Renunciation of Citizenship
1. What are the legal provisions pertaining to surrender of Indian passport on acquiring foreign citizenship?
Ans: The combined effect of two legislations namely, Indian Passport Act and Indian Citizenship Act warrant that an Indian national on becoming a foreign citizen should inform the nearest Indian mission forthwith and pay a citizenship renunciation fee (which is currently Rs.7000/- or its equivalent in local currency) and simultaneously surrender his last held Indian passport for cancellation and corrections in citizenship records. Government of India has been enforcing these provisions with greater vigour since October 2009.
2. What happens to those who already have their passports duly cancelled by an Indian mission abroad or a passport officer in India?
Ans: They would still be required to go through the motion and obtain a surrender of Indian passport certificate. This would be full compliance of the law. Those whose passports stand cancelled, however, would be entitled to two major concessions granted by the Government. First: If the holder acquired foreign nationality on or before 31-May-2010, a fee of only £29.24 (inclusive of agency charges) is payable instead of the actual £118.84 (inclusive of agency charges). Second: If the last held Indian passport has expired before 01-Jan-2005, the applicant would enjoy amnesty from penalties for misusing the passport if any. Very important to note that attempts to forge the cancellation stamping of a mission as has been detected with the help of forensic methods, would invite severe penalties including life-long denial of service and criminal proceedings. Efforts to hide the last held Indian passport and present older passports too would be against law.
3. I am not interested in registering myself or my family members as OCI or PIO. I also do not want a long term (5 year) X visa to India. Do I still need to renunciate my earlier held Indian citizenship?
Ans: Yes, this is a legal requirement which every Indian citizen is liable to comply with on acquiring foreign nationality. It is immaterial if you are looking for a long term special visa (such as OCI or PIO or 5 year X visa) meant for Indian origin people or not. Compliance with this legal provision is technically independent of all other considerations.
4. What if I do not comply with this provision of law, that is, I do not intend to go through the procedure of renunciation of my former Indian citizenship and pay the associated fee?
Ans: You may be debarred from availing services such as OCI, PIO or a visa to India. You may also be disallowed to avail other consular services such as attestation of documents otherwise available to foreign nationals of Indian origin.
5. I have already obtained an OCI/PIO/5 year X visa. At the time of obtaining the service, it was not conditional to a formal renunciation of the Indian citizenship. Do I still need to renunciate my former Indian citizenship?
6. What if I don’t?
Ans: Subsequent services on the OCI or PIO or a visa to India such as renewal (or) transfer to a new passport (or) a replacement of the OCI/PIO/Visa against a lost one could be withheld.
7. I do not have any of my previous Indian passport, can I still renunciate my citizenship?
Ans: Yes, you can still renunciate by providing a photocopy of your previous Indian passport (or) a document issued by a public authority such as a British Home Office acknowledgement letter or an impounding slip issued by an Indian Immigration Officer showing that you indeed had an Indian passport and thus proving your previous Indian citizenship.
However, it may be noted that the Consulate reserves the right to make enquiries and request you to pay an additional reference fee of £22 to refer it to original issuing authority to verify its authenticity.
8. I neither have my previous Indian passport nor any public document such as a British Home Office acknowledgement (or a photocopy of my passport) to prove my previous Indian citizenship. However, I have a nationality/citizenship certificate issued by UK government (or another foreign government) which mentions that I have held Indian citizenship in the past (or) I was born in India implying Indian citizenship in the past. Can I seek a formal renunciation of Indian citizenship on this basis?
Ans: Yes. The Consulate, however, would examine your request and may ask you to provide additional and corroborating evidence in the form of documents to show early education, birth in India , ownership of ancestral property etc. to rule out the possibility of a non-Indian origin person fraudulently attempting to renunciate something which he never possessed with the malicious intention of obtaining a document that would help him/her in acquiring long term stay rights in UK. It may, however, be noted that such documents would be entertained only if these have been attested or apostilled by competent authorities in India. For details visit www.mea.gov.in/legalization-of-documents.htm.
9. Why is it that my naturalisation certificate (or) citizenship registration certificate (or) foreign passport (such as of UK or any other country) reflecting my place of birth as India alone is not being accepted as evidence of previous Indian citizenship?
Ans: Foreign governments including British government have clarified that such certificates do not guarantee the accuracy of personal particulars including the place of birth. This is because the personal particulars reflected in such certificates are provided by the applicants and the particulars have not been independently verified by a public authority for their correctness. Therefore, Government of India has held such documents of foreign origin as secondary evidence and cannot be treated as conclusive evidence of previous Indian citizenship.
10. What option is available to prove previous Indian citizenship and be able to renunciate it formally in circumstances mentioned at Question No. 9 above?
Ans: You may have to provide other secondary evidence such as education certificates, birth certificate, ownership of ancestral property related documents etc. to establish conclusively the fact of your previous Indian citizenship. It would be decided on a case to case basis as no single document(s) can be prescribed as substitute of an Indian passport other than a “nativity certificate” (or) a “certificate of domicile” issued by Government of India or a State Government. However, as has already been mentioned above in answer to Question No.7, documents issued by public authorities such as acknowledgement of British Home Office or an Indian Mission or a Passport officer in India reflecting the possession of an Indian passport would be accepted as evidence of past Indian citizenship and renunciation of Indian citizenship is permissible on the basis of such documents.
11. Is it possible that my request to renunciate my former Indian citizenship can be turned down?
Ans: It can be refused only under the following circumstances:
(a) You are deliberately concealing the last held Indian passport to avoid penalties on account of misuse of it.
(b) You have refused to pay the penalties that are payable on account of the misuse of Indian passport.
(c) When original passport is not available and the photocopy of the passport appears suspicious (or) cannot be authenticated (or) fails the test of authentication against a check of our records.
(d) When renunciation is claimed on the basis of documents other than passport and these do not conclusive establish past Indian citizenship.
It cannot be refused when the last held Indian passport is presented and all fee including the penalties, if any is paid.
12. Is it correct that renunciation of Indian citizenship sought on the basis of an old passport instead of the most recent one takes longer time in obtaining service?
Ans: Yes. This is because it may require a check of records at the mission as well as in India including with immigration authorities in India to rule out the possibility of misuse of the last held passport (such as renewing it and travelling on it after acquiring foreign nationality). This may mean substantial delay.
13. How long does it take to process an application?
Ans: Straightforward applications are normally processed in ten working days. However, cases where doubts arise if the last held passport has not been presented (or) claim of non-misuse of the passport is suspected (or) supporting documents such as first ever visa to India is not provided the time frame may extend proportionately.
14. I have lost my certificate. How can I get a duplicate?
Ans: You may have personally visit the Consulate General and make an application on a plain paper supported by your Indian passport, naturalisation certificate, British passport and a photocopy of your lost certificate, if available. A photocopy of the fee receipt issued by the VFS or the CGI Birmingham, if available, would be helpful. A duplicate certificate is not possible if a certificate of former Indian citizenship was issued on the basis of secondary evidence unless a photocopy of the issued certificate is available.
15. I was not issued with a certificate even though I had surrendered my passport and paid a fee in the CGI Birmingham. Can I get a certificate now?
Ans: Between 07-06-2010 and 05-09-2010 CGI Birmingham processed applications but did not issue a certificate. The underlying logic was that the receipt would be treated in lieu of such a certificate. If you possess such a receipt, you may visit the Consulate General and make a formal request on a plain paper along with the original receipt. Supporting documents as mentioned at item 14 above would also be required.
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