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Indian Citizenship - An Overview


  1. Introduction

    The Constitution of India provides for a single citizenship for the entire country. The provisions relating to citizenship are contained in Articles 5 to 11 in Part II of the Constitution of India. 

    2. The Citizenship Act, 1955 that came into force with effect from 30th December 1955 deals with matters relating to the acquisition, determination and termination of Indian citizenship. It provides for the acquisition of Indian citizenship by birth, by descent, by registration and by naturalisation. 

    3. The Citizenship Rules, 1956 that came into force with effect from 7th July 1956 prescribe the procedure, forms of applications, fee etc.

  2. Modes of acquiring Indian citizenship

    By Birth (section 3)

    Those born in India on or after 26th January 1950 but before 1st July 1987 are citizens of India by birth irrespective of the nationality of their parents. Those born in India on or after 1st July 1987, are considered citizens of India only if either of their parents is a citizen of India at the time of their birth.

    By Descent (section 4)

    Those born outside India on or after 26th January 1950 but before 10th December 1992 are citizens of India by descent, if their father was a citizen of India at the time of their birth. Those born outside India after 10th December 1992, are considered citizens of India if either of their parents is a citizen of India at the time of their birth.

    By Registration (section 5)

    Citizenship of India by registration can be acquired by

    1. persons of Indian origin and who are ordinarily resident in India for five years;
    2. persons of India origin who are ordinarily residents in any country or place outside undivided India;
    3. persons who are or have been married to a citizen of India and who are ordinarily resident in India for five years;
    4. minor children both whose parents are Indian citizens;
    5. a citizen of Singapore and Canada who is resident in India for eight years and five years respectively.
    * A person shall be deemed to be of Indian origin if he or either of his parents was born in undivided India.

    The Central Government may, if satisfied that there are special circumstances justifying such registration, cause any minor to be registered as a citizen of India section 5(4).

    By Naturalisation (section 6)

    Citizenship of India by naturalisation can be acquired by a foreigner who is ordinarily resident in India for ten years (continuously for the twelve months preceding the date of application and for nine years in the aggregate in the twelve years preceding the twelve months).

  3. Other important provisions

    Termination of Indian citizenship (section 9)

    A person ceases to be a citizen of India consequent upon voluntarily acquiring the citizenship of another country. 

    Determination of citizenship (section 9)

    Questions that arise about the acquisition of the citizenship of another country by any citizen of India are determined by the Central Government. 

    Deprivation of Indian citizenship (section 10)

    A citizen of India by naturalisation or by registration on account of marriage to an Indian citizen can be deprived of his citizenship by the Central Government if, inter-alia, the same was found to obtained by means of fraud, false representation or the concealment of any material fact.

  4. Procedure

    An application for grant of citizenship is to be submitted to the Collector/ District Magistrate of the area where the applicant is resident. 

    The following forms are to be used for making an application for grant of citizenship

    Form I - application under section 5(1)(a).

    Form II - application under section 5(1(c).

    Form III - application under section 5(1)(d).

    Form IV - application under section 5(4).

    Form XII - application under section 6(1).

    Each applicant whose case is found to be fully compliant with the prescribed requirement is informed about the acceptance of his application through the State Government. 

    After the acceptance of the application, the applicant is required to furnish through the State Government, inter-alia, a certificate of the renunciation of his foreign citizenship. 

    After the completion of the above process a certificate of Indian citizenship is issued to the applicant through the State Government. 


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