There are many speculations as of now regarding the process to acquire citizenship and proving yourself as a citizen of India. The current amendments made in the constitution by the government increased tension among the people and has also left them confused about how to be aware of their citizenship status.
Basically, citizenship is a position in which any person can be declared a citizen or a resident of a particular country. In order to get citizenship, you need to provide some basic details about yourself and your family such as your birth certificate or passport or any other basic document that the official asks you to show. Refugees and other non residential citizens from another country can also get dual citizenship in which case they have one citizenship from the country they belong to and another of the country they are residing in.
The Indian citizenship act, 1955 which helps people prove their citizenship, was amended in 1986, 1992, 2003, 2005, 2015 and 2019. In the 1986 amendment, the government brought the Assam Accord which restricted citizenship by birth to children born to Indian citizens. The latest amendment made in the citizenship act in 2019 provides a path to citizenship for minorities in India, namely Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians, from neighboring countries who entered India on or before 31st December 2014. It was passed on 11th December 2019 by both houses of parliament and was approved by the President of India and came into act on 10th January 2020. It also saw heavy criticism from people across the nation as it left out Muslims and also violated the Assam Accord which restricted illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.
You can get Indian citizenship by the following methods:
- By Birth.
- By Registration.
- By Naturalisation.
According to Section 3 of the Indian Constitution any person born in India after 26.01.1950, but before 01.07.1987 is considered a citizen of India irrespective of the nationality of their parents. Also, every person born in India after 01.07.1984 to 02.12.2004 is considered as a citizen of India but either of their parents must be a citizen of India at the time of their birth. Every person born after 03.12.2004 is considered a citizen of India if and only if both of their parents are citizens of India or one of their parent is a citizen of India and other is not an illegal immigrant at the time of their birth.
You can also get citizenship by the following means:
- You can apply for citizenship if you citizen have been residing of in India for seven years before submitting the application.
- If you are of Indian origin and you are currently residing in a country or place outside India.
- If you are married to an Indian citizen and have been a resident for seven years before submitting the application.
- If you are a child of a citizen of India and a minor.
- If you are a fully aged person of capacity and your parents are Indian citizens under section 5(1)(a) of sub-section(1) or section 6.
- If you are a person of full age and capacity and both or either of your parents was a citizen of India and has been residing in India one year before submitting the application.
If you are a person of full age who has been residing as an overseas citizen for five years and has been residing in India for one year before submitting the application.
Any foreigner can acquire Indian citizenship if they are not an illegal immigrant and are a resident of India for twelve years and also fulfill other qualifications as listed in the third schedule of the citizenship act of 1955.
Applying for Indian citizenship:
You can follow these simple steps to apply and get Indian citizenship:
- Fill the online application. The application can be found under the Foreigners Division, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. You can apply for the citizenship online or also download, print it out and fill the form accordingly. After filling the form you need to submit it to the District Magistrate/ Collector.
- Pick the correct section. You need to choose the appropriate section and submit the appropriate documents.
- If you are opting for citizenship by registration get the documents required. You need a passport copy if you are a person from another country and also a copy of your residence permit or the LTV.
- After that, according to section 5(1)(a), you need to prove your parent’s citizenship by giving their passports and birth certificates. You also need to give the declaration and oath form along with 500 rupees to get your citizenship. The same procedure is required if you are opting for citizenship under 5(1)(d) but the fee is 250 rupees only.
- If you are opting for citizenship under section 5(1)(c) then you need to provide a copy of your marriage certificate and your spouse/husband’s citizenship proof such as a birth certificate or passport along with 500 rupees and the declaration and oath form.
- If you are opting for citizenship under section 5(1)(e) then you need to provide proof of your parent’s citizenship under section 6 or under section 5(1)(a) along with declaration and oath form and 500 rupees.
- Under section 5(1)(f) you need to provide proof that your parents were citizens of Independent India along with declaration and oath form and 500 rupees.
- Under section 5(1)(g) you need to show proof that you are an overseas resident and the declaration and oath form along with 500 rupees to get the citizenship.
- If you are opting for citizenship under naturalization then you need to get a passport copy along with the resident permit(LTV) and get three affidavits which belong to you and two other Indians who can give proof of your character and one language (it must be an Indian Language) proven with two other language certificates, along with proof that you are applying for the citizenship based on an advertisement given in a newspaper which requires proof of minimum of two cuttings from local newspapers from your district along with 1500 rupees.
- After gathering all the information, scan all the documents and ensure that each document is less than 1Mb.
- Also do not forget to carry a passport size photo in case you are submitting the form to the Collector/District Magistrate. If you are submitting your application online then add a scanned passport size photo whose size is less than 20 KB and is in .jpg file format. The pixel dimensions must be 100×100.
- Now you can fill the application providing all the details of your spouse/husband, your passport details, your employer, the duration for which you have been residing in India, your criminal background etc.
- After filling the application you need to pay the fees for citizenship. You can pay the fees at any State Bank of India branch as bank challan under the 0070- Other Administration services- Other Services- Receipts under Citizenship Act. You can download the receipt from the same website on which you filled the citizenship form.
- It would take at least 2 months for approval of your citizenship and if you miss any documents the government does remind you to submit them but its best to submit them correctly in one go.
- Once you are done with the citizenship you need to prove to Indian Government that you have made the renouncement and are required to fill a form-V which makes you a citizen of India.
You can check the following article for detail information about the documents required for citizenship https://indiancitizenshiponline.nic.in/Ic_GeneralInstruction.pdf.