Indian renunciation is a complicated topic that many former citizens of India don’t quite understand. Here’s a basic breakdown of what it is, and why it matters if you still hold an India passport but have obtained citizenship in another country:
Under the Indian Citizenship Act, people who have left India to acquire citizenship in other countries are not allowed to retain dual citizenship in India. If you’ve chosen to emigrate to the United States or any other country, you must renounce your Indian citizenship.
Failing to complete the renunciation of Indian citizenship process can result in hefty penalties. For example, if you’re caught returning to India using your old Indian passport, you could be punished by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $1,250.
Fortunately, the process for renouncing your Indian citizenship is pretty simple.
The first step is to visit the page on Swift’s website. On the site, you’ll find a list of steps for obtaining a Surrender of Indian Citizenship Certificate. Information that you will need in order to complete the process will include the passport number, date of issue, and date of expiration of your current passport. You will also need the same information for your old Indian passport. In addition, you’ll need information about your current citizenship status.
If you’ve been a naturalized citizen of another country for more than a few months, you’ll likely be subject to a renunciation fee. This fee should be under $30 if you obtained your naturalized citizenship before June 1, 2010. The fee could be up to $175 if you’ve become a naturalized citizen after that date.
Obtaining your surrender certificate will make traveling to India to visit family, conduct business, or simply visit your old stomping grounds a real possibility. Remember that you could face jail time if you returned to India without first renouncing your Indian citizenship.
It’s also important to note that having a “canceled” stamp on your Indian passport does not mean that you have renounced your Indian citizenship. An actual renunciation certificate or surrender certificate is required.
Rob Lee is co-founder of Swift Passport and Visa Services. Originally from Michigan, Rob is an avid fisherman and SCUBA diver who enjoys adventure travel.