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Certificate of Renunciation Explained

The government of India does not recognize dual citizenship. Indian citizens who wish to work and settle down permanently in a foreign country need to renounce their Indian nationality and citizenship before seeking citizenship of another country. 

Read on to know more about India citizenship renunciation. 

What is Citizenship Renunciation?

As per the Indian Citizenship Act that came into force in 1955, Indian citizens and persons of Indian origin are not authorized to have dual citizenship. 

If any Indian citizen or person of Indian origin wishes to apply for citizenship of another country, he/she should apply for a certificate of renunciation after surrendering their passports and nationality. 

This is applicable for all people who have possessed a India passport.  

After renouncing their passport from India, they have to get a renunciation certificate at the nearest Indian embassy or consulate.  

Once renounced, they will be treated like a foreign national in India and will not be eligible for rights exclusively accorded to Indian citizens such as participating in the country’s electoral process.  

Who Will Need to Renounce Their Indian Nationality?

Anybody who has possessed a legally-valid India passport and is receiving a passport from a foreign country needs to give up their citizenship from India and passport.

They will have to obtain a visa to travel to or stay in India after that. They can apply for Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) card which will make it easy for them to get an Indian visa.   

What is the Application Process? 

The process of renouncing an Indian passport or Indian nationality is a two-step one. Applicants need to login to the website of the VFS Global, (https://services.vfsglobal.com/usa/en/ind/apply-for-renunciation) a private agency hired by the Indian government.

They need to complete the application form online.  

Then, they can submit all the required documents along with the completed application form at the nearest VFS Global office.

They can also email the documents and the form to the office of the private agency. The applicants will have to pay the required fee.

They will receive an acknowledgment letter from the officials within the next working day.

The processing time differs from consulate to consulate and from country to country. However, the application process will usually be completed within a maximum of six working days.  

Note that it is compulsory for all persons of Indian origin to renounce their Indian passport before getting naturalized to any foreign nationality.

The certificate of renunciation is an essential document to get an Indian visa or an OCI card for such people.

Some Indian missions allow the applicants to apply for an Indian visa/OCI card together with the application for the certificate of renunciation.  

It is not legal to carry the passport that was issued by India after renouncing the Indian nationality and it is punishable under the Indian law.

The offenders can be charged with penalties, imprisonment or both. Also, Indian passports carrying a canceled stamp are not considered cancellation of Indian citizenship. A proper Renunciation certificate/ Surrender certificate is necessary. 

Can I Apply for a Renunciation Certificate with My Expired Indian Passport? 

Yes, people of Indian origin can apply for a renunciation certificate with their expired Indian passport. However, impounded, suspended or cancelled passports will not be accepted.  

In case of mistakes in the renunciation certificate the applicants can approach the consulate wherein they filed the application.  

It is to be noted that most consulates will not accept renunciation and OCI applications together, but people of Indian origin can apply for an Indian visa and renunciation certificate together.

The applicants can get the status of their application through the website itself. A few embassies can be directly contacted to check the status if the renunciation certificate is not delivered within the promised time period. 

It is to be noted that only completed application forms will be accepted.

The renunciation certificate will be delivered to the address submitted during the application.  Errors in the address can result in non-delivery of the certificate. 

VFS Global provides courier services for the applicants in a few Indian missions to pick up the application forms and documents. 

The service will return the documents and renunciation certificate to the shipping address provided by the applicants. 

What Documents are Needed? 

Persons of Indian origin can apply for a renunciation certificate within three years of getting citizenship of a foreign nation. They need the following documents for application:  

  • A copy of the completed application form
  • The last Indian passport
  • Their official naturalization certificate’s copy
  • The legally valid passport that they are using currently

If they do not have the copy of their Indian passport, they will have to present documents to prove their renounced Indian citizenship like an Indian birth certificate, educational certificate issued in India or a certificate to show proof of their/their parents/ their grandparent's residence in India. 

They have to get their certificate from an authorized Indian official working for the Union or state governments.

It is to be noted that the additional documents should be procured and submitted in the Indian mission within seven days of the application. Late submissions will not be accepted and this can result in the rejection of their application. 

In case the application process is not completed within 20 days, the application will be rejected. The copies of the documents submitted will be disposed of and the original documents will be returned. 

The applicants can directly approach the Indian missions for the return of the documents. It is to be noted that the processing fee will not be refunded in such circumstances.   

What is An OCI Card? 

The overseas citizenship of India is an immigration status granted to a foreigner to stay and work in India. 

The Indian government does not recognize dual citizenship. The government issues an OCI card as an alternative permanent residency status to persons of Indian origin. 

An OCI card holder can live in India for an indefinite period. However, he/she cannot vote in an Indian election. 

Any person who has held a passport issued by the Indian government or anybody whose parents, grandparents or great grandparents were born in India are eligible for an OCI card. A foreign origin spouse and minor children of an OCI card holder are also eligible for the OCI card. 

They can apply in the nearest Indian mission for the card with the required documents.

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