Explained: How can one become an Indian citizen

Indian citizenship can be acquired by birth, descent, registration and naturalization. The conditions and procedure for the acquisition of Indian citizenship as per the provision of the Citizenship Act, 1955, are given below.

Explained: How can one become an Indian citizen

New Delhi: The Citizenship Amendment Bill was passed in the Parliament amid violent protests in the northeast. The opposition parties, too, have voiced their opinions against the Bill. People in Assam and its other neighbouring states took to roads to protest against the Bill which allows non-Muslim refugees who came from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan on or before December 31, 2014, for Indian citizenship. 

It became an Act on Thursday after President Ram Nath Kovind gave the final nod. 

As the Citizenship Act comes into effect, here's how one can acquire Indian Citizenship. A notification on this has been issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs. 

Acquisition of Indian Citizenship (IC)

Indian citizenship can be acquired by birth, descent, registration and naturalization. The conditions and procedure for the acquisition of Indian citizenship as per the provision of the Citizenship Act, 1955, are given below:

(1) By Birth (Section 3)

A person born in India on or after January 26, 1950, but before July 1, 1987, is a citizen of India by birth irrespective of the nationality of his parents. 
A person born in India on or after July 1, 1987, but before December 3, 2004, is considered citizen of India by birth if either of his parents is a citizen of India at the time of his birth.
A person born in India on or after December 3, 2004, is considered citizen of India by birth if both the parents are citizens of India or one of the parents is a citizen of India and the other is not an illegal migrant at the time of his birth.
An illegal migrant as defined in section 2(1)(b) of the Act is a foreigner who entered India.
(i) without a valid passport or other prescribed travel documents: or
(ii) with a valid passport or other prescribed travel documents but remains in India beyond the permitted period of time.

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(2) By Descent (Section 4)

A person born outside India on or after January 26, 1950, but December 10, 1992, is a citizen of India by descent if his father was a citizen of India by birth at the time of his birth. In case the father was a citizen of India by descent only, that person shall not be a citizen of India, unless his birth is registered at an Indian Consulate within one year from the date of birth or with the permission of the Central Government, after the expiry of the said period.

A person born outside India on or after December 10, 1992, but before December 3, 2004, is considered as a citizen of India if either of his parents was a citizen of India by birth at the time of his birth. In case either of the parents was a citizen of India by descent, that person shall not be a citizen of India, unless his birth is registered at an Indian Consulate within one year from the date of birth or with the permission of the Central Government, after the expiry of the said period.

A person born outside India on or after December 3, 2004, shall not be a citizen of India, unless the parents declare that the minor does not hold passport of another country and his birth is registered at an Indian consulate within one year of the date of birth or with the permission of the Central Government, after the expiry of the said period.

Procedure

Application for registration of the birth of a minor child to an Indian consulate under Section 4(1) shall be made in Form-I and shall be accompanied by an undertaking in writing from the parents of such minor child that he does not hold the passport of another country.

(3) By Registration (Section 5(1))

Indian Citizenship by registration can be acquired (not illegal migrant) by-

Persons of Indian origin who are ordinarily resident in India for SEVEN YEARS before making an application under section 5(1)(a) (throughout the period of twelve months immediately before making an application and for six years in the aggregate in the EIGHT YEARS preceding the twelve months). The application shall be made in Form I.

Persons of Indian origin who are ordinarily resident in any country or place outside undivided India under section 5(1)(b).

Persons who are married to a citizen of India and who are ordinarily resident in India for seven years (as mentioned at (a) above) before making an application under section 5(1)(c). The application shall be made in Form-II.

Minor children whose both parents are Indian citizens under section 5(1)(d). The application shall be made by his parents in Form-III.

Persons of full age whose both parents are registered as citizens of India under section 5(1)(a) or section 6(1) can acquire Indian citizenship under section 5(1)(e). The application shall be made in Form III-A.

Persons of full age who or either of the parents were earlier citizen of Independent India and residing in India for one year immediately before making an application under section 5(1)(f). The application shall be made in Form III- B.

Persons of full age and capacity who has been registered as an OVERSEAS CITIZEN OF INDIA (OCI) for five years and residing in India for ONE YEAR before making an application under section 5(1)(g). The application shall be made in Form III-C.
Clarification: A person shall be deemed to be a Person of Indian origin if he, or either of his parents, was born in undivided India or in such other territory which became part of India after August 15, 1947.

(4) By Registration (Section 5(4))

Any minor child can be registered as a citizen of India under Section 5(4), if the Central Government is satisfied that there are special circumstances justifying such registration. Each case would be considered on merits. The application shall be made in Form-IV.

Procedure

Application in relevant Form for grant of Indian citizenship by registration under section 5 has to be submitted to the Collector/District Magistrate of the area where the applicant is resident. The application has to be accompanied by all the documents and fees payments as mentioned in the relevant Forms. It is very important that applications are complete in all respects otherwise valuable time of the applicant would be lost in making good the deficiencies after they were detected. The application along with a report on the eligibility and suitability of the applicant is to be sent by the Collector/District Magistrate to the concerned State Government/UT Administration within 60 days. Thereafter, the State Govt./UT Administration shall forward the application to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Government of India within 30 days.

Each application is examined in MHA in terms of the eligibility criteria under the Citizenship Act, 1955 and the Citizenship Rules, 1956. If the applicant is not fulfilling the eligibility criteria, communication to this extent would be sent through the state governments/UT administration. Any deficiency in the application would be brought to the notice of the applicant through the state governments/UT administration. 

The applicant, thereafter, has to make good the deficiency through the state governments/UT administration. No correspondence would be made directly with the applicant. However, a copy of the correspondence through the state governments/UT administration would be marked to the applicant. Each applicant whose case is found to be eligible after scrutiny of the application is informed about the acceptance of his application through the state government. 

The applicant should not renounce his foreign citizenship till the citizenship application is accepted and informed of the decision. The applicant is then required to furnish through the state government, a certificate of the renunciation of his foreign citizenship issued by the mission of the concerned country, proof of fee payment as per SCHEDULE IV of the Act, and personal particulars in Form-V. Thereafter, a certificate of Indian citizenship is issued to the applicant through the state government.

(5) By Naturalisation (Section 6)

Citizenship of India by naturalization can be acquired by a foreigner (not illegal migrant) who is ordinarily resident in India for 12 years (throughout the period of 12 months immediately preceding the date of application and for 11 years in the aggregate in the 14 years preceeding the 12 months) and other qualifications as specified in Third Schedule to the Act. The application shall be made in Form-XII.