Skip to content

Dual Citizenship – good or bad?

May 26, 2008

passportsIt is difficult for someone who has lived in one country most of their life to understand why anyone would want Dual Citizenship. Dual citizenship automatically implies dual loyalties and that is what throws up the very uncomfortable question:

How is it possible for a person to be loyal to two countries, particularly if one has political rights or works in government jobs?

Many governments feel it isn’t…India for example. It had mulled over giving dual citizenship to its citizens but finally decided not to. On the other hand countries like the United States have allowed dual citizenship, recognizing the fact that an immigrant could have loyalties to both the U.S. and to his/her home country.

Disadvantages (Cons) of Dual Citizenship from a government’s point of view
Not that there isn’t criticism in the United States about this… as far as back as 1998, Mark Fritz termed this in the Los Angeles Times as portable patriotism. Others like him feel that enemies of America could misuse the dual citizenship to do harm to the country. As dual citizenship means ease of travel (no requirement for visas) it could come of use to anyone with a terrorist intention. Other critics may not see a nefarious design on the part of a dual citizenship holder, but they do fear that a dual citizenship could prevent immigrants from properly “assimilating” in their new country. This article says that though the United States government “allows” dual citizenship, of late they have become uncomfortable with the idea

There is also a view (article by Dan Eden) that American citizens who are also citizens of Israel and in powerful governmental positions have Israeli interests in mind rather than American, and that decisions pertaining to the middle east (example Iraq war) were more to benefit Israel’s strategic interests rather than America’s. The bbc has written about a book by two US academics which also talks in critical terms of the “Israel” lobby. Not surprisingly, this book received a lot of flak and was accused of being anti-semitic. I don’t want to go into the merits of the case here…the point I am trying to make is that there will always be suspicions that an immigrant with dual nationality (who holds an important governmental position) will try and benefit his home country.

Some countries which allow Dual Citizenship
United Kingdom
United States

Some countries which forbid Dual Citizenship

Advantages of a Dual Citizenship (Pros)
There are a huge number of advantages that a dual passport holder has…and many of them are financial. If he/she is a business traveler then it means less wastage of time in getting visas, permissions etc if he travels to his other country. It also means that there is no problem buying property in that country or getting access to restricted areas. And he can avail of these benefits from both countries! There is also the infinite advantage…of belonging. It’s not easy to get a sense of belonging to the adopted country unless one is born and brought up there…and a citizenship of the home country can give that sense of being rooted, or a sense of emotional satisfaction. This will vary from person to person but I suspect that giving up one’s Indian citizenship would be a heart wrenching decision for most people.

Idual flagsndia will not give its citizens dual citizenship
There were strong rumours that the Indian government was going to allow its citizens to be the citizens of two countries but now it is extremely unlikely this will happen. There are too many security concerns. In fact it’s not just Pakistan or China that India is wary of, there are groups in India (communist and to some extent the BJP) who do not trust the United States and they will never agree to this.

Overseas Citizenship (OCI)
To assuage its citizens abroad India has come out with the Overseas Citizenship (OCI) scheme. It gives the holder financial benefits and ease of travel…but it’s important to remember that the OCI does not entitle one to an Indian passport. Some might call the OCI Indian citizenship but no way does it mean Indian nationality or real Indian citizenship. The OCI is simply a stamp on the existing foreign passport…in other words something akin to a life-long visa. Those eligible are Indian migrants from Independent India (and their children and grandchildren) who have acquired foreign citizenship…but not those who have acquired citizenship of Pakistan or Bangladesh or ever were the citizens of these countries. The OCI gives the following benefits:

  • right to indefinitely visit, study or work in India
  • right to own most types of property in India (excluding agricultural properties)
  • Dispenses with the need to register with local police/immigration authorities

But what it does not give is:

  • Right to vote
  • Eligibility for government employment
  • Unrestricted access to restricted/protected areas

(For more details on the OCI, please visit the links above and make inquiries with the Indian embassy as these are just brief details)

The Person of Indian Origin (PIO) Card
This is very similar to the OCI, and so are the eligibility criteria….if there is a difference in the eligibility criteria, I was not able to access this information. The main difference between the OCI and the PIO is that the PIO is temporary and lasts for 15 years from the date of issue. Also, PIO Card holders are usually required to register with police/immigration authorities if they stay more than 180 days.

The other benefits are similar…and as in the case of the OCI, holders of the POI have no political rights and cannot hold jobs in the government.

(For more details on the PIO, please visit the links above and make inquiries with the Indian embassy as these are just brief details)

Good or bad, no chance of dual citizenship for Indians
As of now Indians will have to be satisfied with the OCI or the PIO. It is bound to hurt those who desperately want to maintain a link with India by keeping their Indian nationality but at the same time do not want to forgo the benefits that their host country will offer if they become its citizens. And why should they? After all, they give their sweat and blood to that foreign country and should expect something in return…but well, for that they need to become citizens. And if they do that, they have to perforce sever their relationship with India…officially I mean.

I personally do not know whether the dual citizenship concept will work in India. What I do know is that it works very well between two peaceful countries that share mutual trust. For example Canada and Britain or Britain and Australia.

(It was Amit who gave me the idea to write about Dual Citizenship. Thanks Amit.)

(photo credits: photo of passports is from howtogermany, the second photo has been made by me by combining two separate flag pictures)

Related Reading: Indian Americans in the United States
Asian countries like America even if they don’t like each other
Does India share common values with the west?
Why foreigners like to work in India
Will Indians start to return to India in large numbers?

America becoming wary of immigration

Social Bookmarks:
66 Comments leave one →
  1. May 26, 2008 9:16 am

    the world is one village,to go from one village to another we need permission 🙂 certain things never change 🙂

    hmmm..i think we should have thing like a SAARC citizenship,it makes things in the EU for work permits and things…

    • allon be permalink
      September 17, 2011 12:41 am

      world is not a village any more, for security reasons u have to get a permission from legal authorities to travel through boundries.

    • October 31, 2014 8:50 am

      Never ever apply for dual indian citizenship. iN FACT, AVOID OCI/PIO ALSO. It will be suicidal in the event of a divorce with indian wife. She will run to india to file dv/dowry case and drag you to india claiming you are an indian citizen and hence a prisoner of indian laws !!! Be aware indian gender biased laws can drag you and your entire family into jail–WITHOUT ANY TRIAL. TRY GOOGLING OR YOUTUBING 498A

  2. May 26, 2008 9:22 am

    Dual citizenship definitely helps to the extent of getting a chance to become Prime Minister. India going for dual citizenship is purely a political decision.

    Old Sailor, I assume you mean OCI? OCI is not really an Indian citizenship. And the OCI is there to appease the powerful NRI lobby. – Nita.

  3. vivek mittal permalink
    May 26, 2008 9:23 am


    I’m surprized that you termed BJP as an anti US party…..while it’s an established fact that BJP is a pro US party, and during it’s previous rule a lot was done for the betterment of Indo -US ties……..

    While the left is of course Anti US by the virtue of it’s very Ideology.

    Please read my post again – it upsets me when people tell me that I said something which I never have. Please also note that they (BJP) have opposed the Nuclear deal – Nita.

    • sela permalink
      February 21, 2009 9:25 pm

      please note opposing nuclear deal makes on anti-US..WTF

  4. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    May 26, 2008 9:50 am


    In an era of globalization, which so many people are all gaga about, I don’t think citizenship has anything to do with loyalty. It’s all about easing transborder travel for those who would like to have the best of both (or several) worlds. Basically citizenship is all about where you routinely pay your taxes 🙂 . And, as so many disgruntled Brits think, about which cricket team you support in a World Cup or a Test Series.

    Talking of the “Cricket Test”, one good thing I see in T20 is that loyalties will increasingly shift from “my nation” to “my city” or “my club”. Not a bad thing at all. The only thing to worry about is the possibility that, just as the UK has football hooligans, we may end up with cricket hooligans on our hands.

  5. May 26, 2008 9:59 am

    Yup you are right… But too many NRI’s long for this Indian cititzenship….

    I have a chinese friend who finds this one as very complex nature of Indians…. In his words…”Passion of you people towards India increases multifold once you step out… To the extent that you guys feel so sentimental about maintaing the official status with thngs like Indian passport”. He also thinks that this is bcoz… Deep inside the heart – All of them want to head back to india one day

  6. vivek mittal permalink
    May 26, 2008 10:15 am


    It’s a pity that our political parties ALWAYS oppose what the ruling party does, so is the BJP doing…………………let me tell you if BJP comes to power, it will be first to implement the nuclear deal

    But with this particular incident we can’t conclude that BJP is against indo US ties, while the reverse is true

    Vivek M, whether opposing the nuclear deal is simply political expediency or not is another matter altogether! Maybe its so, and if I am not mistaken it was BJP who started this dual citizenship idea, but once the Congress got on to it, they were not bothered to support. But I am not so well up on politics so if you know for sure anything about this, you are welcome to add it. – Nita.

    p.s. Also remember the BJP is very nationalistic and opposed to “foreign born” people in the government. And please remember that this post is about dual citizenship, not about overall feelings of political parties towards America – Nita.

  7. vivek mittal permalink
    May 26, 2008 10:35 am

    Anyway, it’s a very good sign that both our leading national parties, Congress and BJP are basically the same if it comes to Economic & foreign policy……

    It would have been disastrous had they had opposite views on any of the issues, The BJP and congress both support opening up the economy, both are inclined towards capitalism, both have same foreign policy, whether it’s about relations with US, Israel,China or anything else

  8. May 26, 2008 11:30 am

    My 5 paisa
    Is it not that all the countries that welcome Dual Citizenship are the ones that want more immigrants to help make the country better, like a US, Canada or an Australia?

    India is yet to reach a stage where we invite people from abroad to come in and start working here(leave aside the minority of foreigners working here).

    May be its a Dual Citizenship is related to the “open outlook” of these nations or even associated with development(except Japan in the list mentioned).

    This is a cursory look at it. Haven’t sit and thought at it before commenting. 🙂

  9. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    May 26, 2008 12:03 pm

    Nikhil Narayan,

    //…India is yet to reach a stage where we invite people from abroad to come in and start working here…//

    I am not so sure. What about T20 (especially the cheerleaders)?

    I believe the general policy of most countries now, about admitting “guest workers”, is that there is no local citizen available to do the job. I can’t believe that Bollywood cannot supply more than enough spare starlets to bump and grind on the boundaries of our cricket grounds 🙂 .

  10. May 26, 2008 1:38 pm

    Dual citizenship m sure is good as u get the benefit of both countries… But I dint know India doesnt allow it. I know many Indians who have dual citizenship!!

  11. May 26, 2008 2:58 pm

    india’s visa laws are outdated, ancient and stupid…
    1) there was a emmigration check (luckily they did away with it)
    2) PIO is not issued to citizens from Bangladesh and Pak??? WHY? this is inspite of the fact that there are several families have relatives on the other side of the border.

    india has to realize that in this world you just cannot stop people from moving in or out. indian tourism has not picked up because it is almost impossible to get a Indian VISA.
    i was talking to few of my colleagues from europe, USA and SE Asia.. they all unanimously say that although we use the term CHINA Wall to describe IRON CURTAIN, in reality getting a Legal Permit to travel to India is the hardest.

    i wonder who is it benefiting?

  12. May 26, 2008 3:22 pm

    Since India does not allows Dual citizenship, what happens when, lets asssume, an American, wants to aquire an Indian citizenship? Is he supposed to let go of his citizenship of America??
    And I assume that America gives a Dual citizenship to Indians??

    Amit, it is possible for a foreigner to apply for Indian citizenship but there are different rules for that, including staying in India for many years. Also the foreigner has to give up his foreign citizenship. And even if America gives dual citizenship it has no meaning to Indians as India will automatically withdraw the Indian citizenship. Unless ofcourse a person of Indian origin in the US is a dual citizen of the US and some other country which allows foreign citizenship. – Nita.

  13. May 26, 2008 11:21 pm


    I know I have written a few comments on your blog that aren’t pro-NRI. But I have nothing against NRIs and I would whole-heartedly support any move to give them Indian citizenship immediately if they are willing to give up their foreign citizenship. Even Gandhi was a returned NRI. But I don’t think dual citizenship would be beneficial to Indians who live in India.

    I shall give one example. In the larger cities, there is resentment towards NRIs and those who work in the new-age economy, like IT / ITES / Bio-tech / Finance, etc. as they push up the property prices and rentals in the suburbs as they are able to afford higher prices and rents. That puts the working class and the lower middle class and to a certain extent, even the middle class at a great disadvantage as they are pushed out of the suburbs. Ofcourse, moving to residential areas within the city would be out of the question as the prices and rentals are even higher.

    So they get pushed further and further away from the cities which can make life difficult for them as they have to live in semi-rural areas and commute long distances to work. This is not exactly a healthy sign. It is sad to see once-vibrant suburbs being transformed into closed gated communities for the NRIs.

    These are not my own views, but what I heard from folks belonging to the working class. And from what I sense, their anger is primarily directed at those NRIs from the dollar/pound/euro countries and not the Gulf returnees as those guys are Indian citizens and usually leave their families behind when they go to the Gulf.

  14. May 27, 2008 2:09 am

    There was a time once when people did not need passports. They were simply a convenience that has become something else. There are a lot of people travelling now, although we can expect the rise of oil to put a crimp in tat growth curve. And the worst bit about travel is having to line up for a passport check. I have both UK and Canadian citizenship, and I have no intention of relinquishing either as there is no real probability that my loyalty to the one will conflict with my loyalty to the other. Though I did once have to remind a Canadian (by accident of birth not choice) that both countries have the same Head of State and it’s her head on the coins!

    The only advantage of having two passports is that I can get past the incredibly long lineups of “other passports” at UK airports. In Vancouver there are many lines but anyone can get on the one that seems to be shorter. It won’t move any quicker of course. I live in Canada, and I pay taxes here, so I feel I have a right to vote here. Even though I was earning money for Canada abroad, I was not allowed to even ask for citizenship until I has spent 3×365 nights here – which took longer than 4 years. Even a trip to the US side of Niagara Falls cost me an extra day’s wait!

    But that’s it. I don’t get to vote in Britain any longer, and I do have the right to return. So do my kids – who have triple nationality as their Mum is American.

    I do not understand why India has concerns about dual nationality, but then I am not Indian. And in any event there is a get out clause which says that Canadian consular officials will not help me in any dispute I might have with the UK, so there!

  15. May 27, 2008 2:12 am

    i think vivek k has a correct assessment of the situation , an nri can be a pio or an oci no big difference – hold a pan card and pay taxes in india then why the big deal?

    do u know how much torture an Indian has to go thru if one visits us or europe in visa lines and requirements ? no wonder the green card or citizenship is coveted… i have a relative who took 6 yrs to give up Indian citizenship, that too reluctantly just because of visa hassles as that person had to routinely shuttle between European member states on job assignments.

    lastly we live in a world where citizenship can be bought by money or investments, like in britain and its policy to house the russian billionaires so what is the big deal?

  16. May 27, 2008 2:18 am

    raj do u think no dual citizenship will sort the property mess

    as per income tax rules an nri can also be a pio or oci
    nris can own non agricultural property and even if they cant own agri property and want to buy it they will gift to relatives and still buy it benami – heck the politicians even in kerala do it
    so u still amuse me 🙂

  17. May 27, 2008 4:32 am


    It is obvious you don’t want to understand my comments. I really don’t care about what you think of them 🙂 I don’t even want to mention what I think of yours 🙂

  18. May 27, 2008 6:04 am

    As usual, I have learned a lot from reading your post, Nita.

    The system India uses seems fair to me. It doesn’t seem right to be voting on the outcomes of elections when one is not often present in the country. At the same time, I’m glad the US allows dual citizenship, because we do have so many immigrants. Even those who obtain US citizenship maintain strong ties to their native country. That’s part of what I love about living in the US. I guess there are no simple answers.

  19. May 27, 2008 7:19 am

    Vishesh, I look forward to a world when we can move freely from one country to another without harassment. It may not happen in my lifetime, but it will happen one day!

    Old Sailor, Vivek M, I have responded to you in the comment itself.

    Vivek K, true what you say…it today’s global world things are changing very fast. And where emotional bonding is concerned, it can remain even after citizenship is taken away…

    CM-Chap, I too have talked to some NRI’s who have this great longing to return to India…most of them never do come back ofcourse.

    Nikhil Narayanan, I am sure that the necessity of immigrants plays a part. I think though that it plays a part initially and then many of these countries want to control immigrants! Not that they take away the law allowing dual citizenship, because people have got used to it! But there must be other reasons too, just guessing.

    Nova, those people you know don’t have dual citizenship, they probably have OCI.

    I guess the reason they don’t allow people from Pakistan and Bangladesh to get OCI is because they don’t need it! 🙂 They go in and out of their own free will! 🙂 But on a serious note, I think I do understand why the govt doesn’t allow it…if I am not mistaken, Pak and BD don’t allow it either. Also, there are security concerns.

    Amit, I have responded to you in the comment itself.

    Raj, I see your point. You mean that those with dual citizenship could perhaps have an advantage over Indian citizens in terms of access to dollars and Euros. This must be true, and I too at times get irritated at the way the real estate is going up. But as you mentioned, it’s not just those with dual citizenship who will have the advantage, the NRI’s have it too. With dual citizenship, their advantage could increase.

    Stephen Rees, as you said passports are after all just pieces of paper! But Indians tend to be more emotional than other people and also our culture is very different to that of say America, so it is harder to get that feeling of belonging. A brit in Canada or the US will find it far easier to assimilate and will also get more acceptance. Finally it is a two-way thing, loyalty I mean. The adopted country and its citizens have to show the same loyalty and love towards the new citizen as he/she feels.

    well, it is a big deal because even though passports are simply a piece of paper, there is emotional value attached to it. I always wondered why Mittal of Mittal Steel has not given up his Indian nationality. I have a feeling that an emotional attachment exits and a passport can give one that feeling, and a passport and nationality. Well, I guess I am talking from the point of view of myself…because I can never be anything but Indian. In every single way, including passport!

    Raj, I think Prax misunderstood your comment. Be cool.

    Christine, true what you said, this a complex issue and each individual will have his own reasons for wanting dual citizenship and its great that America allows a citizen to choose.

  20. Ravi permalink
    May 27, 2008 7:56 am

    Dual citizenship should be considered for implementation in the current scenario of booming indian economy. Suppose an indian kid born in US has its citizenship if his/her parents move to india forever if India allows to retain his US citizenship then when he grows up he can go to a US university finish his higher education then come back to help this country with his intellectual abilities by which he can make a living in india while gaining skills from a foreign university.

  21. May 27, 2008 10:49 am

    I’m cool, Nita 🙂

    I feel irritated to hear that people are either struggling to find a decent place to stay because of soaring rents or struggling to buy a flat/house after years of hard work and toil because of rapidly escalating property prices. It benefits the politicians and other shady characters as the property market is where they park all their black money.

    Food, clothing and shelter are the three most basic necessities of human beings. The governments of my state used to build affordable housing for people belonging to different strata of society in the urban areas. They don’t do it any longer 😦 And the private builders have stopped building homes for ordinary people in the suburbs but build “luxury” dwellings as there is a demand for them and also to recover the costs of soaring construction materials. It is a vicious cycle in a “free market capitalist” economy 😡

    As I mentioned, I am not against NRIs as they should be allowed to contribute to their country of origin if they want to. But they should give up their foreign citizenship. Otherwise ordinary working class and lower middle class people tend to view them as “foreigners” who are pushing them out of their homes. This leads to deep resentment and animosity between the classes which is not a healthy sign at all. Some time ago, there were protests by ordinary people in the suburbs of my city against what they called “foreigners” taking away their land. If someone does not want to see this reality, then it is not my problem.

  22. May 27, 2008 12:21 pm

    #if I am not mistaken, Pak and BD don’t allow it either. Also, there are security concerns.#

    apply logic to it yourself… the PIO card would be issued to same level of scrutiny which multiple entry VISA has.. so it is as big a risk as issuing a regular VISA.. which india already does.

    about the issue of reciprocation, well somebody has to start for others to reciprocate.. pehle aap pehle aap meigh to train nikal jayegi.

  23. May 27, 2008 12:22 pm

    To my knowledge, I would encourage the fact that there should be only one country for the whole world and all should be citizen of it that is Something like the concept in European countries where they are freed to move anywhere within the region.

    How nice if we have entire human race under a country called Earth without any distinguish of caste or creed?

  24. May 27, 2008 12:27 pm

    nita , i understand about the attachment – that person is a very close relative who could get eu citizenship 3 yrs+ back but held on – tell me which aam indian nri would? that person had held on , even if it meant rude desi clerk staff with poor english skills, torture at the long embassy lines for visa, where half of the people did not understand how to fill up the form
    heck i took an hr to convince that person to give up indian citizenship , and tell that person a middle class vote seldom counts and for all practical purposes ur still indian so why worry?
    plus mr big man mittal has half the labor govt of uk in his pocket and the entire political lot over here so visas etc are no problem for him

    raj i understand the pain , and know that u dont hate nris
    and, but the communist style economics that u profess to is failing this nation and ruining the economy and i am a realist while u r egalitarian.

    secondly the phenomenon of nris buying up property in india cannot be avoided as the logic is simple have money will buy , tell me how do our politicians including communists live ? rather like the kings in plush govt bungalows
    this is necessary evil of free flow of dollars or foreign currency into india, and if not legally it will happen illegally via hawala channels that the politicians dont want shut for obvious reasons.

    foreign exchange reserves and dollars are necessary for an economy with massive debt and debt servicing needs when the govt finances mega loans that are poorly planned and implemented like NREGS and FARM Loan waiver .. LOANS that it cannot afford to take in the first place

    Ur solutions are too simple to be real or viable at a macro level, ur a good person and i know that too and i sincerely hope my amusement doesn’t offend u

  25. May 27, 2008 12:29 pm

    It is a vicious cycle in a “free market capitalist”
    no raj it is the cycle in a control freak raj of ours
    where the agri land is controlled the fsi is controlled and to build a building u need permissions from 50 odd depts which takes either a lot of time or money or usually both
    and like it or not the chinese are bigger “free market capitalist” than our bunch

  26. May 27, 2008 12:39 pm

    ankur pios and ocis also pay lots of taxes here remember that
    so this is like a tiny fig leaf so they come and invest in this economy

    and stop ranting about pak and bangladesh- both hostile nations
    with all the regulation there is a robust isi network here i shudder to think of the situation when they get pio cards

  27. May 27, 2008 12:48 pm


    It is obvious that you have not read my views about the People’s Republic of China. Read them before you write something like your previous comment!

    I hate the Chinese system becayse it is a “free market capitalist” economy run by the Communists!

    I don’t like communism but I absolutely hate “free market capitalism” 👿 Feudalism and “free market capitalism” are bags of filthy shit!

  28. May 27, 2008 1:07 pm


    I am not offended by your amusement. Actually, I am amused that you have not heard of something called social democracy. Your “free market capitalist” books are only going to talk of “free market capitalism” and communism. The harebrained authors who advocate “free market capitalism” are so idiotic that they know nothing apart from those two concepts!

  29. vivek mittal permalink
    May 27, 2008 1:24 pm

    There is no country on earth today, which can be termed as trualy socialist……..Only USSR had been once prabably……..sometimes i feel the communist parties of our country are the only true socialists left on earth:) ……they always make hue & cry about Disinvestments, always try to halt growing relations between india and US, and tend to support China….but they should know that China is no more a socialist country (and if it had been so in the past then i dont know)

  30. May 27, 2008 1:25 pm

    social democracy
    does the country or politicians have that kind of will or money?
    and worse sd in this corrupt country will require mammoth resources

    Germany has tried it and is failing as the middle classes are suffering its burden , i experience it second hand , in the end it is veering towards communism

    i said before ur egalitarian and im realistic lets stop at that .

  31. May 27, 2008 1:29 pm

    vivek at the rate the govt is burning through psus with the subsidy burden soon there wont be many left for disinvestment

  32. May 27, 2008 1:54 pm


    Yes, I am an egalitarian, an idealist, a dreamer! I give a damn about the reality!

    There is homelessness in your beloved “free market capitalist” economy, information which you can find in the wiki.

    The scum corporations who control the economy and politics of the U.S.A. don’t care about human beings. I give a damn about them!

    Whether you like it or not, transplanting a filthy “free market capitalist” economy into India will lead to the Maoists taking over the country by force! If that is what you “free market capitalists” want, that is what you will get!

  33. May 27, 2008 2:04 pm


    :)) this is probably one of those several topics where we both can argue endlessly. so lets end it here.

  34. Ravi permalink
    May 27, 2008 2:04 pm


    Your idea was ideal. LOL I wish we have a united india with no differences out of caste, religion and region then we can think of one world.

  35. jehangir permalink
    May 27, 2008 7:54 pm

    the fact that a person has more than one country’s passport does not make that person of divided loyalities, just as the person who holds the passport of only one country does not automatically make him loyal to that country.
    passports are pieces of paper ,loyalties are established by genes and circumstances , excessive loyality is jingoism and leads to stupid debates like my country is better than yours. now the only screw up would be if the person held two nationalities and those two countries went to war what would he do ? more than likely if such a person had a spine he would wake up and denounce the country that he does not feel loyal to. the mathematical possibility of this happening between India and USA is close to zilch so the BJP’s resistence to a dual citizenship is ridiculous. on the other hand if the PIO cards lets you do what you want to other than vote and travel to restricted areas and get a government job , i think it is as good as a dual citizenship . if you really wanted to sneak around in Mizoram and get the job as the deputy director of lucknow electricity corporation , and you wanted to vote in lucknow then you should bloody well give up your US citizenship , you can’t send money to Obama and vote for Mayawati !

  36. May 27, 2008 8:41 pm

    Nita, thanks for this post. I enjoyed reading it and also the comments. Seems to me that the purpose of dual citizenship is to make travel and business easier so that both countries can benefit, though the issue is complex.

  37. May 27, 2008 10:48 pm

    Jehangir, thanks for that very incisive comment. 🙂

    Amit, you are welcome!

  38. May 28, 2008 2:09 am

    nita where did my links go
    did u take them off and have u got a no link in comment policy?

    Prax, I think you did not check your mail. I have a no links that are unrelated to the post in my comments policy and I think you are aware of that. – Nita.

  39. May 28, 2008 12:36 pm

    Nita, great post, as usual, and very informative 🙂 So is the discussion here.

    As an Indian living abroad (for now, at least) with parents and family back home, I feel Raj’s pain and anger, but I also agree with Prax — India’s economy was on the verge of collapse when the late PM Rao brought in Manmohan Singh to yank it out of disaster by opening it up.

    I personally don’t see the immediate need for a dual citizenship, at least for India: something like a PIO or a Green Card that gives you all other rights except voting is good enough to meet the demands of globalization.

    Raj, there are two ways of looking at it — glass half-full or half-empty. Sure, rents and real estate prices have gone up, and many people there are suffering (believe me, so are we).

    But how many people of the previous generation were able to afford a house/real estate anyway?
    Thanks to the new economic order, so many young men and women (and they are not all NRIs. Many of them are, as you mentioned for the rich IT and finance sectors) are actually able to afford their own homes !

    And as for real estate prices, Mumbai has been bad always, thanks to Bollywood. So, inflation will hit any society where people are making money — lots of it, I mean.

    I agree that progress is lopsided in India. We need to focus and develop other areas as well. We need social services like childcare and senior citizen services immediately. More importantly, we need more focus on agriculture and education. That will happen over time if we keep at it.
    Responsible capitalism may not be such a bad thing 🙂


    Snigdha, thanks. The response to this post has been slow, but overall good. Thanks for adding your valuable comment to it! You are right, one should jsut stick to one citizenship and get the benefits via a green card or a pio or whatever! And as for our economy, I am so glad I am living today…when I was a teenager I dreamt of a time when we would be developed and I prayed I would be around when it happened! So much potential in India was being wasted because of the wrong policies of the government, and I am glad that today I am seeing people reach to their potential. I have never been so proud to be an Indian as I am today. 🙂 – Nita.

  40. May 28, 2008 1:52 pm

    #I have a no links that are unrelated to the post in my comments policy and I think you are aware of that.#

    :)) Prax just got censored, moderated and jettisoned. Now I am curious what exactly did he post. 😉

    As you know he and Raj were discussing capitalism and the links were related to that. Well, I censored Raj’s links too. 🙂 Relax guys! 🙂 – Nita

  41. May 28, 2008 3:06 pm

    I think I’ll have to take up a course in English literature as for some unknown reason, my comments are not seen in the way I want them to be seen 😐


    Thanks a lot for looking at my comments from a neutral perspective and for advocating reponsible capitalism!

    But it is not exactly my pain and anger. I have presented here what I heard from my friends belonging to the working class. I don’t look at people in terms of class, so I guess you have interpreted it as my pain and anger. I do not have any anger against any person on Earth. All my anger is directed at the concepts that lead to suffering in this world.

    I am not against NRIs. I have NRI relatives and friends as well. I am aware of the suffering that you undergo when you are separated from your home, your family and homeland. But I do not like the concept of dual citizenship for the simple reason that a small number of dual citizens would have an advantage over millions of people who have a single citizenship in both the home country as well as the host country. I just want people to be citizens of only one country at any point of time. There may be exceptions. For instance, people born in Northern Ireland are citizens of both the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland by birth.

    I don’t know about real estate prices in Mumbai. But in Chennai, because of the horizontal spread of the city with self-contained suburbs on all sides, there was not much of a problem till recently. It was also because the state governments took an interest in building homes in the city and the suburbs till they gave up the practice.

    I agree that it is a good sign to see people being able to afford their own homes at a younger age. And believe me, I think Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh did a good thing by opening up the economy when it was on the verge of collapse.

    I actually have full faith in Manmohan Singh. He is a very intelligent and shrewd man. He did not follow the advice of criminal organisations like the IMF and the World Bank and yank open the economy all at once, but did it in a gradual way. If it was yanked open all at once according to the advice of those criminal organisations, the economy would have collapsed like those in Latin America and Indian companies would have been wiped out by the multinationals. It is because of him that Indian companies are where they are today.

    But those who took advantage of his policies then do not want their fellow citizens to take advantage of them now. For instance, if you notice, Manmohan is praised by the “mainstream media” if he is says something pro-industry but is bashed by the same “mainstream media” if he talks about loan waivers for farmers or breaking cartels to control prices. It is these despicable double standards in people that I do not like.

  42. May 28, 2008 6:42 pm

    I’m a pio, and thank god for that, saves a whole lot of trouble.

    As per dual citn.ship.: I’d say no borders at all and one world passport instead. Not going to happen in like a gazilion years but a silly gal like me can dream right.

    World passport…I guess we all need to dream huh! 🙂 – Nita.

  43. May 28, 2008 11:25 pm

    I have Canadian, might soon get American as well …….. would love to have dual 🙂 for the pros that you did aptly mention. 🙂 another fabulously detailed writing.

  44. May 29, 2008 2:46 am

    #World passport…I guess we all need to dream huh! 🙂 – Nita.#
    “Till World War I, passports weren’t quite required…….. “

  45. May 29, 2008 2:47 am

    Nita, Amen to that. India is a unique country, like none other in the world. I love it to death, which is why I criticize it a lot –tough love, you know 😉

    Purnima, I share that dream, too 🙂 John Lennon “imagined” it as well long before the “dual citizenship” debate erupted. Once you start traveling the world, you begin to see how similar we are as human beings, and how most “differences” are actually superficial, based on ignorance, and, unfortunately, overplayed. But given the nature of human beings to want to be “different”, and the state of current world politics, well, that dream’s going to take a while to materialize 🙂

    Raj dear, no no, don’t be so hard on yourself. Your English is just fine :D. I understand it’s not “your” pain. The “you” is used here as a manner of speech, that’s all.
    I have heard those complaints about Chennai as well.
    These are pangs of growth. Hopefully, we’ll be able to correct them.

    And about the mainstream media, yes, I have noticed that business journalism is very ra-ra most of the time. It’s not very different here. But there are plenty of publications, so feel free to support the ones you find are more realistic. And thank God for the Internet, you can actually publish and discuss your views freely 😀
    So go for it! But do keep an open mind.

  46. May 29, 2008 2:52 am
    so basically since passport was not an essential document for travel, and essentially our grand parents had world passport

  47. Vikingquest permalink
    June 4, 2008 10:11 pm

    Hi there!

    Love the fact that you present a lucid and personal account on so many contentious issues. And maybe thats the reason your articles are heavily accented with ‘intensifiers’. I am a queen of exaggeration – especially when it comes to opinions, and often berate myself for it as the need to amplify every response/opinion/thought ten-fold tends to colour how I actually feel! Was surprised to see a journalist err on the same front!

    Thanks for your thoughts though.

    We Indians are a peculiar breed! A strange species.

    That’s why this journalist has a blog. 😉 – Nita.

  48. June 11, 2008 7:57 am

    Indian republic itself is a country of countries. What do a guy in Maharashtra have in common with that in Tamil Nadu apart from geographical continuity? The race, language, food, clothes – everything is different. Hinduism is a blanket religion and arguing about a common religion doesn’t have merit either. We have already seen tensions and questioning of “loyalty” of bhaiyaas towards Maharashtra. Given this scheme, if a government is denying dual citizenship because it is worrying about ‘loyalty’, then I can only laugh about its myopic outlook.

    While it might be risky to grant citizenship to someone who has never had Indian citizenship before, the logic denying the same to erstwhile Indian passport holders puzzles me.

  49. Sammy permalink
    July 10, 2009 3:28 am

    Here is my situation,

    I am Indian born, but now Canadian citizen. Now, I am married to US citizen and soon get US green card and then US citizenship. My question is, can I have OCI with dual citizenship between US and Canada? Also, should I get OCI right now (with Canadian passport) or wait till i get US passport?

    Sammy this is certainly a tricky question, which only an embassy person will be able to answer. – Nita

    • Sammy permalink
      July 18, 2009 1:39 am

      I didn’t get any reply on my questions from the Toronto Consulate General of India. So, I decided to get my OCI with Canadian passport anyways. I asked the same questions to the person accepting application. She told me, yes I can have both US and Canadian citizenship with OCI, because OCI is not a form of dual citizenship. Also, I will be able to transfer my OCI with US passport under OCI miscellaneous service. following is the criteria (#1 is for my situation).

      This service can be availed for re-issuance/issuance of duplicate OCI documents in the following category of cases:
      1. In case of issuance of new foreign passport
      2. In case of change of personal particulars viz. nationality etc., or filling of wrong personal particulars while submitting online application viz. name, father?s name, date of birth etc.
      3. In case of loss/damage of OCI registration certificate/visa
      4. In case of change of address/occupation

      More info:

  50. jay doshi permalink
    August 5, 2009 11:34 pm

    What will be the income tax implications being having dual citizenship? Do you have to pay on income you get from usa or canada in india?

  51. BharatPremi permalink
    September 8, 2009 6:01 am

    Why true Indian can not take US citizenship?

    Oath: The oath of allegiance while taking US citizenship is:

    “I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”

    Are you ready to renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to India ?

    If your answer is “Yes” then do not pretend that you are an Indian. Your soul was never / is not and will not be loyal to India. So it is good that you “bought” citizenship of USA and do not complain that India is not granting dual citizenship.

    If your answer is “No” then there is no need to discuss “dual” citizenship.

    Why true Indian can not take Canadian citizenship?
    Oath: The oath of allegiance while taking US citizenship is:

    “ I swear (or affirm) that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada and fulfill my duties as a Canadian citizen.

    How can a true Indian take a oath to bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada whose country has robbed India for 250 years.

    If you are taking citizenship of Canada do not ever pretend that you are an Indian. For us, It is good ridden.

    British Oath is also similar to Canadian Oath, and hence on similar ground true Indian should not take british citizenship.

  52. EMC3 permalink
    September 19, 2009 3:39 am

    Was checking about Dual Citizenship and happened to drop by. I think it’s not a good idea because it will be another platform to start East India Company again albeit by Indians this time but with no loyalty to India.

  53. Arjun permalink
    October 29, 2009 6:54 pm

    I am a Sri Lankan married to Indian and we both holding Canadian citizenship. Can i eligible for OIC. ? I have doubt what is the real use of OIC. Can my children get OIC? Can they move to India in future. Any one please clarify my doubt.

    • October 29, 2009 7:10 pm

      Arjun, I am not an expert on this but I don’t see how you can get Indian citizenship if you are Sri Lankan. Unless you wife has retained her indian citizenship. If she has then you can apply I think. Please go to the Indian embassy to clarify your doubts.

    • February 23, 2010 1:28 pm

      Hi Arjun,

      Please check out this document

  54. Meg Andersen permalink
    November 11, 2009 11:09 am

    You are wrong about the Philippines not allowing dual citizenship. Yes, they do.

    You are right Meg. There was an error on my part. For eg, articles such as these were confusing. Thanks. – Nita.

  55. Lorly permalink
    September 26, 2010 1:16 am

    Philippines allow the dual citizenship now.

  56. phx_tam permalink
    July 12, 2011 3:50 am

    India should change its policy. This will allow more NRI/ PIO/ OCI to get invest in INDIA. Most of us (indians) will migrate to foreign countries only for better life. Basic infrastructure is much better in US/UK/Canada. And less traffic. We will always have to go back one day and retire, after earning sufficient. Now, getting a citizenship in Canada or US will take years. People who have strong ties in India and still want to use benefits/work in US/Canada/Australia will be benefited most, when India allow dual citizenship.

    Indian govt should allow its citizens to enjoy benefits..It is afterall for betterment of Indian citizens.

  57. Rahman permalink
    September 11, 2011 5:29 pm

    Dual Citizenship is a bad policy it has a very bad impacts for the country. Due to dual citizen people lose their patriotism for his mother land. They came to country and disobey local law and social bond, because they come to mother land for a few days only and they back to foreign country after finish their holidays. We Bangladeshi people also wants to cancel dual citizenship for Bangladesh.

  58. Deepika permalink
    January 30, 2013 12:41 am

    I hope we could lobby for dual citizenship for India at least for some selected countries like US.

  59. Jumeirah permalink
    October 28, 2013 3:23 pm

    The world is getting smaller day by day connecting people like we could never imagine. Dual citizenship is a must. For the ones who think about patriotism and nationalism live in the Stone Age. One of the reasons Europe moved to a Union 3 decades ago was exactly because they feared of nationalism which leads to extremism and escalates to wars. They learnt from their past mistakes.
    The only reason India is reluctant of dual citizenship is because of security issues. Which even I feel is a concern, but it can be dealt with putting strict regulations and rules while applying for citizenship. India concern should not be the NRI but the millions of illegal Bangladeshi who live in India and of Chinese border expansion. Lots say that the OCI scheme is a testing ground at India Central Govt before it gets converted to a full for of dual citizenship.
    End of the day if you are born in India with roots from that place then citizenship is a birth right and not some privilege. We definitely will see India move to Dual citizenship in a decade. Irony is that even Pakistan allows dual citizenship. 

  60. Gerald Watanabe permalink
    January 1, 2017 6:06 am

    Japan is another country that will never allow it. If anything discussions are underway for the ministry of Justice to enforce the choice of dual nationality that was previously relaxed. This is due to the Leader of the Opposition Renho Hseih-Murata who is a dual citizen with Taiwan and Japan. She hid her dual citizenship and capitalized on a loophole to retain dual citizenship when she isn’t technically eligible. Now politically the movement to straighten this is underway. Some districts are requiring visitors to scan passport details to mail to Japanese customs. Any overseas Japanese visiting who have a foreign passport will now need to have that reported to the Ministry of Justice and to the ward where their Family Register (Honsekichi) is.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: