Dual citizenship means that an individual can have more than one nationality. This gives the person country-specific rights and benefits. For example, you can work, study, and reside in both countries with dual or multiple citizenships.

Moreover, you get quality privileges such as education, healthcare, social security, etc.

Individuals with dual citizenship can hold multiple passports, which allow them to travel with ease. In addition, they can travel visa-free to most countries.

In case you are wondering whether Indians can have dual citizenship, we have answered your query underneath.

Does India Allow Dual Citizenship?

The Indian constitution does not have any provision regarding dual or multiple citizenships. Instead, an Indian can acquire a second passport of a chosen country. But they are obligated to lose Indian citizenship.

The Passports Act of 1967 mandates every Indian resident to surrender their passports to the nearest embassy after acquiring another country’s nationality.

Indians have to get Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) status after getting foreign citizenship.

Some of the requirements for dual citizenship include –

  • Individuals who voluntarily seek citizenship of a foreign state, as per Articles 5, 6 and 8, will cease being Indian citizens.
  • They will assume the foreign state’s nationality wherein he/she raised the citizenship request.
  • Individuals must also surrender their Indian passport and other documents establishing Indian citizenship at the nearest Indian embassy.

Though there are no provisions for dual citizenship in India, individuals can opt for an OCI card. This will offer multiple benefits. Some of them are discussed below.


India’s stance on dual citizenship has evolved over the years. The Indian Constitution, adopted in 1950, does not explicitly provide for dual citizenship. It follows a “single citizenship” model, where an individual can only be a citizen of India and no other country simultaneously

Dual citizenship in India could offer several potential benefits for the country:

  1. Retaining Talent: One of the most significant advantages of dual citizenship is the ability to retain highly skilled individuals who have emigrated for better opportunities abroad. By allowing dual citizenship, India could encourage these individuals to maintain a strong connection with their home country while contributing their skills and expertise to the Indian economy.
  2. Attracting Investments: Dual citizenship can attract investment from the Indian diaspora and high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) living abroad. These individuals, who often have significant resources, may be more inclined to invest in India if they can maintain a connection to the country through dual citizenship. This can provide a boost to the Indian economy and foster development.
  3. Enhancing India’s Global Reputation: India is emerging as a global economic powerhouse and a hub for technology and innovation. Introducing dual citizenship could boost India’s global reputation by showing that the country values and welcomes its diaspora, fostering stronger diplomatic and economic ties with other nations.
  4. Strengthening Cultural and Social Ties: Dual citizenship can help Indian expatriates and their descendants maintain strong cultural and social ties to India. This sense of connection can lead to a deeper understanding of Indian culture, history, and values, fostering a positive image of India in the international community.
  5. Supporting Indian Students Abroad: Many Indian students pursue higher education abroad. Dual citizenship could provide them with the opportunity to explore educational and career prospects overseas while maintaining their Indian identity. This may encourage more students to return to India after completing their studies, contributing to the nation’s intellectual capital.
  6. Addressing Brain Drain: India has faced a long-standing issue of “brain drain” where highly educated individuals seek opportunities abroad and may not return. Dual citizenship can be a mechanism to reverse this trend by allowing these individuals to keep their Indian citizenship while pursuing their careers overseas.
  7. Boosting the Indian Diaspora’s Affiliation: The Indian diaspora, one of the largest in the world, can benefit significantly from dual citizenship. It would help them maintain their affiliation with India, and for their children, it could foster a stronger sense of Indian identity and culture.
  8. Global Economic Opportunities: Dual citizenship aligns with the rise of the gig economy, digital nomad culture, and citizenship by investment trends. India can tap into these global economic opportunities by providing dual citizenship to attract highly mobile individuals seeking economic growth, better standards of living, and global mobility.

While there are benefits to introducing dual citizenship, it’s essential to carefully consider and address potential challenges, such as national security and misuse of this status. Implementing safeguards, thorough vetting procedures, and a well-structured dual citizenship framework can help mitigate these concerns and ensure that the advantages of dual citizenship outweigh the drawbacks for India.

Introducing dual citizenship in India, while having potential benefits, could also come with several setbacks and challenges:

  1. National Security Concerns: Granting dual citizenship may raise national security concerns. It could make it more difficult to monitor individuals who hold citizenship in multiple countries and may engage in activities that compromise India’s security.
  2. Legal and Regulatory Complexity: Managing dual citizenship can be legally and administratively complex. It would require establishing clear regulations, criteria, and processes for dual citizens, which can be challenging to implement and enforce effectively.
  3. Misuse and Fraud: Dual citizenship may be susceptible to misuse and fraudulent activities, such as obtaining citizenship in India for ulterior motives, including tax evasion, money laundering, or illegal activities. Implementing safeguards against such misuse would be crucial.
  4. Economic Implications: While attracting investments from the Indian diaspora is a potential benefit, it could also lead to challenges such as real estate speculation, pushing up property prices in certain areas, and creating housing affordability issues for local populations.
  5. Complex Taxation: Dual citizens may be subject to tax obligations in both India and their other country of citizenship. This could lead to complexities in taxation and require mechanisms for avoiding double taxation, potentially leading to revenue challenges for the Indian government.
  6. Migration of Skilled Workers: India could experience an outflow of skilled workers and professionals who might prefer dual citizenship to pursue career opportunities abroad, leading to a loss of valuable human resources.
  7. Inequality and Exclusivity: Dual citizenship might be perceived as an exclusive privilege available to a select group, potentially leading to social and economic disparities between those who hold dual citizenship and those who do not.
  8. Challenges in Implementation: Dual citizenship would require changes in the legal framework and administrative systems, which can be a lengthy and complex process. It may also entail significant costs to establish and manage the necessary infrastructure.
  9. Dilution of National Identity: Some may argue that dual citizenship could dilute the essence of being an Indian citizen, as individuals with dual citizenship may not be as committed to the nation of origin.
  10. Consistency and Fairness: Ensuring consistency and fairness in granting dual citizenship, especially with regard to individuals’ eligibility, rights, and responsibilities, can be challenging. This could lead to debates and potential conflicts.
  11. Legal Conflicts: Dual citizenship can lead to legal complexities, particularly when it comes to issues like legal disputes, inheritance, and property rights, as the legal systems of two countries may come into conflict.

introducing dual citizenship in India would require careful consideration of these potential setbacks and challenges, and the government would need to establish a well-thought-out framework with robust safeguards and regulations to mitigate these issues. Balancing the potential benefits with the associated drawbacks is essential in making an informed decision regarding dual citizenship.


Union external affairs minister S Jaishankar on Friday said there are a lot of complications in providing dual citizenship to Indians settled abroad.
Interacting with entrepreneurs at ‘TAKEPRIDE 2023’, the 20th Young Indians National Summit organised by the CII in Chennai, Jaishankar said: “There are security and economic challenges (in providing dual citizenship).

There are challenges as to Indians living in which countries should be provided dual citizenship.”

The external affairs minister said, “The OCI (Overseas Citizenship of India) is the step to bridge the demand. But the debate (on dual citizenship) .” is still alive.” He was replying to a question posed by one of the participants about the ease of doing business for Indian entrepreneurs settled in India and the prospects of providing dual citizenship for them.
In reply to another question on the recent announcement of Union home minister Amit Shah on reservation of 24 seats in Pakistan – occupied Kashmir (PoK) and possibility of holding elections there, Jaishankar said it was “reaffirmation of sovereignty of India.” he said “the mechanism (of holding election) is complicated, but the basic message has been sent and it is loud.”


In a stunning development for Overseas Citizens of India, the Ministry of Home Affairs issued a notification on March 4 dramatically altering the compact between OCIs and the Indian state. This notification, which is issued under Section 7B of the Citizenship Act, 1955, supersedes three earlier notifications issued on April 11, 2005January 5, 2007, and January 5, 2009, which laid down the rights of the OCIs.

Apart from humiliating and illegally classifying OCIs as “foreign nationals”, the new notification introduces a series of new restrictions that dramatically curtails the rights and liberties of OCIs in India. These restrictions include a requirement for OCIs to secure a special permit to undertake “any research”, to undertake any “missionary” or “Tablighi” or “journalistic activities” or to visit any area in India notified as “protected”, “restricted” or “prohibited”.

In addition, the notification now equates OCIs to “foreign nationals” in respect of “all other economic, financial and educational fields” for the purposes of the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 2003 although past circulars by the Reserve Bank of India under FEMA will hold ground. This reverses the position that has held for the last 16 years wherein OCIs were equated to Non-Resident Indians rather than “foreign nationals” for the purposes of their economic, financial and educational rights.

OCIs can however continue to purchase land (other than agricultural land), pursue the profession of medicine, law, architecture and accountancy and seek parity with Indian citizens with regard to airfares and entry fee to monuments and parks. OCIs can also continue to seek enrolment in Indian educational institutions on par with NRIs but not for seats reserved exclusively for Indian citizens.

This notification by the Ministry of Home Affairs is not surprising. For some time now, the Ministry of Home Affairs has dedicated its efforts to reduce the concept of OCIs to a glorified long-term visa programme rather than implement it as a dual citizenship programme, as was the intent of Parliament when then Home Minister LK Advani piloted the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2003, through Parliament.

“Subsequently, the High Level Committee on Indian Diaspora constituted by the Central Government, inter alia, recommended the amendment of this Act to provide for the grant of dual citizenship to persons of Indian origin belonging to certain specified countries. The Central Government has accordingly decided to make provisions for the grant of dual citizenship.”

Advani in his introductory speech had clarified once again that the entire purpose of the Bill was to introduce dual citizenship for the Indian diaspora. It is therefore disingenuous for the Ministry of Home Affairs to now claim through a recent notification the claim that OCIs are foreign nationals. This argument is all the more absurd when viewed in light of the fact that the phrase OCI literally has the phrase “Indian citizen” in its title.

Lastly, it bears noting that the entire concept of OCIs was brought through the Citizenship Act, 1955, which is a legislation specifically meant to regulate the concept of Indian citizenship. There are separate laws like the Foreigners Act, 1946 and the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 2003, which deal exclusively with foreigners and their rights in India.


The validity of dual citizenship in India remains a complex and contentious issue, balancing the imperatives of national identity, security, and global engagement. While proponents advocate for a more inclusive approach to citizenship that accommodates dual nationality, opponents caution against the potential risks and challenges it may pose. Ultimately, any decision regarding dual citizenship in India must carefully consider these competing interests and strike a delicate balance that aligns with the nation’s constitutional ethos and strategic priorities.

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