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Obtain Indian Nationality

Obtain Indian Nationality

When it comes to obtaining citizenship in India you should know that there are four main ways to become a citizen of this country. Each one with different requirements and eligibility conditions. The legal framework for Indian nationality is set out in The Citizenship Act of 1995, which was last amended in 2019. India’s economic growth has turned this country into a hub of opportunities. This reality has attracted migrants from various countries around the world. Therefore, we always recommend the assistance of our team of lawyers in India to navigate the local legal framework.

Details about obtaining Indian nationality

The immigration laws in India are complicated because they have not been updated to match the immigration and economic openness that the country has been experiencing in recent years.

 Quick Facts  
How to obtain citizenship in India

– birth,

– descent,

– registration,

– naturalization.

Legal framework for Indian nationality

The Citizenship Act of 1995, last amended in 2019

Overseas Citizen of India – characteristics

A long-term multiple-entry visa to enter the country;

The individual must have verifiable Indian ancestry;

Does not grant voting rights.

Possible eligible criteria for citizenship by registration

Married to an Indian national and lived in India for at least seven years;

Have parents registered as Indian nationals;

Resided in India for the past 12 months and lived in India for the last eight years, etc.

Citizenship by naturalization

Live in India for a total of twelve years.

Naturalisation with a reduced residence requirement

5 years within 14 years before application and 12 months of residence before applying for individuals from specific religious communities.

Required documents for naturalization

– copy of passport,

– copy of resident permit,

– payment receipt,

– two language certificates, 

– affidavits from the applicant and Indian citizens, etc.

Language certificates

Any one of the Indian languages listed in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution;

Our Indian attorneys can help you with the certificates.

Citizenship by descent – characteristics

At least one parent must have Indian citizenship at birth;

Birth must be registered at an Indian diplomatic mission.

Citizenship by birth – characteristics Both parents must have Indian citizenship.
Revoking citizenship

– if obtained through fraud,

– if an individual showed disloyalty to the Constitution,

– if individual lived outside India for seven continuous years without valid reasons, etc.

Termination of citizenship

– by renunciation,

– by acquisition of other citizenship

Dual citizenship allowed (YES/NO)


Advantages of obtaining Indian nationality

– economic opportunities,

– stability and security,

– ease of travel,

– legal rights, etc.


Our lawyers in India are experienced in handling immigration problems.

If you are planning to stay several years in India, applying for Indian nationality may be one of your best options to reduce friction with the authorities throughout your stay. Especially if you plan to enter and leave the country several times during your stay. However, there is one very important issue to keep in mind, and that is that India does not allow dual citizenship.

Most foreigners cannot get citizenship in India without renouncing their other citizenships. Therefore, if you are thinking of becoming a citizen of this country you will need the advice provided by a law firm in India that can accompany you through the process and answer all your questions.

Before foreign nationals can expect to apply for citizenship, they will need to observe the conditions for lawful residency in India. Different categories of visas allow foreigners to remain in India for different periods of time, however, for those who intend to stay for more than 180 days, additional registration with the authorities is needed. Our team can give you complete information.

This brief guide will help you with the most general questions about Indian nationality, but we strongly recommend that you can talk to several local attorneys with experience in immigration processes to evaluate the particularities of your case.

What if I do not want to give up my other nationality?

As India does not accept dual citizenship for its citizens, a common concern arises among those who are thinking of obtaining citizenship in India and do not want to part with their other passports. The important thing in these cases is to have the opinion of several Indian lawyers who can evaluate the risks and potential benefits of the decision you are about to make.

Although there is no dual nationality in the Indian immigration laws, there is an alternative available to foreigners of Indian descent when acquiring their Indian nationality. This is an immigration category known as OCI (Overseas Citizen of India).

The OCI category is not a dual nationality per se, but it does grant benefits and rights similar to those of the Indian nationality to citizens of other countries. The primary requirement is verifiable Indian ancestry.

In case you are able to apply for the OCI category, our lawyers in India can help you prepare the necessary documentation to obtain this immigration status.

What are the other ways to obtain Indian citizenship?

There are four main criteria by which a person can obtain citizenship in India. Of these four options, one is by birth and one is by descent. But the other two give the opportunity to foreigners to become citizens of this country.

The remaining two options to obtain Indian citizenship are through citizenship by registration and citizenship by naturalization. To achieve these immigration statuses there are several routes and strategies that you can implement, but you will always need to be advised by a law firm in India.

How to obtain citizenship by registration in India?

The laws of this country provide that any person who is not an illegal immigrant may register as an Indian national if he or she meets any of these categories:

  • A person who has married a person of Indian nationality and who has resided in India for at least seven years;
  • Persons of full age with parents registered as Indian nationals;
  • Persons whose parents (either parent) have held citizenship of Independent India and who have been ordinarily residents in India for twelve months prior to application;
  • Minor children of parents with Indian nationality;
  • Persons who have resided in India for the last twelve months preceding the application and have lived in India for the last eight years preceding the twelve-month period.

If you have questions about the process of nationality by registration, we recommend consulting with a group of attorneys in India who can evaluate your case. Our team can also help you open a company in this country.

If you are interested in knowing more about obtaining Indian citizenship by investment, our team can answer your questions.

Gaining Indian nationality is subject to a clear set of conditions, as well as a lawful stay in the country. If you require additional information about residence permits, citizenship by naturalization, or your rights and duties as a foreign national living in India, our team specializing in immigration to India can help you. Contact us for more information as well as a complete list of our services.

How to obtain citizenship by naturalization in India?

Citizenship by naturalization in India is one of the most complex avenues a foreigner can take because temporal criteria do not play such a fundamental role in this case.

This type of nationality is granted to any foreign person when the Government of India considers that such person has rendered exceptional services to the country in fields that may be:

  • Science.
  • Art.
  • Literature.
  • World Peace.
  • Human progress in general.

Some facts and figures about India

  • India has a mere 5.4% unemployment rate
  • India’s GDP is expected to grow by 9.5% in 2021, which is one of the highest growth rates in the world.
  • India’s total exports grew 56.9% in the last year.

Becoming a citizen of India is possible if you have the right advice. Do not hesitate to contact our law firm in India to review your case in detail.

We assist foreign nationals who wish to apply for Indian citizenship irrespective of their original nationality. Regardless of the route via which they choose to become Indian citizens, foreign nationals should know that they will not be able to hold both Indian citizenship and the citizenship of their foreign country simultaneously.