Relief for Goans in Overseas Citizenship of India process

In a significant move, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has directed passport authorities to issue a "revocation order" for individuals from Goa and Daman & Diu, who had their Indian passports revoked after acquiring Portuguese citizenship.

This decision could offer relief to many who were rendered ineligible to apply for Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) due to the previous passport requirements.

The MEA memorandum dated April 4 said, "The Ministry of Home Affairs has decided to accept 'revocation certificate' as an alternative document in lieu of 'surrender certificate' in case of Indian nationals hailing from the erstwhile Portuguese territories in India, who have acquired Portuguese nationality as per Portuguese Nationality Law."

"In view of the above, all PIAs are hereby advised to mandatorily Issue Revocation order, in all such cases wherein instead of issuing Surrender Certificate, PIAs decide to revoke the passport by invoking Section 10 (3) of the Passports Act, 1967," it added.

With the MEA's recent directive, the acceptance of the revocation certificate as an alternative to the surrender certificate is expected to ease the OCI application process for many affected individuals.

The requirement of a 'surrender certificate' had posed challenges for those wanting to apply for OCI cards. After a November 30, 2022 memorandum by the MEA, passports of Goans who acquired Portuguese citizenship were revoked for "suppressing material information" about their foreign nationality. This led to passport authorities ceasing the issuance of surrender certificates, making many ineligible for OCI cards.

"PIAs have revoked passport (instead of issuing surrender certificate) of many Indian national hailing from erstwhile Portuguese territories in India (Goa, Daman & Diu), if the passport in question, was obtained after acquisition of Portuguese nationality/citizenship. Since Surrender Certificate" is one of the mandatory documents for obtaining OCI Card, revocation of passport has rendered them ineligible for obtaining OCI Card," the Ministry of External Affairs has instructed passport authorities in the country.

The Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) card is a passport-like document issued by the Indian government to people of Indian origin who are foreign citizens. The OCI card allows people to register as Overseas Citizens of India if they were citizens of India on January 26, 1950 or later. OCI provides foreign citizens of Indian origin the right to live and work in India indefinitely.

Following the MEA decision, the Goa Chief Minister, Pramod Sawant lauded the announcement and thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister, Amit Shah and External Affairs Minister, S Jaishankar for accepting the request of his government and providing relief to thousands of Goa citizens.

Under Portuguese law, individuals born in Goa before December 19, 1961, and two subsequent generations have the option to register as Portuguese citizens. With a Portuguese passport offering visa-free entry to countries like the UK and EU, many Goans have availed this opportunity for better employment and education prospects overseas.
The issue escalated over the past year as the denial of surrender certificates caused anxiety among Goans.


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