The Indian Citizenship Act does not allow dual citizenship. OCI is not a dual citizenship. If you ever held an Indian passport and if you acquire a citizenship of another country (such as the U.S. citizenship or any other citizenship), you need to surrender your Indian passport immediately after you acquire foreign nationality. In order to avoid any additional penalties, you must surrender the Indian passport within 90 days of U.S. naturalization (or becoming a citizen of another country), even if the foreign passport is obtained later.
The Indian government has observed that, even after acquiring foreign nationality, some people continue to retain their Indian passports and some even use them to travel and some people even renew them or avail of miscellaneous services for their Indian passport. Once you acquire the citizenship of another country, it is illegal to travel on the Indian passport. As India does not allow dual citizenship, holding a non-cancelled Indian passport after acquiring a foreign citizenship is an offense with penalties. The violators may be punished by imprisonment up to 5 years and with a fine up to $1,250. Actual penalties vary based on the duration for which the non-cancelled passport was kept, the number of trips made using an Indian passport after acquiring a foreign citizenship etc.
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Indian Citizen Renunciation Rules and Fees
- You acquired foreign citizenship on or before May 31, 2010.
- If you had your Indian passports cancelled on acquisition of foreign citizenship on or before May 31, 2010, no further action is required.
You do not need a surrender certificate.
To avail any consular facility such as OCI or India Visa, you must show the proof that your cancelled Indian passport says ‘passport cancelled on acquisition of U.S. (foreign) nationality’. If you are not able to produce such proof, a renunciation certificate is required. Please note if your Indian passport has just a ‘Cancelled’ stamp, it does not mean you have renounced your Indian Citizenship and in that case, a renunciation certificate is required.
- If you were naturalized before June 1, 2010, you need to apply for a surrender certificate
with a ‘miscellaneous service fee’ of $25.
- If you were naturalized before June 1, 2010, but foreign (such as U.S.) passport was issued on or after Jun 1, 2010,
the fee is $25.
- If you had your Indian passports cancelled on acquisition of foreign citizenship on or before May 31, 2010, no further action is required. You do not need a surrender certificate.
- You were naturalized on or after June 1, 2010.
You need to apply for a surrender certificate with a fee of $175. In the UK, the fee is £90. This fee is actually Rs. 7,000, as set by the law.
If you are required to get a surrender certificate, the following penalties apply on a graded scale:
- If you used the Indian passport for travel that originated 3 months after the naturalization date, the penalty is $250 for each travel, maximum $1,250 towards travel.
- If your Indian passport was renewed/reissued after acquiring foreign citizenship, the penalty is $500 for each renewal/reissue.
If you availed miscellaneous services on retained/unsurrendered passport, penalty is $250 for each time of service.
- If your last held Indian passport expires after Jan 1, 2005, and if more than 3 years have passed between naturalization date and today’s date,
Passport lost/damaged or surrendered to a foreign government, no penalty.
Any of the fees and penalties above, as applicable, are in addition to the OCI or Indian visa fees and mailing charges. If your OCI card application is pending and if you need a surrender certificate as per the rules above, you must get it immediately before your OCI application will be processed.
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