How To Get Indian Citizenship: The Complete Guide (2022)

How To Get Indian Citizenship

There are many ways to obtain Indian citizenship. The most common way is by birth if one of your parents is a citizen of India. Another common way is to be married to an Indian citizen.

You can also apply for Indian citizenship through registration or naturalization, which means that you must have resided in India for the required period and meet other eligibility requirements.

This article explains the different ways on how to get Indian Citizenship.

The Indian Constitution implemented in 1950 guaranteed citizenship to all of the country’s residents at the commencement of the constitution. In 1955, the Indian government passed the Citizenship Act, by which all people born in India subject to some limitations were accorded citizenship.

5 Ways To Get Indian Citizenship

The Citizenship Act, 1955 provides for the acquisition, renunciation, termination, deprivation and determination of Indian citizenship. The Act provides for the acquisition of Indian Citizenship by birth, descent, registration and naturalization.

The conditions and procedure for the acquisition of Indian citizenship as per the provision of the Citizenship Act, 1955 are given below:

Indian Citizenship By Birth (Section 3)

The following categories are considered Indian Citizens by birth:

(1) A person born in India between 26/01/1950 and 01/07/1987 (irrespective of the nationality of his or her parents)

(2) A person born in India between 01/07/1987 and 03/12/2004 (if either of his or his parent is a citizen of India at the time of birth)

(3) A person born in India on or after 03/12/2004, if both the parents are citizens of India or one of the parents is a citizen of India and the other is not an illegal migrant at the time of his birth.

Birth DateBirth PlaceOther Conditions
Between 26/01/1950 and 01/07/1987IndiaNo other condition
Between 01/07/1987
and 03/12/2004
IndiaEither parent should be an Indian citizen at the time of birth
On or after 03/12/2004IndiaBoth parents should be Indian citizens at the time of birth,
OR
One of the parents is an Indian citizen and the other is not an illegal migrant at the time of birth
Eligibility for Indian Citizenship By Birth

Indian Citizenship By Descent (Section 4)

The following categories are considered Indian Citizens by descent:

(1) A person born outside India between 26/01/1950 and 10/12/1992, if his father was an Indian citizen by birth. In case the father was a citizen of India by descent only, that person shall not be a citizen of India, unless his birth is registered at an Indian Consulate within one year from the date of birth or with the permission of the Central Government, after the expiry of the said period.

(2) A person born in India between 10/12/1992 and 03/12/2004, if either of his parents was an Indian citizen by birth. In case either of the parents was a citizen of India by descent, that person shall not be a citizen of India, unless his birth is registered at an Indian Consulate within one year from the date of birth or with the permission of the Central Government, after the expiry of the said period.

(3) A person born outside India on or after 03/12/2004 shall not be a citizen of India, unless the parents declare that the minor does not hold a passport of another country and his birth is registered at an Indian consulate within one year of the date of birth or with the permission of the Central Government, after the expiry of the said period.

Birth DateBirth PlaceOther Conditions
Between 26/01/1950 and 10/12/1992Outside IndiaFather is an Indian citizen by birth;
If the father is of Indian origin by descent, the birth should be registered at an Indian consulate within one year from DOB
Between 10/12/1992
and 03/12/2004
Outside IndiaEither parent is an Indian citizen by birth;
If the parent is of Indian origin by descent, the birth should be registered at an Indian consulate within one year from DOB
On or after 03/12/2004Outside IndiaParents should declare that the minor does not hold a passport from another country and his birth is registered at an Indian consulate within one year of the date of birth
Eligibility for Indian Citizenship By Descent
How To Get Indian Citizenship

Indian Citizenship by Registration (Section 5)

According to Section 5 of the Citizenship Act, 1955, a foreigner can acquire Indian Citizenship upon fulfilling the eligibility criteria and by submitting an application.

Migrants belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Parsi, Buddhist and Christian communities of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh have been given certain relaxations or facilities for this application. The general eligibility conditions for applying under Section 5 are as below:

SectionWho can apply under this section
5(1)(a)An adult foreigner who or either of whose parents was born in undivided India and the applicant is ordinarily a resident in India for seven years before submitting his application for registration.
5(1)(c)An adult foreigner who is married to a citizen of India and has resided in India for seven years before submitting his application for registration.
5(1)(d)Minor children whose both parents are Indian citizens.
5(1)(e)An adult foreigner whose parents are registered as citizens of India under Section 5(1)(a) or Section 6(1)
5(1)(f)An adult foreigner who or any of whose parents was a citizen of Independent India and who has resided in India for 12 months before submitting his application.
5(1)(g)An adult foreigner who has been registered as an OCI card holder for at least five years or more and residing in India for 12 months before submitting the application.
Eligibility conditions to apply for Indian citizenship under Section 5

To apply for Indian citizenship under Section 5(1)(a) and Section 5(1)(c):

  • The applicant should have resided in India for a period of 12 months immediately before the application.
  • The applicant should have resided in India during the 8 years immediately preceding the said period of 12 months for a period of not less than 6 years.

A person shall be deemed to be a Person of Indian Origin if he, or either of his parents, was born in undivided India or in such other territory which became part of India after the 15th August 1947.

Indian Citizenship by Naturalization (Section 6)

Indian Citizenship by Naturalization can be acquired by a foreigner (not being an illegal migrant) who is ordinarily resident in India for 12 years.

He or she should have been living in India throughout the period of 12 months immediately preceding the date of application and for 11 years in the aggregate in the 14 years preceding the 12 months. He or she should also fulfil other qualifications as specified in the third schedule to the Citizenship Act, 1955.

Here is our complete guide to Indian Citizenship by Naturalization.

Indian Citizenship By Incorporation of Territory (Section 7)

This is another section of the Citizenship Act, 1955 which states that If any territory becomes a part of India, the Central Government may, by order notified in the Official Gazette, specify the persons who shall be citizens of India by reason of their connection with that territory; and those persons shall be citizens of India as from the date to be specified in the order.

Changes Under Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019

Under Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019, illegal immigrants who have entered India on or before 31 December 2014, belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian faiths facing “religious persecution or fear of religious persecution” in their countries of origin (Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan) are eligible for Indian citizenship.  

The amendment also relaxed the residence requirement for naturalization of these migrants from twelve years to six.

Source: Indian Citizenship Act, 1955

Copyright © NRIGuides.com – Full or partial reproduction of this article in any language is prohibited.


Frequently Asked Questions


What are the ways to acquire Indian citizenship?

A person can acquire Indian citizenship by birth, descent, registration or naturalization.

How can a foreigner become an Indian citizen?

Indian Citizenship by Naturalization can be acquired by a foreigner (not being an illegal migrant) who is ordinarily resident in India for 12 years.

Can a foreigner become an Indian citizen by marriage?

A foreigner who is married to an Indian Citizen and has resided in India for the past seven years can make an application for citizenship by registration.


You May Also Like


Share This With Someone Who Needs It

1 thought on “How To Get Indian Citizenship: The Complete Guide (2022)”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

  1. Hi sir
    I am an Indian and got married to a Filipino.
    I have a son who is born in Philippines and holding Philippines passport.
    We are divorce now and my son is with me in my custody.
    I wanted to change his passport to Indian citizenship.
    Could you please guide us on how we could change.
    Will wait for your response.
    Thanks in advance

error: Content is protected !!
Scroll to Top