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Renunciation of Indian citizenship & cancellation of Indian passports - Part I

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Michael Phulwani is a prominent attorney admitted to practice law in New York, New Jersey and India. He practices immigration and nationality laws and visa matters in the USA and abroad. He is a frequent lecturer on immigration laws and co-hosts several TV and radio programs on immigration. In this column, Phulwani will discuss frequent problems relating to immigration legislation and answer  questions from our readers. All questions should be forwarded to Michael Phulwani, 888 Maywood Avenue, Maywood, NJ 07607.

By Michael Phulwani
As we continued to get conflicting information on cancellation of Indian passports, certificate of renunciation of Indian citizenship, and visitor and transit visa, we sent a list of questions to various Indian Consulates in the US for further clarifications in this matter. Consul General Prabhu Dayal of the Indian Consulate in New York responded to our questions. In this article, we are providing herewith our questions and the responses that have been received from the Indian Consulate, New York.

Please confirm whether the fallowing information is correct and if not, please provide correct information:

Persons of Indian Origin, who obtained PIO or OCI prior to June 1, 2010, do not have to get their Indian Passport cancelled or obtain Certificate of Renunciation.

Not correct.  All PIOs, who have acquired foreign citizenship, are invariably required to surrender their passports.   If their passports already have a “cancelled” stamp, no action is required.

There is no mandatory requirement for Persons of Indian Origin to carry surrender certificates or cancelled Indian passports, while traveling to India.
Please be informed that there is no mandatory requirement for Persons of Indian Origin to carry their surrender certificates or cancelled Indian passports while travelling to India.

US citizens of Indian origin, who have not obtained PIO and OCI, and wish to apply for the same now are required to apply for cancellation of Indian passport or obtain surrender certificate, may apply by mail only.

Question - Do they need to submit original Indian passport or relevant pages of the Indian passport?

The following documents are required to be submitted for cancellation of Indian passport/obtaining surrender certificate:
Documents required

(i) Form (in duplicate- fill out the form and submit along with its photocopy).
Please fill out all the information clearly in both the portions i.e.
Declaration part as well as the surrender certificate part.
(ii) Last held Indian passport
(iii) Photocopy of first five and last 2 pages of last held Indian passport
(iv) Photocopy of first two pages of US passport (in case the US passport has been renewed on or after June 1, 2010, then photocopy of first 2 pages of previous US passport should also be submitted)
(v) Applicable fees:

Applicants, who acquired US citizenship on or before 31st May 2010-$20.

Applicants who acquired US citizenship on or after 1st June 2010- $175.

Applicants whose US passports were issued after 1st June 2010 but were naturalized before June 1, 2010- $20 (additionally, proof of their naturalization before June 1, 2010 should be submitted).

What if the original passport is lost, would copies of Indian passport if available, suffice?

Persons of Indian Origin, who acquired foreign nationality before June 1, 2010 but have lost/misplaced their Indian passport, cannot apply for its cancellation or for obtaining a surrender certificate.  If such persons desired to apply for visa/Person of Indian Origin card / Overseas Citizenship of India card, they will be required to submit adequate proof to establish their Indian origin like photocopy of their Indian passport, naturalization certificate, birth certificate, land holding documents, house tax receipts, etc.

Those, who acquired/intend to acquire foreign nationality on or after June 1, 2010, need to submit a police report regarding loss of their passport. They need to renounce the citizenship by paying the required fee of $175 and should be able to furnish details of their Indian passport at the time of renouncing of Indian citizenship.

What if neither the original Indian passport nor the copies are available?

Please refer to (b) above.

It was suggested during one of the interviews to press that in such cases, applicants should appear in person and then the matter can be resolved. Is this correct? What does it mean “matter can be resolved”?

As is the practice on any consular issue, to convince ourself of the genuineness of the applicant, we may call him for an interview which may help in resolving the issue or to guide him more appropriately.

US citizens of Indian origin, who already have valid visitor visa for India, are they also required to get their Indian passport cancelled and get renunciation certificate? If so, are they advised that unless they do it, they should not travel to India?  Is there any time limit within which they must take such action?

As per regulations of the Indian Passports Act, all PIOs are required to surrender their Indian passports immediately after acquiring foreign citizenship.  There is, however, no restriction on their travel to India, with a valid visa/PIO/OCI, etc.  To avoid penalties, the Indian passport should not be used for travel after 90 days of acquiring foreign nationality and must not be retained beyond three years after acquiring citizenship (penalties are levied only on passports which are valid beyond January 1, 2005).
To be concluded