Dual Citizenship had been a long-standing demand of the Indian Diaspora. The principal rationale of the demand, however, is sentimental and psychological. Desire of PIOs to forge emotional and cultural bonds with their country of origin is quite evident in the scale of philanthropic activities done by them in India. Dual citizenship will strengthen this bond and facilitate Diaspora’s contribution in India’s social development.

During the First Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, held on 9-11 January 2003, the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India announced the policy of Dual Citizenship for the People of Indian Origin (PIO). Subsequently, the draft bill was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on 9th May, 2003 for amending the Citizenship Act 1955, to give effect to this policy announcement. In December 2003, Parliament passed the Bill (the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2003 to grant dual citizenship to the PIOs belonging to 16 countries, and on January 7, 2004 the President gave his assent. The 16 countries are: USA, Canada, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Italy, Ireland, Portugal, Switzerland, Greece, Cyprus, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, France, Sweden, Finland. The consequent changes in the Citizenship Rules 1956 have to be effected by the Ministry of Home Affairs. After notification, the Rules have to be laid on the table of both Houses of Parliament before they come into force and the Rules would be laid on the table of both the Houses of Parliament in the session beginning in August.

The consequent changes in the Citizenship Rules 1956 have been effected by the Ministry of Home Affairs and guidelines have been circulated to our Missions for implementation of the above.