Goa News

MEA: MHA now Accepts Revocation Certificate in lieu of Surrender Certificate

The MEA said the MHA would now accept revocation certificate in lieu of surrender certificate, and instructed passport authorities to mandatorily issue revocation orders.

The Ministry of External Affairs has directed passport authorities to issue a mandatory “revocation order” for individuals from former Portuguese territories in India (such as Goa and Daman & Diu) who had their Indian passports revoked after obtaining Portuguese citizenship. This move aims to provide relief to affected individuals and allow them to potentially apply for Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI).

According to an MEA memorandum dated April 4, the Ministry of Home Affairs will now accept a “revocation certificate” as a valid document for individuals from the aforementioned regions who acquired Portuguese nationality as per the Portuguese Nationality Law, in place of a “surrender certificate”.

Previously, individuals applying for OCI cards were required to present a ‘surrender certificate’ issued by passport-issuing authorities. However, following a memorandum from the MEA on November 30, 2022, passport authorities began revoking the passports of Goans who had obtained Portuguese citizenship. This was due to the individuals allegedly withholding important information about acquiring foreign nationality, leading to the suspension of surrender certificate issuance to such individuals. As a result, they became ineligible to acquire an OCI card.

Nijo Varghese, Regional Passport Officer in Goa, stated that as per the recent office memorandum from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) to all passport issuing authorities, they are now required to issue ‘revocation certificates’ in cases where Indian passports were obtained by withholding important information.

The MEA’s memorandum from April 4 has informed that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) will now accept revocation certificates instead of surrender certificates. Passport authorities have been directed to promptly issue revocation orders as a mandatory practice.

OCI is a residency status that allows individuals of Indian descent from other countries to live and work in India indefinitely.

In accordance with Portuguese legislation, individuals born in Goa prior to December 19, 1961, and their descendants up to two generations have the option to become Portuguese citizens. This privilege grants access to a Portuguese passport, enabling visa-free entry to numerous countries, including the UK and the EU. As a result, many residents of Goa have been recording their births in the Central Registry in Lisbon and obtaining Portuguese citizenship in order to take advantage of employment and educational opportunities abroad.

In the last year, the issue of surrender certificates has become a significant concern for many Goans, as authorities have stopped issuing them, making individuals ineligible for OCI status. This has led to considerable anxiety among residents of the coastal state.

Recently, two individuals from Goa filed petitions in the High Court of Bombay at Goa after their Indian passports were cancelled by the regional passport office in Panaji. The petitioners maintain that they did not withhold any important information and explained that they had updated their Indian passports following their births in Portugal in order to apply for a Portuguese citizenship card and passport.

During the Lok Sabha session in February, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) addressed an inquiry from South Goa MP Francisco Sardinha. The MEA disclosed that the regional passport office (RPO) in Panaji has processed over 2,000 applications for surrender of Indian passports following the acquisition of Portuguese nationality in the past three years. Among these, the RPO has revoked 114 passports.

MEA: MHA would now Accept Revocation Certificate in lieu of Surrender Certificate

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has clarified that the Revocation Certificate will be accepted as a valid document instead of a Surrender Certificate for obtaining an OCI Card, as informed by Chief Minister of Goa Dr. Pramod Sawant. Dr. Sawant expressed gratitude towards the Center for considering the request of the State Government and making this decision, emphasizing that it will greatly benefit numerous Goans and their families.

The MEA issued a memorandum to Passport Authorities both in India and abroad, stating that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has decided to recognize the Revocation Certificate as an alternative to the Surrender Certificate for Indian nationals from former Portuguese territories in India (such as Goa, Daman & Diu) who have acquired Portuguese nationality under the Portuguese Nationality Law and have been issued a Revocation Order by the Regional Passport Offices. This new guideline aims to simplify the process for individuals in this specific category.

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