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CAA Exemptions: Easing Naturalization for Specific Groups



  Sep 15, 2023

Citizenship Through Naturalization: A Closer Look at Indian Law and the 2019 Citizenship Amendment


What is citizenship through naturalization?

Definition: Citizenship through naturalization refers to the process by which a foreign national, who is not born in a particular country or is not an automatic citizen by descent, or other means, becomes a citizen of that country through a legal process.

It typically involves fulfilling certain residency requirements, demonstrating a commitment to the country, passing language and civics tests, and complying with other legal conditions set by the host country's immigration and citizenship laws.The conditions can be waived according to the Citizenship Act 1955.
 

How is citizenship through naturalization governed in India?

In India, citizenship and naturalization are governed by the Citizenship Act, 1955. This act has undergone several amendments to modify the criteria and conditions for acquiring Indian citizenship through naturalization.
 

What was the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA), and how did it impact citizenship through naturalization in India?

The CAA introduced significant changes to the eligibility criteria for foreign nationals seeking Indian citizenship through naturalization. It primarily focused on specific religious minorities, including Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians, from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan who entered India on or before December 31, 2014.
 

What changes did the CAA bring to the residency requirement for naturalization?

The CAA reduced the residency requirement for eligible applicants from 11 years to 5 years. Plus,one full year before applying. That is, five plus one= six years inn total.
For clothes it is eleven plus 1=12 years.This means that individuals from the specified categories needed to have resided in India for a minimum of 5 years before applying for citizenship.
 

Did the CAA provide any exemptions for eligible applicants?

Yes, the CAA exempted eligible applicants from certain provisions related to illegal immigration under the Foreigners Act, 1946, and the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920.
 
Amplified:

The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA) introduced exemptions for eligible applicants from certain provisions related to illegal immigration under two key acts: the Foreigners Act, 1946, and the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920.

These exemptions were specific to the categories of individuals covered by the CAA, which included certain religious minorities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.
 
Exemption from the Foreigners Act, 1946:

The CAA provided eligible applicants with an exemption from the provisions of the Foreigners Act, 1946.

This act deals with the entry, presence, and departure of foreigners in India and sets out various rules and regulations governing their stay.

The CAA's exemption allowed eligible individuals to seek Indian citizenship without being subject to the usual provisions related to foreign nationals.
 
Exemption from the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920:

Similarly, the CAA also exempted eligible applicants from the provisions of the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920.

This act primarily deals with the regulation of the entry of persons into India and their departure from India.

The exemption provided by the CAA allowed eligible individuals to apply for citizenship without being bound by the usual requirements of this act.
 
These exemptions were part of the broader changes introduced by the CAA to facilitate the naturalization and grant of Indian citizenship to specific religious minorities who met the eligibility criteria set out in the act.

It aimed to provide a more streamlined path to citizenship for these particular groups.


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