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Over 6 lakh Indians gave up citizenship in last 5 years, says MHA. but why? How?

Why are people surrendering the Indian passport? | Stock Photo

Replying in the parliament on the behalf of Ministry of Home Affairs, Minister of State, Nityanand Rai said that over 6 lakh people gave up their Indian citizenship in the last 5 years. Let's take a look at the statistics and reasons.

Over six lakh Indians have given up their citizenship in the past five years, Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai informed the Lok Sabha on Tuesday. This data was supported the information available with the Ministry of External Affairs.

He was responding to a question and submitted a written reply as well. According to the data, the following is the number of people who gave up their citizenship each year since 2017. The data for 2021, this year, was only available till September 10. 


Number of people who gave up Indian citizenship









2021(Up till Sept 10)


This shows that 1,33,049 Indians gave up Indian citizenship in 2017, 1,34,561 in 2018, 1,44,017 in 2019, 85,248 in 2020 and 1,11,287 till September 30, 2021.

According to the data, the highest number of people gave up their Indian citizenship in 2019, whereas the lowest did in 2020. The latter's low rate can be attributed to the Covid-19 pandemic. 2021 saw the steepest spike in Indians giving up their citizenship as worldwide travel and outdoor restrictions started to ease.

About 40% of the citizenship renunciation requests come from the United States, followed by Australia and Canada, which amount to a chunk of around 30% of such requests.

What are the rules around citizenship in India?

Under The Indian Citizenship Act, 1955, Persons of Indian Origin are not allowed citizenship of two countries. If a person has ever held an Indian Passport and then obtains the passport of some other country, they will be required to surrender their Indian Passport immediately after they gain nationality of the other country.

After Indians renounce their citizenship, it is necessary for them to apply for surrender or a renunciation certificate.

After that, their passports are stamped, saying "cancelled due to acquiring foreign nationality". It should be noted that Indian passports that carry only a "cancelled stamp" are not considered renounced of their Indian citizenship.

Why do Indians give up their citizenship?

Majority of the Indians do it because of the privileges they get using the passports of other countries.  India stands at the 69th number on the passport power rank according to the world passport index.  When comparing it with other countries - the rank of Australia is 3rd, USA is 5th, Singapore is 6th and Canada is 7th. At the top are UAE on number 1 and New Zealand on number 2. 

The higher the passport index ranking, the better access they get to travel visa-free to many countries.  They are also exempted from bureaucratic delays in the immigration process which is beneficial for traders and businessmen. 

When comparing the number of people giving up their citizenship it with the ones in USA, the numbers are extremely far apart. 2020 saw a record rise of people giving up their US citizenship with 6,705 renunciations that year.