‘Dual citizenship is a challenge in India,’ EAM Jaishankar, but there is alternative. 6 things you need to know

Providing dual citizenship to Indians residing abroad poses economic and security challenges, but the debate is ongoing, says External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.

Sanchari Ghosh
Updated26 Dec 2023
External affairs minister S Jaishankar. (File Photo)
External affairs minister S Jaishankar. (File Photo)(HT_PRINT)

Providing dual citizenship to Indians residing abroad poses various economic and security challenges, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar acknowledged recently but, ‘debate is still alive’

He, however, highlights that there is an alternative - Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) and calls it ‘a step towards fulfilling the demand for dual citizenship.’ Here is all you need to know about the ongoing debate. 

What is dual or multiple citizenship?

Dual or multiple citizenship grants an individual legal status as a citizen of two or more countries simultaneously. 

This means they can possess passports from both countries and enjoy social and legal rights equivalent to other citizens. They have the privilege to participate in the political affairs of both countries, obtain visa exemptions for travel, and engage in employment in either nation. 

Which countries offer dual citizenship?

The United States, Finland, Albania, Israel, and Pakistan allow dual citizenships. However, the rules and regulations differ for each country.

Is dual citizenship possible in India?

The Indian Constitution prohibits dual citizenship for nationals. 

Speaking about it, Jaishankar recently said, “There are economic and security challenges as to Indians living in which countries should be provided with dual citizenship.” 

What is the alternative? 

India offers the Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) program to Persons of Indian Origin (PIO), excluding those who migrated to Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Speaking about it, Jaiishankar pointed out that “OCI is a step towards to bridge the demand, however, the debate on dual citizenship is still alive.”

What are the benefits for OCI cardholders?

An OCI card holder enjoys multiple entry, multi-purpose life-long visa to visit India;

Other benefits include exemption from reporting to police authorities for any length of stay in India; and also parity with NRIs in financial, economic and educational fields except in the acquisition of agricultural or plantation properties.

Who is eligible for OCI card?

-As per the ministry's statement, a foreign national, - (i) who was a citizen of India at the time of, or at any time after 26th January, 1950; or (ii) who was eligible to become a citizen of India on 26th January, 1950; or (iii) who belonged to a territory that became part of India after 15th August, 1947; or (iv) who is a child or a grandchild or a great grandchild of such a citizen; or (v) who is a minor child of such persons mentioned above; or (vi) who is a minor child and whose both parents are citizens of India or one of the parents is a citizen of India - is eligible for registration as OCI cardholder.

Where to apply for OCI registration?

The application for OCI registration can be done online from the official website i.e. ociservices.gov.in

 

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