of India, can hold a passport of a second country at the same time.

Although India does not permit dual citizenship, it offers an Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI).

The OCI refers to an immigration status that allows a foreign national to work and live in India indefinitely. The only given condition is that the person should be of an Indian origin.

Any person who renounces Indian citizenship and acquires the citizenship of any other country has to surrender their Indian passport.

Also, other documents and IDs which states the person’s Indian citizenship shall be surrendered.

Not surrendering the passport and IDs could lead to legal consequences and is an offence under the law.

In an instance, is any person is found to not surrender such documents, IDs and passport shall face fines and legal actions.

However, India has an exception to minors under this category. The minors who obtain an involuntary second nationality can hold an Indian passport alongside a second country’s passport.

On acquiring the age of 18, the person is required to acquire the citizenship of any one country. Other country’s passport is to be given up upon decision.

Can citizenship be revoked or terminated?

Yes, the Constitution of India and Citizen Act has provisions that can lead to revocation or termination of Indian citizenship. As per the Act, citizenship can be terminated in three ways.

By Renunciation

Any individual who acquires the citizenship of another country has to give up his/ her Indian citizenship. This is a voluntary act where a person renunciate being an Indian citizen.

By Termination

As per the Constitution and citizenship Act, when any individual acquires citizenship of any country voluntarily, he/ she automatically cease to be an Indian citizen. Termination of citizenship is carried out under law.

By Deprivation

Deprivation of citizenship is performed for those who have acquired Indian citizenship through naturalization or registration.

It is a compulsory termination when it is found that citizenship was acquired by misrepresentation, fraud, hiding material facts or disloyalty to the constitution. It is carried out through an order of the government.

Highlights of the Indian Citizenship Act, 1955

The Constitution of India and the Citizenship Act of 1955 governs the law pertaining to citizenship in India. They define citizenship and the ways of acquiring citizenship by an individual.

  • The act states the methods of acquisition of citizenship that can be through birth, registration, descent, naturalization or incorporation of territory
  •  As per the Citizenship Act 1955, termination of citizenship can take place through renunciation, deprivation or termination
  • As specified in the 1st Schedule, a citizen of a Commonwealth country possesses the status of a Commonwealth citizen in India
  • The 2nd Schedule of the Act deliberates the Oath of Allegiance which is as follows –

I,  A.B………………………………………………………………do Solemnly affirm (or swear) that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India as by law established, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of India and fulfil my duties as a citizen of India.

  • Qualifications for naturalization are put forth by the 3rd Schedule of the Act.

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