Don’t be puzzled with all the news coverage and excitement over this issue. Please understand clearly that the Constitution of India does NOT allow dual citizenship, i.e., holding Indian citizenship and citizenship of a foreign country simultaneously.
The government of India provides OCI Card (Overseas Citizenship of India card) which most people mistakenly refer to as having ‘dual citizenship’. Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) of certain category who migrated from India and acquired citizenship of a foreign country other than Pakistan and Bangladesh, are eligible for grant of OCI as long as their home countries allow dual citizenship in some form or the other under their local laws.
If you get OCI, it is NOT same as being regular Indian citizen:
- You do not get an Indian passport.
- No voting rights.
- Can not be a candidate for Lok Sabha/Rajya Sabha/Legislative Assembly/Council
- Can not hold constitutional posts such as President, Vice President, Judge of Supreme Court/High Court, etc.
- Cannot normally hold employment in the Government.
- You are not eligible to travel to India in repatriation flights for Indian citizens in case of emergencies such as Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
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As OCI, you get following benefits:
- Multiple entry, multi-purpose life-long visa to visit India;
- Exemption from reporting to Police authorities for any length of stay in India; and
- Parity with NRIs in financial, economic, and educational fields except in the acquisition of agricultural or plantation properties.
Any further benefits to OCIs will be notified by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) under section 7B(1) of the Citizenship Act, 1955.
A person registered as OCI is eligible to apply by the Ministry of citizenship under section 5(1)(g) of the Citizenship Act, 1955 if he/she is registered as OCI for five years and has been residing in India for one year out of the five years before making the application. However, such a person would have to renounce foreign citizenship.
A large number of Indian Diaspora benefit from this scheme for a hassle-free travel to their motherland. They bring economic value and benefits to the Indian economy and contribute to the development process.
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