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Uncertainty for Goans who obtained Portuguese citizenship as MEA modifies OCI eligibility memo: Report

Uncertainty persists for Goans whose Indian passports were revoked after they obtained Portuguese citizenship, with an MEA circular initially hinting at OCI application alternatives but later revisions causing anxiety.
Last Updated : 11 May 2024, 13:25 IST
Last Updated : 11 May 2024, 13:25 IST

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A report published in The Indian Express on Saturday took note of some recent developments that have caused uncertainty for people from former Portuguese territories in India (Goa, Daman and Diu), particularly Goa, whose Indian passports were revoked after acquiring Portuguese citizenship.

The report notes that a circular issued by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had initially raised hopes by suggesting that a 'revocation order' could serve as an alternative document for applying for an Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) card, in place of the previously required 'surrender certificate'. However, a subsequent revision published by the MEA, dated April 30, introduced uncertainty by stating that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is still "considering" accepting the revocation certificate as an alternative document.

The report notes that this uncertainty has increased the anxiety among some Goans, especially considering the backdrop of a previous memorandum issued by the MEA in November 2022, instructing authorities to revoke the passports of those who allegedly "withheld information" about their Portuguese citizenship, instead of issuing surrender certificates. As a result, many found themselves ineligible to obtain OCI cards.

Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant revealed in a recent Assembly session that over the past five years, approximately 10,129 Indian passports have been surrendered by those who obtained Portuguese citizenship. Additionally, the Goa Bench of the Bombay High Court, while adjudicating on two petitions, referenced the April 4 memorandum and directed the authorities to process applications for OCI registration "in accordance with the law".

Speaking with the publication, Kennedy Afonso, the convener of Goans for Goa, a citizens' collective advocating for resolution, expressed the community's frustration with the ongoing uncertainty.

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Published 11 May 2024, 13:25 IST

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