The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has simplified the process for Indians who want to renounce their citizenship. Provisions have been made for applicants to upload documents online, with an upper limit of 60 days for the renunciation process to be completed.
Over 6.7 lakh Indians renounced their citizenship between 2015-19, the Lok Sabha was informed in February.
In 2018, the MHA revised the Form XXII under the Citizenship Rules for declaration of renunciation of citizenship, which for the first time included a column on “circumstances/reasons due to which applicant intends to acquire foreign citizenship and renounce Indian citizenship”.
An official familiar with the subject said there was no sudden surge in the number of applications to renounce citizenship but the online process has been initiated to check fraudulent documents and “reduce the compliance burden”.
As many as 1,41,656 Indians renounced their citizenship in the year 2015, while in the years 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019, the numbers stood at 1,44,942, 1,27,905, 1,25,130 and 1,36,441, respectively.
The Ministry issued new guidelines on September 16 stating that the form, after being filled online, has to be downloaded, signed and submitted at the District Magistrate’s office, if the applicant is in India, or at the nearest Indian mission, if she or he is in a foreign country. The applicant will also be interviewed by the DM before the certificate is issued, the Ministry said.
Other than the passport, the applicant also needs to submit proof of address and proof of payment of fee.
The Ministry stated that once a copy of the form had been received, the entire process for issuance of renunciation certificate would take 60 days after “verification of documents”.
According to the 2009 Citizenship Rules, the fee to renounce citizenship for an applicant in India is ₹5,000, and for someone applying through an Indian mission in a foreign country is ₹7,000.
The guidelines said that when a person ceases to be a citizen of India under Section 8(1) of Citizenship Act, 1955, “every minor child of that person shall thereupon ceases to be a citizen of India”. The minor child may, however, within one year of attaining full age apply to resume Indian citizenship. The guidelines are not clear if minors would also lose citizenship if only one of the parents gives up her/his Indian citizenship.