Over 1.6 lakh Indians gave up citizenship in 2021, highest figure in past 5 years

Out of the 1.6 lakh, 78,284 Indians took citizenship in the USA, 23,533 in Australia; 21,597 in Canada; and 14,637 in the UK in 2021.

India witnessed a significant jump in the number of citizens who gave up their citizenship in 2021, with over 1.63 Indians relinquishing their passports to settle in the US, Australia, Canada and the UK among the top choices. This is the highest figure in the past 5 years, and almost double the figure for 2020 wherein only almost 85,000 Indians gave up their citizenship.

This was revealed in information shared by Union minister of state (MoS) of Home Affairs Nityanand Rai as a reply to Haji Fazlur Rehman, a Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MP in the Lok Sabha who had sought details about the number of Indian nationals who relinquished their citizenship till date starting 2019, the reasons cited for the move, and the countries where they received citizenship.

US, Australia, Canada, UK top choices among Indians who relinquished passports

Out of the 1.6 lakh Indians who gave up their citizenship, a maximum of 78,284 Indians received citizenship in the USA followed by 23,533 who took citizenship in Australia; 21,597 in Canada; and 14,637 in the UK in 2021. Some other countries of choice were Italy (5,986), Netherlands (2187), New Zealand (2643), Singapore (2516), Pakistan (41) and Nepal (10).

This figure for 2021 happens to be the highest recorded in the past 5 years wherein the numbers for the years 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 stood at 1,33,049, 1,34,561, 1,44,017 and 85,248 respectively.

When asked about the reasons given by these persons for renouncing Indian citizenship, Nityanand Rai said “individuals renounced Indian citizenship for reasons personal to them”.

It is not uncommon for Indians to move abroad for study or work, or in search of better standards of living, however, if they are looking to get citizenship in other countries, Indians must relinquish their Indian passports since India as of yet does not offer dual citizenship.

The majority of the Indians who give up their passports do it for the privileges that they get from the high-index passports of other countries. India stands at the 85th number on the passport power rank according to the Henley’s and Partners’ passport index. 

Comparing India’s ranking with other countries – the rank of France is 4th, of Australia and Canada are the 7th and USA and the UK stand at 6th. At the top are Japan and Singapore on number 1 and Germany and South Korea on number 2. 

This index is the standard reference tool for global citizens and sovereign states when assessing where a passport ranks on the global mobility spectrum. The higher the passport index ranking, the better access they get to travel visa-free to other countries.  They are also exempted from bureaucratic delays in the immigration process which is beneficial for traders and businessmen. 

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