Indian Citizenship By Naturalization: Complete Guide (2022)

Indian Citizenship By Naturalization

A foreign national, who is not an illegal immigrant, can obtain Indian citizenship by naturalization after living in India for a specified time and meeting other requirements.

This article explains the eligibility requirements and procedure for acquiring Indian citizenship by naturalization under section 6(1) of the Citizenship Act, 1955.

Requirements for Indian Citizenship By Naturalization

Residency Requirements

The first requirement to acquire Indian Citizenship by naturalization is the residency requirement. The foreigner should have lived in India for at least twelve years during the previous fifteen years. These twelve years are the aggregates of (a) and (b):

(a) Applicant should have either resided in India or been in the service of a Government in India or partly the one and partly the other, throughout the period of twelve months immediately preceding the date of the application;

If the Central Government is satisfied that special circumstances exist, the twelve months period may be relaxed up to a maximum of thirty days which may be in different breaks.

(b) During the fourteen years immediately preceding the said period of twelve months, the applicant should have either resided in India or been in the service of a Government of India, or partly the one and partly the other, for periods amounting to the aggregate to not less than eleven years.

In the case of a person belonging to the Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian community in Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan, the aggregate period shall be relaxed to five years instead of eleven years.

Other Requirements

The Third Schedule to the Citizenship and Naturalization Act of 1955 also outlines other requirements as below:

(a) The applicant should not be a citizen of any country where citizens of India cannot become citizens of that country by naturalization.

(b) The applicant should be of good character.

(c) The applicant should have adequate knowledge of a language specified in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution. These 22 languages are:

AssameseBengaliBodo
DogriGujaratiHindi
KannadaKashmiriKonkani
MaithiliMalayalamMeitei (Manipuri)
MarathiNepaliOdia
PunjabiSanskritSanthali
SindhiTamilTelugu
Urdu
Languages recognized in the eighth schedule of the Indian Constitution

(d) If a certificate of naturalization is granted, the applicant should have the intention to reside in India, or to enter into, or continue in, service under a Government in India or under an international organisation of which India is a member or under a society, company or body of persons established in India.

Indian Citizenship By Naturalization

Documents Required for Applying

The following documents are required to apply for Indian Citizenship by naturalization:

  • A copy of a valid Foreign Passport
  • A copy of the Residential Permit/LTV
  • A copy of Bank Challan in original amounting to Rs. 1500 deposited in the State Bank of India under Head No. 0070 – Other Administrative Services – Other Services – Receipts under the Citizenship Act
  • One affidavit from self (applicant) and two affidavits from two Indians testifying to the character of the applicant in the prescribed language available in the application form. The affidavit should be allotted by Notary/ Oath Commissioner/ DM
  • Two language certificates certifying the applicant’s knowledge in any one of the Indian languages specified in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution. (A language certificate from a recognized educational institution or from a recognized organization or from two Indian citizens of the district of the applicant)
  • Two newspapers (circulating in the district in which the applicant resides) cuttings of different dates or of different newspapers notifying his/ her intention to apply for citizenship in the prescribed language available in the application form
  • A passport size photo of the applicant

Procedure for Indian Citizenship By Naturalization

The application for Indian Citizenship by Naturalization can be made online through the dedicated website for Citizenship. Below are the steps to be followed:

Step 1: Visit Indian Citizenship Website

Indian Citizenship Online Website Homepage

Step 2: Select “Naturalization As a Citizen of India”

This is the seventh link on the home page.

Step 3: Check the Eligibility Criteria, Documents Requirements and Passport Exemption

The eligibility criteria and document requirements are already mentioned above. However, it is a good idea to reconfirm them.

Step 4: Click on Apply Online

The Apply Online button is on the bottom left-hand side.

Step 5: Complete the forms

After each tab is completed, click on the “Save and Next” button.

Step 6: Upload the Photo

Criteria for uploading the photo are given below.

Step 7: Click on “Final Submit To The Ministry”

After clicking on final submits, an MHA file number will be generated and the system would display the “Upload Documents” page where you can upload the scanned PDF documents.

Applicant must note down MHA file no. for access to his records in future. SMS and E-mail also will be sent to the applicant, intimating the MHA file number.

Step 8: Upload the PDF Documents

Criteria for uploading the documents are given below.

Step 9: Print the application

Once all the documents are uploaded then the ‘Print Application’ button would be enabled. The applicant can now click on ‘Print Application’ to take a printout of the application.

Step 10: Pay the application fee online

The applicant can pay the prescribed fee through the SBI e Pay payment gateway.

Step 11: Submit a hard copy to the competent authority office

The applicant has to submit a hard copy of the online filled application and supporting documents to the office of the District Collector, District Magistrate or Deputy Commissioner.

Step 12: Issuing in-principle acceptance letter

Once the competent authority decides to accept the citizenship application, the applicant will be issued
an in-principle acceptance letter(a hard copy will be sent to the postal address). The applicant will also receive an alert in the registered email ID and SMS in the contact mobile number.

Step 13: Fill out the relevant form and submit original documents

On receiving above mentioned acceptance letter, the applicant has to fill out the relevant Form X or Form XI
or form XII on the website and thereafter submit all original copies to the office of the competent authority.

The applicant has to submit a hard copy of filled Form X/XI/XII in the Office of District Collector along with the original renunciation certificate or affidavit (if applicable), receipt of payment, photographs and signatures.

Once the citizenship is granted to the applicant, his citizenship certificate will be forwarded to the concerned State Govt/District Collector.


Criteria For Uploading Photo

  • The applicant’s passport size photograph is required
  • The image dimension of the photograph should be 100 x 120 pixels
  • The scanned image should not be more than 20kb
  • The image format should be JPG
  • You can use Microsoft Picture Manager for resizing the image

Criteria For Uploading Documents

  • The documents should be saved in PDF format
  • Each PDF document can contain multiple pages
  • The size of each PDF document should not exceed 1024kb (1MB)

Application Fees for Indian Citizenship By Naturalization

(a) Following are the application fees for Indian Citizenship by naturalization in respect of persons belonging to the minority community in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan (namely, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians):

With the application100 Rs
Grant of certificate of registration100 Rs

(b) Following are the application fees for Indian Citizenship by naturalization for all others not covered under the above category (a):

With the application1,500 Rs
Grant of certificate of registration13,500 Rs

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

References: Citizenship Act, 1955


Frequently Asked Questions


Can a foreigner get Indian Citizenship by naturalization?

A foreign national, who is not an illegal immigrant, can obtain Indian citizenship by naturalization after living in India for a specified time and meeting other requirements.

How many years should a foreigner live in India to apply for citizenship?

A foreigner can apply for Indian Citizenship after living in India for twelve years (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).

Is there any language requirement for becoming an Indian Citizen?

To apply for Indian citizenship by naturalization, a foreigner should have adequate knowledge of a language specified in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution.


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