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As India does not allow dual citizenship, on receiving New Zealand Citizenship, Indian nationals must renounce their Indian Citizenship. People renouncing Indian Citizenship may be issued an ‘OCI’ card (Overseas Citizen of India) which gives certain rights similar to those of an Indian citizen.  There are, however some notable differences between rights of Indian Citizens and ‘Overseas Citizens of India’ that you should be aware of before making this decision to become a New Zealand citizen.

Benefits allowed to OCI holders: 

  • Multi-purpose, multiple entries, lifelong visa for visiting India.
  • Exemption from registration with local police authority for any length of stay in India.
  • Parity with NRIs in respect of economic, financial and education fields, except in matters relating to the acquisition of agricultural/plantation properties.
  • Parity with non-resident Indians on inter-country adoption
  • Parity with resident Indian nationals in domestic airfares
  • Parity with Indian nationals in entry fees for national parks and wildlife sanctuaries.
  • Pursuing professions in India in pursuance of the provisions contained in the relevant act. Professions such as: Doctors, Dentists, Nurses, Pharmacists, Advocates, Architects, Chartered Accountants

OCI holder prohibitions:

  • Cannot hold an Indian passport and must travel on their NZ passport. The OCI card becomes your authority to live in India.
  • Have no right to vote in India.
  • Cannot run for political office.
  • Cannot be appointed as a high court/supreme court judge

Purchasing property in India

Potential buyers who are not Indian citizens or OCI card holders but are resident in India may still have the legal right to purchase property (house, apartments etc) in India. However, OCI holders are not entitled to purchase agricultural land in India.

If you are looking to buy land in India best to check that it is not agricultural land. Many Indians do end up buying agricultural lands by getting the land use changed. This is quite common for agricultural lands that are on main roads or near roads. As construction spreads to the outer areas of cities, the price of agricultural land bordering roads is shooting up, especially if the land use can be successfully changed from agricultural to commercial

Repatriation of funds to New Zealand

A Non Resident Indian may repatriate the proceeds from the sale of land property in India in certain circumstances only. For more information on this contact us or the relevant authorities.

Overall, there is no significant disadvantage in renouncing Indian citizenship unless you plan to run for office or run a farm. You should carefully weigh up the pros and cons of this before applying for New Zealand citizenship. For more information contact the team at Immigration Centre.

Until Next time,

Jig Patel                                                                                                                                                               Managing Partner | Immigration Centre

P.S. Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions 0800 111 847