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Number Of Gujaratis Renouncing Citizenship Doubled In One Year

| Updated: July 11, 2024 11:19

The number of Gujaratis renouncing their citizenship almost doubled in 2023. According to the data 485 passports were surrendered in 2023, double the 241 renounced in 2022. By early May 2024, this number had already reached 244.

This reflects a rising trend among Gujaratis, with 1,187 people renouncing their Indian citizenship since Jan 2021.

Data from the Regional Passport Office, which handles Gujarat state – barring the south Gujarat region including Surat, Navsari, Valsad and Narmada – shows a significant increase in Gujaratis renouncing their Indian passports.

Officials noted that most of the passports surrendered were from individuals aged 30-45, most of whom were settled in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. Parliamentary data backs this trend, showing that 22,300 people from Gujarat renounced their citizenship between 2014 and 2022. This places Gujarat third in the country, following Delhi with 60,414 renunciations and Punjab with 28,117.

The uptick in passport surrenders post-Covid is notable. Abhijit Shukla, the regional passport officer in Ahmedabad, explained that reopening embassies and resumption of citizenship processes after two years of pandemic restrictions have played a significant role in this increase.

A senior officer noted that many young people go abroad for studies and eventually settle there. The rising number of such students contributes to the increase in passport surrenders.

Investor visa consultant Lalit Advani highlights the growing preference for investor visas. He said that many businessmen are moving abroad for better infrastructure and quality of life. Even those with high living standards in India want to move due to issues like lack of green spaces and poor driving conditions. Cities in Gujarat, including Ahmedabad, are not pedestrian-friendly.

Ritesh Desai, a passport consultant, said there are three main categories of visas: student, direct immigration and business.

Since 2012, there’s been a spike in people wanting to go abroad, particularly after 2013-2014. I expect the number of passport surrenders to increase significantly by 2028 as more people who have moved abroad now obtain their foreign citizenship,” Desai explained.

He said that the number of people applying for business visas is very limited as each country has a quota for such visas. A friend of mine applied for an EB5 visa in 2018, showing an investment of over Rs 4 crore. After nearly six years, he is still in the queue for citizenship. Only those with significant surplus funds tend to apply for business visas.

A surrender certificate is issued to those renouncing Indian citizenship and acquiring foreign nationality. According to the Passports Act 1967, Indian passport holders must surrender their passports after acquiring foreign nationality. If done within three years, there is no penalty. However, fines ranging from Rs 10,000 to Rs 50,000 can be imposed after three years.

Also Read: Towards Malaria-Free Gujarat By 2027: Challenges Remain

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