Overview of Citizenship Act, 1955 and Amendments Made There Under
Indian Parliament enacted the Citizenship Act, 1955 (57 of 1955) and the Citizenship Rules were framed in 1956. The Citizenship Act, 1955 was amended extensively in 2003. Citizenship is a matter dealt with by Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in the Government of India.
As per the Indian Citizenship Act of 1955 (amended in 2003), an individual can obtain Indian citizenship by one or more of the following means:
- Citizenship by birth: Every person born in India on or after 26.1.1950 but before the commencement of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2003, where both the parents are citizens of India or one of whose parents is a citizen of India and the other is not an illegal migrant at the time of birth, shall be a citizen of India by birth.
- Citizenship by descent: Every person born outside India shall be a citizen of India by descent if both the parents or either of them is an Indian citizen, not being an illegal migrant, provided his/her birth is registered at an Indian Mission/Post abroad within one year of the birth. After one year period birth, permission of MHA is required.
- Citizenship by registration: MHA may, on an application made in this behalf, register as a citizen of India any person, not being an illegal migrant, if he/she belongs to any categories viz.
- Citizenship by naturalization: A person of full age and capacity can apply to MHA for citizenship by naturalization, in the prescribed form, under the provisions of Third Schedule to the Act.
a. A person of Indian origin who is resident in India for 7 years, before making the application;
b. A person of Indian origin who is ordinarily resident in any country or place outside undivided India.
c. A person who is married to an Indian citizen and is ordinarily resident in India for 7 years before making the application
d. Minor children of persons who are citizens of India
e. A person of full age and capacity whose parents are registered as Indian citizens under clause 5(a) or 6(1) of the Act.
f. A person of full age and capacity who, or either of his parents was earlier citizen of independent India, and has been residing in India, for one year immediately before making the application.
g. A person of full age and capacity who has been registered as an Overseas Citizen of India for 5 years, and who has been residing in India for two years before making the application.
- Parents holding Indian passports should register birth of their children born in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain with the Embassy of India, Abu Dhabi within a period of one year of the birth.
- For registration of the birth and obtaining new passport, complete the formalities, including filling up of requisite forms under passport services – registration of birth, issue of BC and passport for a child born in UAE)
- After one year of the birth of the child, the case will have to be referred to Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Indian Citizenship Section, 26, Jaisalmer House, Mansingh Road, New Delhi-110011, in the prescribed application forms for getting approval. Procedure for getting approval in such cases from MHA takes considerable time. It is, therefore, advisable that parents holding Indian passports, register the birth of their children born in UAE with the Embassy within the prescribed period of one year without fail.
- Persons like spouses married to Indian citizens etc, intending to acquire Indian citizenship by registration, who are resident in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, are required to apply in the prescribed forms to Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Indian Citizenship Section, 26, Jaisalmer House, Mansingh Road, New Delhi-110011 through the Embassy of India, Abu Dhabi. Prospective applicants are cautioned that procedure for getting approval in such cases from MHA takes considerable time. It is, therefore, advisable that such persons apply well in time with all documents.
Introduction of New Procedure of Applying Online for indian Citizenship
- The Citizenship Act, 1955 provides for acquisition of Indian citizenship by birth, descent, registration and naturalization. In order to make the procedure simpler, faster and transparent, the Ministry of Home Affairs has developed a software to facilitate submission of online applications for grant of Indian citizenship. Accordingly, the Ministry has now decided to introduce the new procedure for applying online indian citizenship. The application can only be made online and the said procedure is also available on the MHA’s website:
- The facility for online submission of application forms under sections 5 (1)(a), 5(1)(c), 5(1)(d), 5(1)(e), 5(1)(f), 5(1)(g) and 6(1) has been provided. A foreigner can apply online by accessing website http://indiancitizenshiponline.nic.in/ provided they fulfill either of the above eligibility criteria in order to initiate the processing of getting the Indian citizenship. Each application form is meant for one person only. Once the online application is submitted by an applicant an ‘Internet File Number’ is generated automatically and this number is to be preserved for printing of the online application and for status tracking. Applicant needs to submit the duly signed / self attested hard copy of the computer generated application form and supporting documents in original with two copies to the nearest Consulate / Embassy personally for onward transmission to the concerned Ministry in India.
- Applications complete in all the prescribed eligibility criteria only will be considered by the Government of India in terms of the provisions of the Citizenship Act, 1955 and the Rules framed thereunder after obtaining security clearance from the concerned security agency. Each applicant who is found to be eligible for Indian citizenship will be informed about the acceptance of his / her application through the concerned Consulate / Embassy.
* The various sections such as 5 (1)(a), 5(1)(c), 5(1)(d), 5(1)(e), 5(1)(f), 5(1)(g) and 6(1) with a highlight that prompts for a pop up window which shows necessary requirements for the respective sections*