Government of India Advisory on Procedures For Surrender Of Indian Passports

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Government of India Advisory on Procedures For Surrender Of Indian Passports

Government of India Advisory on Procedures For Surrender Of Indian Passports

   The Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO International) acknowledges with gratitude the substantial achievement realized with remarkably quick action when the government of India issued a clarification on June 1, 2010 “that PIOs will not be asked to pay any renunciation charges”.

There still remained valid issues that needed prompt remedial action by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) and the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). For this reason, GOPIO had continued its appeal to the Government of India on behalf of the global Indian community in pursuit of fairness and equitable treatment of those Indians who have become citizens of other countries. These concerns include lost, misplaced or missing passports, substantiation documents, surrender forms, fees and cut-off dates. GOPIO has brought these concerns to the attention of Hon. Vayalar Ravi, Minister of MOIA.

We are pleased to announce that the following communiqué from Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) has substantially resolved the matter and eased the burden previously placed on Indians who acquired citizenship of other countries.

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Part of Communiqué from Secretary, Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA)

Dear Overseas Indian,

    This Ministry received a large number of representations from PIOs, particularly in the U.S.A., protesting the recent circulars hosted on the websites of our Missions in the US regarding the levy of registration charges for ‘declaration of renunciation of Indian Citizenship’ and the imposition of penalties for delayed surrender or non-surrender of Indian passports last held by them. Some of these representations and petitions were also addressed to the Hon’ble Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs, as also the Hon’ble Prime Minister.

2. I write this to inform you that in appreciation of the sentiments expressed in many of these representations and petitions, I had taken up the issues raised therein with the Ministry of Home Affairs (which administers the Citizenship Act and the Rules made thereunder, which provide for the levy of a fee of Rs.7000/- for registration of a declaration of renunciation of Indian citizenship by a PIO) and the Ministry of External Affairs (which administers the Passport Act and Rules, which provide for penalties for delayed surrender or non-surrender of Indian passports last held by PIOs, as also their misuse).

3. I am glad to report that following my demarche interventions MHA had issued a circular communication on 01.06.2010, clarifying that the fee of Rs.7000/- for registration of a ‘declaration of renunciation of Indian citizenship’ will only be charged from PIOs, who intend to acquire foreign nationality/citizenship in future and those who have already acquired such foreign citizenship in the past, will, by virtue of Section 9 of the Citizenship Act, 1955, cease to be Indian citizens forthwith, upon such acquisition of foreign citizenship and they will not be required to make such a ‘declaration of renunciation of Indian citizenship’.

4. As regards the surrender of Indian passports last held by such PIOs, it has been clarified by MEA vide their circular letter dated 03.05.2010 [para 2(viii)] that there would be no need to surrender a passport which expired before 2005.

5. I trust with these clarifications issued by MHA and MEA, the grievance expressed by you PIOs, stands redressed.

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Earlier GOPIO had sent a letter to Minsiter Vayalar Ravi on the remaining issues of Indian Passport Surrender, parts of which are reproduced below:

However, there are still valid issues that need prompt remedial action by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs and the Ministry of External Affairs. These concerns include the following which need to be addressed in a timely and equitable manner:

1. A large majority of the people of Indian Origin who have become citizens of other countries did not have any use for their old Indian passports and may have lost, misplaced or never kept in their possession after acquiring citizenship of other countries. Those who still have their passports have no problem in surrendering their old passports to obtain Surrender Certificate. But those who do not have their passports with them are required to furnish certified copies of the following documents:

1. Details of last held Indian passport (Passport No., Date of Issue & Place of issue). The onus of providing details rest on the applicant.

2. Official documents submitted to authorities of new country at the time of obtaining citizenship/naturalization & documents used for entry such as US Form I -130.

3. Notarized letter explaining reasons for loss.

4. Police report.

The production of items 1 and 2 above will not be easy and could take months to obtain from the local or regional immigration authorities.