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My maternal grandfather was from India, my mother was born in India.

My father was born in Bangladesh. I was born in Bangladesh.

Can I become an Indian citizen?

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    What date were you born? Was your mother an Indian citizen at the time? – lambshaanxy May 12 '15 at 1:09
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After reading this : http://indiancitizenshiponline.nic.in/citizenshipact1.htm

It looks like if you were born outside of India, then you pretty much only qualify as a "citizen by descent" if your birth was registered with the Indian government within one year of its occurrence, or within one year of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2003 taking effect. (Or "with the permission of the Central Government", whatever that means.)

Otherwise, it looks like you would have to apply for citizenship by naturalisation. If you do that successfully, you would be required to renounce any other citizenships you hold within six months, or else your newly-gained Indian citizenship would be revoked.

  • But, why do I need to renounce any other citizenship? Isn't multiple citizenship allowed in India? – user2407 May 11 '15 at 21:39
  • @BROY no, India does not (generally?) allow multiple citizenships. I am pretty sure my brother in law had to renounce his Indian citizenship when he was naturalized in the USA. – phoog May 11 '15 at 22:41
  • @phoog, then what was the case of Sonya Gandhi? – user2407 May 11 '15 at 22:52
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    @BROY Sonia lost her Italian citizenship when she became an Indian citizen. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonia_Gandhi#Wife_of_the_Prime_Minister – lambshaanxy May 12 '15 at 1:08
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    @ScottEarle It's rather more complicated than that, and the rules depend on the date of birth: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… – lambshaanxy May 12 '15 at 1:10
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I want to expand on Scott Earle's answer.

Here are excerpts from the Citizenship Act. You could possibly be an Indian citizen by descent if your mother was an Indian citizen at the time of your birth (i.e. if she hadn't lost it before you were born, e.g. by voluntarily gaining another nationality or something), and you were born after 1992:

Citizenship by descent.- (1) A person born outside India shall be a citizen of India by descent,-

(b) on or after the 10th day of December,1992, if either of his parents is a citizen of India at the time of his birth

(For births prior to 1992, citizenship by descent could only be through the father:

(a) on or after the 26th day of January, 1950, but before the 10th day of December, 1992, if his father is a citizen of India at the time of his birth; or

)

In addition, as Scott Earle mentioned, you lose citizenship by descent after the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2003, unless your birth was registered at an Indian consulate by one year after your birth, or by one year after the commencement of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2003; although the government can allow you to register late:

Provided also that on or after the commencement of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2003, a person shall not be a citizen of India by virtue of this section, unless his birth is registered at an Indian consulate in such form and in such manner, as may be prescribed,-

(i) within one year of its occurrence or the commencement of the citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2003, whichever is later; or

(ii) with the permission of the Central Government, after the expiry of the said period:

Also, you lose Indian citizenship by descent at six months after attaining full age if you do not renounce your other nationalities. And as you were born in Bangladesh to a Bangladeshi parent, you must be a Bangladeshi citizen. So if you are past 18.5 and you didn't renounce Bangladeshi citizenship, then you are out of luck:

(1A) A minor who is a citizen of India by virtue of his section and is also a citizen of any other country shall cease to be a citizen of India if he does not renounce the citizenship or nationality of another country within six months of attaining full age.

On top of that, even if you are below 18.5, if you have ever gotten a non-Indian passport, e.g. a Bangladeshi passport, that could also cause loss of your Indian citizenship. According to the Citizenship Rules Schedule III (on page 72):

  1. The fact that a citizen of India has obtained on any date a passport from the Government of any other country shall be conclusive proof of his having voluntarily acquired the citizenship of that country before that date.

(This is illogical, because someone who had a citizenship at birth obviously did not "voluntarily acquire" it. But anyway that's what the rule says.)

And that would cause you to lose Indian citizenship (from the Citizenship Act again):

Termination of citizenship.- (1) Any citizen of India who by naturalization, registration otherwise voluntarily acquires [...] the citizenship of another country shall, upon such acquisition [...] cease to be a citizen of India

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