Michael Phulwani is a prominent attorney admitted to practice law in New York, New Jersey and India. He practices immigration and nationality laws and visa matters in the USA and abroad. He is a frequent lecturer on immigration laws and co-hosts several TV and radio programs on immigration. In this column, Phulwani will discuss frequent problems relating to immigration legislation and answer questions from our readers. All questions should be forwarded to Michael Phulwani, 888 Maywood Avenue, Maywood, NJ 07607.
By Michael Phulwani
As we continued to get conflicting information on cancellation of Indian Passports, Certificate of Renunciation of Indian citizenship, and visitor and transit visa, we sent a list of questions to various Indian Consulates in the US for further clarifications in this matter. Ambassador Prabhu Dayal of the Indian Consulate in New York responded to our questions. In the previous article, we provided some of the questions & answers. This is the concluding part of this article, wherein we are providing the remaining questions & responses pertaining to this subject.
Please confirm whether the fallowing information is correct and if not, please provide correct information:
Persons of Indian Origin, who acquired US citizenship after June 1, 2010 and wishes to apply for OCI or visitor/entry visa. We believe they need to get their Indian Passport cancelled. Do they also have to get Renunciation of Indian Citizenship? Is there a time limit within which after acquiring US citizenship, the person must apply for cancellation of Indian passport and renunciation certificate? If there is a time limit and the action is not taken within such time limit, is there any penalty for the same? If so what?
Yes. They would have to apply for PIO/OCI/Visa along with a copy of surrender certificate. Indian Passports should be surrendered as soon as possible once the foreign nationality is acquired. To avoid penalties, the Indian Passport should not be used for travel after 90 days of acquiring foreign nationality and must not be retained beyond three years after acquiring citizenship (penalties are levied only on passports, which are valid beyond January 1, 2005).
Are the Immigration Officials in India at the port of entry knowledgeable about the information relating to cancellation of Indian passports, etc? What if US citizen of Indian Origin in possession of PIO /OCI or valid visa is subjected to harassment? Is there any written notification issued by the government of India on these issues that can be presented to concerned Indian Immigration officials to satisfy them?
Please be informed that there is no mandatory requirement for Persons of Indian Origin to carry their surrender certificates or cancelled Indian passports while travelling to India. However, if the Indian immigration authorities find Persons of Indian Origin entering into India in possession of valid and non-cancelled Indian passports, they will seize such passports.
Is your consulate Web site updated, providing all relevant information on this subject?
Yes, it is updated and you will find all the information related to Surrender Certificate on the home page of our Web site www.indiacgny.org
Does your post respond to e-mails and telephone enquires on this subject in a timely manner. What is the response time?
Yes. We make all efforts to respond to e-mails/phone calls on a timely manner.