Various Methods of Getting Indian Citizenship

The methods of securing Indian citizenship are prescribed in the Indian Citizenship Act, 1955. They are as follows:

Citizenship by Birth

A person born is India on or after 26th January 1950 but before 1st July 1987 is a citizen of India by birth irrespective of the nationality of his/her parents. A person born in India on or after 1st July 1987 is considered as a citizen of India only if either of his parents is a citizen of India at the time of his/her birth. The Children of foreign diplomats posted in India and enemy aliens cannot acquire Indian citizenship by birth.

Citizenship by Descent

A person born outside India on or after 26th January 1950 but before 10th December 1992 is a citizen of India by descent, if his/her parents was a citizen of India at the time of his birth, provided such birth is registered in any Indian consulates.

Citizenship by Registration

The Central Government may, on any application, register as a citizen of India any person(not being an illegal migrant) if he belongs to any of the following categories:

  • A person of Indian origin who is ordinarily resident in any country or place outside the territories of undivided India;
  • A person of Indian origin who is ordinarily resident in India for seven years before making an application for registration;
  • A person who is married to a citizen of India and is ordinarily resident in India for seven years before making an application for registration;
  • Minor children of persons who are citizens of India;
  • A person of full age and capacity whose parents are registered as citizens of India.

A person shall be deemed to be 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 the 15th August, 1947.

Citizenship by Naturalisation

The Central Government may, on an application, grant a certificate of naturalisation to any person(not being an illegal migrant) if he/she possesses the following qualifications:

  • He is not a subject or citizen of any country where citizens of India are prevented from becoming subjects or citizens of that country by naturalisation;
  • If he is a citizen of any country, he undertakes to renounce the citizenship of that country in the event of his application for Indian citizenship being accepted;
  • He has either resided in India or been in the service of a Government in India or partly the one and partly the other, throughout the period of  12 months immediately preceding the date of the application;
  • That during the fourteen years immediately preceding the said period of twelve months, he has either resided in India or been in the service of Government in India, or partly the one and partly the other, for periods amounting in the aggregate to not less than eleven years;
  • He bears a good moral character;
  • He has an adequate knowledge of a language specified in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India;
  • After getting the citizenship through naturalisation, he intends to reside in India or to enter into or continue in, service under the Government in India or under an international organisation of which India is a member or under a society, company or body of persons established in India.

The Government of India has the discretion to relax any or all the above conditions  for naturalisation in the case of a person who has rendered distinguished service in the field of art, literature, science, philosophy, world peace or human progress. As amended in 1985, this provision of relaxing the above condition is also applicable with respect to the persons applying for Indian citizenship under Assam Agreement. Every naturalised citizen must take an oath of allegiance to the Constitution of India.

Citizenship by incorporation of Territory

If any new territory becomes a part of Government of India shall specifies the person who among the people of the territory shall be the citizen of India. Such persons become the citizen of India from the notified date.

Amendment in the Citizenship Act

Parliament amended the Citizenship Act (1955) in 1992 to make provisions that the child born outside India shall also be the citizen of India, if the mother of such a child was a citizen of India. Before this amendment, only that child was entitled to get Indian citizenship whose father was a citizen of India.

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