How to get Dual Citizenship in India and the US?

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“If I am an Indian, can I apply for US citizenship? Will I lose my Indian citizenship?” – these are the questions that many Indians ask in the United States before they apply for US citizenship.

Dual citizenship is actually not prohibited in the United States whatever is your second, or rather original, nationality. All naturalized US citizens are allowed to keep their original citizenship and nationality because the US does not demand them to abandon their country of origin. But the country of origin of a bipatride – a person with dual citizenship – may not be as open as the United States, meaning you will have to choose the citizenship you want to keep if you wish to apply for US citizenship. One such country is Japan, and another is India. We are going to clarify the status of Indians and how India manages the situation when Indians move to the US.

The Indian government does not allow you to be a bipatride. Nevertheless, they figured out a legal status that on paper looks like dual citizenship but actually is not. You can apply for Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI), which is a form of citizenship. The United States, as it was mentioned, will not prohibit you to obtain this status, and all you need is contact your local Indian embassy or consular office in the US to get OCI.

What does the OCI status give you? Not much, but here are the main advantages:

  • You get a perpetual visa to go to India;
  • You are allowed to stay in India for as long as you need without you registering with the Indian police;
  • You get the same rights with regard to receiving education and financial help as Indians.

If those benefits are enough for you, you can freely apply for the US citizenship, get your OCI card, and move to India if you want or need to. The problem with the OCI status is that you also get several very important restrictions in India. Here are these restrictions:

  • You cannot vote;
  • You cannot hold any government posts;
  • You cannot purchase any agricultural properties;
  • You cannot obtain an Indian passport.

Put simply, having an Overseas Citizenship of India card will not grant you a typical dual citizenship status. Once you get the US citizenship, your Indian citizenship is revoked, and your only option is to apply for OCI.

It is up to you to decide whether you want to get full rights as an Indian or as an American. In all, having at least partial dual citizenship is possible in India and the US.

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