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Rules changed for acquiring OCI and renouncing Indian citizenship

Indian and Australian passports Source: Wikimedia/Sulthan90 and Ajfabien (C.C. BY A SA 4.0)

Indians obtaining citizenship of another country will now have to declare the circumstances under which they plan to denounce Indian citizenship.

The government of India has published a revised form for the declaration of renunciation by Indian citizens. According to media reports, the revised form obliges the applicant to specify the circumstances the Indian citizens are acquiring foreign citizenship.

The government of India has amended the Citizenship Rules, 2009 to facilitate the changes. According to the notification by the Ministry of Home Affairs in India, the individuals renouncing citizenship will make a declaration on the prescribed form and authorities will process it.

According to news agency PTI, the notification says the concerned authorities will examine the exactitude of the declaration of renunciation of citizenship of India before registering it, and then a certificate of renunciation of Indian citizenship will be issued.

The Times of India has quoted an official saying, “While the Citizenship Rules required the said information to be given in the declaration of renunciation of Indian citizenship, Form XXII prescribed for the purpose did not have entries to record the same. The revised form corrects this anomaly.”

OCI Card

Another significant change is in the rules to acquire an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card. Now, a foreign-origin spouse of any Indian national will be eligible for a privileged OCI card, according to the news agency PTI.

An OCI is a multipurpose card which grants a life-long visa with multiple entries for visiting India. The Ministry of Home Affairs said in a notification that a foreign-spouse of any Indian-origin would be able to apply for OCI card, provided he or she meet the conditions.

However, Indian consulate in Sydney says this facility was already there. A CGI official told SBS Hindi, "The OCI facility for foreign spouse is already there. However, we have not received any notification from the government of India so we do not know if there are any changes."

Rohit Mohan of Lakshya Migration points towards the limitation imposed on number imposed on the number of living spouses of Indian nationals.

"The main limitation, however, is imposed on the number of living spouses of Indian Citizens or Overseas Citizen of India (to one only) who would be eligible to apply for registration as OCI cardholders," says Mr Mohan.

The said changes, according to Mohan would hardly have any impact on Indian citizens renouncing their Indian citizenship.

"It is important to note that rules regarding renunciation of Indian citizenship have not been amended at all. This change is to make sure that the amendment in the declaration form aligns with the pre-existing provisions in the Citizenship Rules 2009," he told SBS Hindi.

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