WHAT IS DUAL CITIZENSHIP?
When an individual have more than one nationality then he is said to have a Dual citizenship. In other words, the person having dual citizenship has the ability to possess two passports. This provides the person with country-specific rights and he enjoys the benefits from both countries like he can study, work, and reside in both countries with dual or multiple citizenships. As persons with dual citizenship can hold multiple passports, they get to travel with ease in different countries.
DUAL CITIZENSHIP IN INDIA
There is no provision regarding citizenship in the Indian constitution. Instead, if an individual wants to acquire any other country’s passport then that individual will have to give up his Indian citizenship. According to Article 9(1) of the Indian Constitution any citizen of India, who by the process of naturalization or by way of registration acquires the citizenship of another country, shall cease to be an Indian citizen. It is a mandate for every resident of India to surrender their passports to the nearest Indian embassy after acquiring another country’s nationality according to The Passports Act of 1967. But still those individuals can apply for Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) status after getting any other country’s citizenship.
ADVANTAGES OF DUAL CITIZENSHIP
A person having dual citizenship has the advantage in terms of work as he/she can be allowed to work in both countries. Dual citizenship allows a person to own property in both countries. Acquiring a second passport from a stable country by way of dual citizenship can turn out to be life-saving in the event of any kind of political, economic or social unrest in one’s home country. Like in the recent events of Covid-19 and war situations in Ukraine. Along with this that person enjoys several other rights such as life-long visas, independence to carry n businesses in both countries, etc.
As such there are no provisions for dual citizenship in India, but still individuals can opt for an Overseas Citizens of Indian card. Individuals with OCI can also enjoy number of benefits some of which are as follows-
- It provides with the Independence to live, work, carry on business, own assets and property in India along with multiple entry life-long visas.
- They are charged the same entry fee as any other domestic Indian visitors to visit national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in India.
- They are eligible to apply for Indian Universities and other national level entrance tests like NEET etc.
According to section 5(1)(g) of the Citizenship Act, 1955, Individuals registered as an OCI are eligible to apply for Indian citizenship after conceding their foreign citizenship, if he has been registered as an OCI for 5 years and has been residing in India for not less than a period of one year in those five years.
Disadvantages of Dual Citizenship
Along with dual citizenship there comes a dual obligation as well, as you will have to adhere with the laws of both countries. The person having dual citizenship will be obligated to dual taxation as that person will have to pay taxes in both countries. Like if a person is a U.S citizen and working in any other nation of which he is having a dual citizenship, then he will have to pay taxes in the U.S and the other Country as U.S imposes income tax on its citizen earning anywhere in the world.
It is to be understood that apart from these demerits of having a dual citizenship even acquiring dual citizenship is a very complicated task. The process is much complex and can take many years which can be extremely expensive as well. These are some reasons which may deter some people from pursuing dual citizenship.
CRITERIA TO GET DUAL CITIZENSHIP
There are several ways by which an individual can acquire a second citizenship which includes by birth, naturalization, marriage and investment. The eligibility parameters can vary from country to country. Therefore, Individuals must check for those parameters before applying for dual citizenship.
Some of the ways by which an individual can acquire a dual citizenship are as follows:
- Citizenship can be acquired by birth if that individual’s parents were born in that country or are citizens of that country.
- Citizenship can be acquired by the process of Naturalization in which a resident of a country has to reside in that country for a certain number of years as a permanent resident. This criterion is different in different countries.
- Some of the countries grant citizenship status to persons who have married a citizen of that country. This way of getting citizenship is usually takes very less time than others.
- The most prominent way of acquiring citizenship is by way of investing, many countries offers citizenship by investment programs to high net worth investors which benefits them as well. In this process individuals acquire a second citizenship by investing in the economy of the country of whose citizenship they seek. This is also one of the speedy ways to acquire dual citizenship.
APPLICATION FOR DUAL CITIZENSHIP
The application process for dual citizenship is different in different countries. Therefore an individual seeking dual citizenship must go through the application process for dual citizenship for that particular country. The general way is to contact the embassy or consulate of your country before applying for other country’s citizenship. At first it needs to be made sure that whether your country allows dual citizenship, otherwise if you got citizenship of any other country you will lose your own country’s citizenship like in the case of India where only single citizenship is allowed.