How to Obtain Citizenship of India?

Citizenship refers to a person’s relationship with the state to which the person owes commitment to its laws and is entitled to the protection granted by the state.

The citizens of India are bound to obey its law and are free to exercise their civil and political rights.

Citizenship is exclusionary. Citizenship is highly coveted in the Indian subcontinent defined by the historical narratives of the partition.

The Indian Constitution provides citizenship of India to every person born in India. The parliament enacted the Citizenship Act in 1955 for the acquisition, renunciation, termination, deprivation, and determination of citizenship of India.

Methods of Acquiring Citizenship of India

Citizenship of India can be obtained in the following ways under the certain sections of the Citizenship Act,1955:

By Birth (section 3)

  1. Any person born in India before 01-07-1987 and on or after 26-01-1950 is a citizen of India by his/her birth.
  2. Any person born in India between 01-07-1987, and 02-12- 2004, is an Indian citizen if either of his or her parents was a citizen of India at the time of birth.
  3. Any person born in India on or after 03-12-2004 is an Indian citizen if both of his or her parents are citizens of India at the time of his or her birth.

By Descent (section 4)

  1. A person born outside India between 26-01-1950, and 10-12-1992, is required to have citizenship of India at the time of his/her birth.
  2. At the time of a child’s birth outside the country on or after 10-12-1992, one of the parents must be an Indian citizen.

By Registration (section 5) :

  1. A person of Indian origin who lived in India for 7 years before applying for registration
  2. A person of Indian origin who resided for 7 years in any country or area outside India before filing for registration
  3. A person who marries an Indian citizen and has lived in India for at least 7 years before registering
  4. A foreign minor child whose parents are Indian citizens is also eligible to register.
  5. A person who is a major also whose parents registered for citizenship of India
  6. A person who is a major or one of his or her parents must have been an Indian citizen at the time of independence and resided in India for at least a year before registering.
  7. A major person who has lived in India for at least 1 year and registered as an Indian overseas citizen for at least five years before filing for registration

By Naturalisation (section 6) :

  1. The person seeking citizenship by naturalisation must not be an illegal migrant.
  2. The person must not be a citizen of any country in which Indians are denied naturalisation.
  3. Must be fluent in at least one of the languages listed in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution.
  4. There is a special exception given to the outsider working in science, philosophy, art, literature, global peace, or human development fields. They can obtain citizenship by naturalisation without any preceding requirements of the third schedule.
  5. After being granted a naturalisation certificate, the oath of allegiance should be taken by the same person as specified in the second schedule.

Procedure to Apply for Citizenship

  • The applicant must submit a hard copy of his or her online citizenship application to the Collector/District Magistrate/Deputy Commissioner in the area where they reside.
  • Within 60 days after receiving a copy from the applicant, the Collector/District Magistrate/Deputy Commissioner must submit it to the State Government, along with a report on the applicant’s eligibility.
  • The State Government must submit the application, along with the suggestion, to the Ministry of Home Affairs within 30 days.
  • After acquiring security clearance from the agency, the ministry examines each application per the provisions of the Citizenship of India legislated with rules.

Overseas Citizenship of India

The Indian government confers Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) to certain people moving from India and obtaining citizenship in 2005.

Foreign countries other than Pakistan or Bangladesh are also eligible to apply for OCI if their respective countries accept dual citizenship in some form or another under their constitution.

OCIs cannot vote and are ineligible to seek election in the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, Legislative Assembly/Council, or any other constitutional post, even those held by Indian authorities.

Termination of Indian Citizenship

Section 9 of the Citizenship Act of 1955 outlines the following provisions for the termination of citizenship.

When an Indian citizen willingly gains citizenship of another nation, he/she ceases to be an Indian citizen.

However, if an Indian citizen willingly gains citizenship in another country during a conflict, his/her citizenship is not revoked until the Central Government instructs otherwise.


In India, the partition and the social, legal, and political changes that followed have shaped citizenship policies in India. The citizenship of India is based on the restrictive attitude toward migrants by the Indian government. Citizens always valued the individualist and liberal at the time of partition. Citizens competed for opposing nationalist ideas, which resulted in the formation of various types of ethnic particularism in the public domain.

FAQs on Citizenship of India

Is dual citizenship possible in India?

The Indian Constitution forbids dual citizenship on the advice of a high-level committee. Thus, the Indian Government agreed to Grant OCI.

What is the full meaning of OCI and POI in the citizenship Act?

A person of Indian origin was granted the status of Overseas Citizen of India by the Indian Government in 2005.

What are the benefits for OCI cardholders?

A visa will be issued for a lifetime, allowing you to visit India multiple times and for multiple purposes. An exception exists for reporting to police authorities about the duration of stay in India. Rights equal to NRI are bestowed to OCI holders in financial, economic, and educational fields. Furthermore, they have the right in the acquisition of agricultural and plantation properties.

What are the requirements to obtain citizenship of India?

Naturalisation (Section 6), birth (Section 3), descent (Section 4), and registration (Section 5) are the requirements for obtaining Indian citizenship.

What is the difference between an OCI card and an NRI card?

A foreign person who has an origin in India can register as an overseas citizen of India, and an NRI is a citizen of India who resides outside the country.

Constitutional law