A leading body NRIs has asked New Delhi to withdraw new rules seeking surrender of Indian passports upon acquisition of US citizenship, saying they impose undue burdens on the Indian American community.
The Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO International) strongly objected to notices posted on the website of consul missions asking Persons of Indian Origin in the US who to surrender their Indian passports within 90 days of their naturalization as US citizens.
It urged the Indian government to reconsider the retroactive enforcement of the new rules as many thousands of people who have acquired citizenship of the United States could suffer undue and unnecessary hardship for no fault of their own.
The surrender certificate is free if the Indian passport expired before January 1, 2005. However, if the Indian Passport expired after January 1, 2005 and were not surrendered within three years of obtaining US citizenship, a service fee of $175 will be charged, provided the Indian passport was not used for travel in which case a penalty would also apply.
A US citizen of Indian origin applying for an Indian visa, OCI/PIO cards or wanting other consular services may not be able to get any such service without complying with the new rules.
Several thousand Indians have obtained US citizenship over the last over 60 years and they have been travelling to India on American passports with Indian visas granted by the same consulates whose websites now have new rules which are applicable retroactively.
If the law did exist in the past, Indian consulates in the USA should have asked for the surrender of Indian passports before granting Indian visas to US citizens of Indian origin, GOPIO said.
Requiring Americans of Indian Origin to surrender their Indian passports after the lapse of many years of their naturalization as US citizens would cause undue hardship and delay in getting consular services, it said, noting a large majority of the new citizens have no use for their old Indian passports and may have lost, misplaced or never kept in their possession after naturalisation as US citizens.