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Citizenship of India by Descent

Citizenship of India by Descent

The Citizenship Act allows an individual to apply for citizenship of India by descent, along with the option to become a citizen at birth or through register or naturalization. When a citizen of another state wishes to apply for the option to acquire citizenship based on heritage, he or she will need to be able to prove the ties to an Indian national.

Section 4 of the Citizenship Act is the one to detail the process of acquiring citizenship by descent in India and our team of attorneys can answer any questions you might have about the requirements, as they may apply to your particular case.

At our law firm in India, we assist foreign citizens who wish to relocate to the country and are in need of a visa or a residence permit, as well as those who have been living in India for a number of years and are now ready to obtain citizenship.

Conditions for acquiring citizenship of India by descent

There are three distinct cases in which a foreign national can acquire citizenship by descent, depending on his or her birthdate. Our team list these below:

  1. Born outside of India between January 26th 1950 and December 9th 1992: if his father was an Indian citizen by birth at the time the applicant was born; if the father was not a citizen of India by birth but by descent, then the applicant can apply for citizenship of India by descent only if his or her birth was registered with an Indian mission abroad within one year of his or her birth;
  2. Born outside of India between December 10th 1992 and December 2nd 2004:  if either the mother of the father was a citizen of India by birth at the time the applicant (the child) was born; if either of the parents had citizenship of India by descent and not birth, then the same condition to have registered the child with an Indian Mission abroad within one year of his or her birth is required; additionally, the Central Government needs to issue an approval for this particular situation;
  3. Born outside of India on or after December 3rd 2004: can acquire citizenship by descent in India if any of the parents was an Indian citizen at the time of birth and the child was registered with the Indian Mission abroad within one year of birth; in this case, the parents also have to submit a statement that the child does not have a passport issued by another country; Government approval is also required in this case.

The child or grandchild of an individual that falls under one of these categories can also be eligible for citizenship by descent. In this case, additional documents to attest the family link will be required.

A special category is in place for Overseas Citizens of India. These are individuals who are citizens of another country however, they either were citizens of India at the time of or after the commencement of the constitution or were eligible to become citizens.

If you fall under one of these categories, our team of immigration lawyers in India can assist you. Please read below if you wish to know more about the process, as we answer some commonly asked questions.

Permanent residency in India can be acquired by descent, or through other routes. For those who do not qualify as descendants of Indian nationals, our team can provide personalized information about their options, depending on the purpose of their stay in the country. We offer counsel and assistance from the earliest relocation phases. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us.

Understandably so, obtaining citizenship in India by descent is not available to all foreign nationals. For some, the option for registration for citizenship as the spouse of an Indian citizen (after a sufficient lawful stay in the country) can be their route to citizenship. Irrespective of your particular situation, our team can answer personalized questions about the citizenship application.

We also invite you to watch a short video on this means of acquiring citizenship:

FAQ on obtaining citizenship of India by descent

As seen above, any individual born outside of India can be a citizen of India by descent if one or both parents are or were an Indian citizen (not illegal immigrants) and if the birth is properly registered.

What happens if the birth was not registered within one year?

In these cases the process can still be approved, however, it will be subject to additional permission. The application is forwarded to the Ministry of Home Affairs, and it will require special approval. Our attorneys in India can assist you if this is the case.

What are the required documents?

The filled in application form is required and individuals should take note of the special requirements (filled in block or capital letters). This is accompanied by a recent passport-size photograph (as per the specific size requirements) as well as additional documents such as the birth certificate, the parent’s documents and others. The file number issued after the registration of the child with the Ministry of Home Affairs can also be required.

Where is the application submitted?

An online application can be submitted and our team of lawyers can give you more details. For parents planning to register their child or children born abroad, this is made with the embassy or consulate in the country where the child was born. Parents who require assistance during this process can also reach out to our immigration experts.

Contact our law firm in India if you wish to know more about how to apply for citizenship of India by descent.

Not all foreign nationals will be able to apply for citizenship by descent. For those who remain in India via other routes, our team can answer any questions about immigration to India and the need to apply for a residence permit and when should the applicant to do at the latest. We provide complete assistance to those who relocate to the country, during the pre- and post-arrival stages.