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US Born babies

Discussion in 'India - Visiting, Living in, Moving to or Moving F' started by ashu1174, Sep 10, 2006.

  1. ashu1174

    ashu1174 Registered Users (C)

    Hello Everyone,

    Thanks for such a nice forum. After reading your forums, I understood the terms like NRI, OCI, PIO etc.

    I moved to United States a year ago on H1-B visa. I and my Wife both are Indians and are expecting a baby in March 2007 and we need to make a decision about where to have the baby born (In the USA or in India). We do not plan to stay back or settle down in USA for more than a year or 2 years from now.

    After having gone through some of the threads in this forum, I understand that if the baby is born here in the US, automatically baby becomes US citizen and we need to get a birth certificate, SSN and passport from US administration and a PIO or OCI status from Indian Embassy.

    Following are some of my questions:
    1) What is the difference between PIO and OCI?
    2) Is it possible to apply for PIO or OCI from here in USA? We live in Dallas, Texas. So, where to apply for PIO or OCI?
    3) I remember reading somewhere that if we have a PIO for the baby, we need to visit the comissioner of police (In India) every year to renew the PIO status. Is it true? And, is this not required in case of OCI?
    4) Some of my concerns of having the baby here are:

    - Since we are planning to move back, what will be the cost of education for the child in India? Will it be same as any other child _OR_ will it be more than the normal fees since the child is a citizen of other country and holding a PIO/OCI status.
    - Is it required to renew the US passport or is it valid for life? If we need to renew it, are we required to travel to the USA just for renewing it? _OR_ can we get it done in India itself?
    - Are there any advantages in terms of higher studies for US citizens? _OR_ do they have to go through the regular admission procedure like all the Indian students go through since the student never studied in the USA for 18 years? I heard that the education in the US till high school is free(?), but if the child wants to do higher studies in US, are there any advantages over the Indian students applying for higher studies (like the fees, getting a seat in the university etc)

    There are lot of other concerns, but this is what I could wrap up for now. Please reply. I really appreciate your replies and eagerly waiting for replies.
  2. tamtom

    tamtom Registered Users (C)

    That is only one of the choices.

    Instead of doing that, you can also get the baby a birth certificate ONLY from the US (but NOT a passport), and get it a birth certificate and passport from the Indian Consulate. We had our baby born in the US and did that, and the Indian passport was approved. In that case, a US passport would only come into the picture if the child needs to travel to the US later (because the US still would consider it a US citizen).

    PIO is valid for 15 years and OCI has no expiry date. OCI is more expensive and takes more time to be approved.

    In the Indian Consulate General, Houston (http://www.cgihouston.org/).

    It's not required to "renew" the PIO status until the card expires in 15 years. A one-time police registration is required for PIO's over a certain age. For OCI, it's not required.

    If you get the child an Indian passport and not US one, it will be the same as any other child. If you get the child a US passport and PIO/OCI status, it may pay more than the normal fees in some cases. I don't know the exact details, but note also that if you choose a US passport, it would be difficult for the child to recover Indian citizenship for the next 18 years, and it's hard to predict how the rules for school fees could change over that whole period.

    It is required to renew it, and you can do that in a US consulate in India.

    Since we are talking about 18 years in the future, it does not make sense to go into great detail about this, but it's safe to assume that US citizens will always have advantages in US universities, but Indian citizens will always have advantages in Indian universities. But another point is after the child reaches 18, the person (now an adult) can make another choice of citizenship because at that age, the US allows renunciation of citizenship.

    Hope this helps,

  3. hipka

    hipka Registered Users (C)

    Tamtom suggests a good way to retain indian citizenship and not forgo US citizenship, however there is a certain risk in what he suggests. First of all there is no guarantee that the child will be considered an indian citizen unless he renounces US citizenship formally. As this is not possible for minor childern, it is not clear how an indian court would interpret a dispute in such a case.Clearly the constitution of India unambiguosly says that dual citizenship is not possible under any situation, while we have a situation where a child is a dual citizen, pretty much by the choice of his parents. The one and only point in favor of the child is the fact that US passport was not applied for. Whether this is enough to convince indian courts is doubtful.( Why else would our politicians get rid of their foreign citizenships ?? )
    Have you heard any cases like this being handled in indian courts. Have you talke to an indian attorney on what problems could arise?

    Secondly, he assumes that US law pertaining to default citizenship on birth will stay the same for next 18 years. Maybe in 2-3 years a US law might might be passed where persons born in the US can apply for citizenship only after staying for like 5 years in the country( similar to some european countries ). In such a case the child may be forced to come back to the US to preserve citizenship.

    Surprisingly one of his reasons not to take OCI was the fact that indian laws could change in future, he however does not consider a change in US laws as a possibility.

    That is why I would argue that it is best to take the US citizenship + passport ASAP, as it is not a simple task ( although not impossible ) to strip citizenship once it is given.
  4. hipka

    hipka Registered Users (C)

    Just take OCI, PIO is a relic which will be forgotten.

    Cost of education will be much more if your child studies in india as he/she will be considered an NRI.
    US passport has to be renewed and it can be done at any consulate in india.

    If you child plans to come back to the US for higher studies then he/she will have some advantage over other indians who come to the US but will have some disadvantages compared to US citizens who studied here.
    Advantages over indian students: Will be considered as US citizen for admission, means there are a greater number of seats available. Will also have permission to take up employment anywhere in the US. Will be eligible for many scholarships.
    Disadvantages over locals: He/She will need a better academic record compared to locals, as US high schools have a ranking/grade which US universities use. As your childs high school is not in the US, any unversity here will use other creiteria which are neither clear nor favorable. Your child is not adjusted to social life in the US, so cultural problems are bound to crop up.

    Advantages over locals: Great competitive spirit, much better skills in mathematics, more hard working.

    Yes, public school is free in the US, but quality varies greatly between localities. Private school is good but very expensive.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 11, 2006
  5. tamtom

    tamtom Registered Users (C)

    Actually what the Indian law says is minor child under 18 can have another citizenship if it is "involuntarily acquired". This law applies for child of Indian citizen parents born in the US.

    In a famous court case Izhar Ahmad Khan Vs. Union of India , the person lost Indian citizenship after getting a passport of Pakistan. The main problem that arises in the US situation is that the US wants the child to travel on a US passport, but India does not. We have talked to our Indian consulate and other various officials extensively, and they agree that the child doesn't lose Indian citizenship merely by being born in the US.

    I stated no such assumption. My comments apply if the parents want to keep Indian citizenship for the child, not US. Having said that, it is in fact in the US constitution, amendment XIV, that a person born in the US is a citizen, and it would clearly take more than 2-3 years to pass a constitutional revision.

    It is true that the US could pass a law saying that getting a foreign passport makes a child lose US citizenship. So in that sense, your point is well taken. If you prefer the child to have US citizenship and don't mind making it lose Indian citizenship, the US passport is a good choice.

    OCI is a visa, not citizenship. Visa categories come and go all the time, but countries cannot abolish citizenship.

    If your main goal for the child is sole citizenship of the US, then agreed. Whether that is preferred over Indian citizenship is a personal choice of the parents.

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 11, 2006
  6. tamtom

    tamtom Registered Users (C)

    So, to summarize the options:

    1) Have baby born in India. It's a sole citizen of India and treated equally with everyone else in India, and is treated as a foreigner in the US. This is a good choice if you care most about giving the child Indian citizenship.

    2) Have the baby born in the US and get it a US passport. It's a sole citizen of the US and treated equally with everyone else in the US. It's eligible for PIO or OCI which makes it equivalent to NRI's for certain purposes in India. It may pay higher school fees and have disadvantage for admission to schools in India. It may pay lower school fees and have advantage for admission to schools in the US. This is a good choice if you care most about giving the child US citizenship.

    3) Have the baby born in the US and get it an Indian passport. It's a citizen of India who has involuntarily acquired US citizenship, and is treated equally with everyone else in India. The child will have the ability to renounce Indian citizenship in favor of the US later. You may later have to make another choice of citizenship if the child needs to make a trip to the US, or if either of the two countries change their laws. Under current laws of both countries, it can make a new choice of citizenship at age 18. This is a good choice if you care about getting the child Indian citizenship, but have some other constraint which makes it difficult to return to India at this time (e.g. doctor's advice).

    Hope this helps,

  7. ashu1174

    ashu1174 Registered Users (C)

    Hello Tamtom, Hipka,

    Appreciate your time. Thanks for the discussion.

    This is going to be my first baby and I still think that I am not in a position to think about the future of the baby in a very well organized manner. So, your posts are really helping me.

    After reading your posts, I summarized my options like this:

    1) Have the baby born in the US, get the US passport, get the OCI and go back to India. Pay more fees (if required). I am now thinking of finding out from some of the school teachers I know of, about the fees etc. Think about Indian citizenship later...after 18 years.
    I don't see a major advantage in this since we are sure that we are going back and moreover as mentioned in your posts, there is no big advantage in terms of higher studies also. Only advantage is the ability for the child to come back to the US anytime later without having to go through the visa etc...like we did!

    2) Go back to India, have the baby born in India and continue to live there. If the baby wants to go for higher studies, follow the same path like most of the people do today...Study well, go through GRE, get on track.

    Your situation looks a little different. I think you are the first person I have ever heard of stating that they got an Indian Passport in the US. I was under the impression that you cannot get Indian Passport in the US. How did you manage to do that? Is it as simple as applying for Indian Passport in Indian Embassy, Houston?

    And one more question...in one of your threads, you stated that you are facing a problem while trying to travel to India. Is it resolved now? Did US authorities allow your child to travel with an Indian Passport issued in the US?

    I know and fully understand that getting legal issues sorted in Indian courts is very tedious and (life time!!!) job.
  8. tamtom

    tamtom Registered Users (C)

    Yes, you can apply for the child's Indian passport in the Indian Consulate General, Houston. The instructions are here:

    Follow the link for "passport to a minor" for the details. For the application, you need copies of the child's birth certificate and both parents' passports, fill out the applications and sign a declaration saying you do not opt for US citizenship for the child. With the same set of documents, you can also get an Indian consular birth certificate for the child.

    Partially. A US State Dept. official finally told us that we can without penalty take the child to India using its Indian passport (not getting it a US one). However, they still say to come to the US again, the child would need to get a US passport. So if you are planning a one-way trip to India, that would be okay.

    Hope this helps,

  9. ashu1174

    ashu1174 Registered Users (C)


    That sounds good in terms of getting and retaining Indian Citizenship. However, the problem associated with it looks a bit difficult one to go through.

    In the current situation, I am planning to go back to India during the next year itself. However, It is very difficult to say that I will not be coming back again. If my project requires me to travel (even for long term...like I have travelled now), then there is very less chances of saying 'no' to it. So, we may come back again.

    In that case, will US consulate allow the child to get US visa like any other Indian citizen (assuming that I got the Indian passport for the child like the way you did)?

    I am thinking of the education costs and any other additional costs for the child. Otherwise, I am fine to get US passport for my child. Anyway, there is going to be an option for choosing the nationality later. On top of this, if they change the rules for OCI/PIO later, most probably by that time we will be in India and I think obviously they will allow us to opt for one of the two citizenships and again we can choose what ever is good for us.
  10. tamtom

    tamtom Registered Users (C)

    So far, they have told us no. They would ask us to get the child a US passport. At that point, assuming we don't discover another solution in the meantime, you'd have to switch back to the US passport + PIO/OCI scenario by getting a US passport for the child from the US consulate, and a PIO or OCI visa from the Indian home ministry.

    So if your main goal for the child is to keep its Indian citizenship, and you also need to be able to travel between India and the US, at this point the safest option is to have the child born in India. It's very hard to get rid of a child's US citizenship.

    The safest assumption to make is if you take a US passport for the child, it WILL NOT be able to get Indian citizenship back until it is 18. The reason is as far as I understand, the Indian side would require renunciation of US citizenship for the child to reaquire the Indian one, but the US side makes it extremely difficult to renounce citizenship of a child. The point is, after getting the child a US passport, the child's US citizenship isn't considered "involuntarily acquired" anymore.

    If you want the child to keep Indian citizenship but can't avoid having it born in the US for whatever reason, it's better to get the child an Indian passport initially and try to hold onto it for as long as possible. This might become difficult if you need to bring the child to the US later, but then you could switch to US passport + PIO/OCI and will be no worse off (from Indian citizenship point of view) than if you took the US passport + PIO/OCI from the very beginning.

    Hope this helps

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 12, 2006
  11. ashu1174

    ashu1174 Registered Users (C)


    I was going through some FAQ on a site. According to one of the answers there, an OCI who has lived in India for five years is eligible to apply for Indian citizenship. So, I think this can work for people like us.

    That is, take the US passport + OCI status and then after going back to India and after living there for 5 years, we can apply for Indian citizenship and passport. Right? _OR_ did I miss anything here?

    This way, we get time to decide on it and also by the time the kid goes to school (5 years), he/she will have Indian citizenship...all this if my interpretation was right!
  12. tamtom

    tamtom Registered Users (C)


    For the residency part, you don't need to wait five years in your particular case (minor child both of whose parents are Indian citizens). There's another thread on residency requirements for reaquisition of Indian citizenship here: http://www.immigrationportal.com/showthread.php?t=209524 and an official source is here: http://mha.nic.in/citi.htm, click on "acquisition" link and look at section about "Minor children whose both parents are Indian citizens under section 5(1)(d)."

    The big question is, when applying for the child to reaquire Indian citizenship, is it necessary to renounce the child's US citizenship or not? If it is required, the problem is the US makes it difficult for children to do that. Their rules are here: http://travel.state.gov/law/citizenship/citizenship_776.html
    which says:

    In short, if the child is under 18, it's hard, and if the child is under 14, it's very hard for it to give up US citizenship.

    So will the child be required to renounce US citizenship to regain Indian in this case? I don't have a quick answer to that.

    Let's ask the forum: If a minor child, both parents Indian, voluntarily acquires US citizenship, does it have to give up US citizenship to reclaim Indian citizenship? Are there any experts on Indian citizenship law out there?

  13. tamtom

    tamtom Registered Users (C)

    Here are two sources relevant to the matter.

    On http://mha.nic.in/citi.htm, click on link for "acquisition", section called "Procedure", it says:

    which appears to say that yes, the person has to give up US citizenship to get Indian.

    Most of the citizenship application forms have a declaration saying "I declare that my intention is to make India my permanent home and I undertake that I shall renounce the citizenship of my country in the event of my application being sanctioned."

    But the application Form III for registration under section 5(1)(d) (Minor child, both parents are Indian) http://mha.nic.in/citizenship/forms/citi_form-3.pdf is mising this declaration.

    So from reading those sources, I'm still not completely sure what's the answer. Perhaps it's better to ask the Indian consulate this question.

  14. ashu1174

    ashu1174 Registered Users (C)


    Thanks for your replies.

    I think we need to post this question on a separate thread so that others will also reply. I will do that. Maybe, I will give a link to this thread also.
  15. nirmitv

    nirmitv New Member

    I am in the same boat


    Thanks for many informative posts. I have gone through yours and others various posts on this forum to find an answer to my question. This thread is very related so I am not starting a new thread.

    We are Indian citizen parents having a baby in the US. Like Tamtom, I am planning to settle in India, if not next year, then a couple of years later. However, I want to allow my kid an option to choose whichever citizenship he wishes when he is old enough to decide. Also, I want him to have maximum possible rights in India.

    Thus, in addition to the above information I am thinking of the following options and have questions about them:

    We may get a US passport and PIO for the baby and go to India. The only downside to this is that we may have to pay high fees in Indian schools and universities. I will appreciate more information about this.
    --Do public schools have more fees for US citizens?
    --Also, I understand that at the age of 18, he has a choice to renounce US citizenship and that before 18 years it is very hard to renounce it and thus very hard to acquire Indian citizenship. But, what if he does not act at the age of 18 and thus remains a US citizen and then two years later wants to become an Indian citizen?
    --Also, what if he chooses Indian citizenship at 18 and then two years later wants to go back to US citizenship (based on his birth certificate)?
    --I gather that me and my wife both being India citizens and out baby being a minor, we cannot apply for OCI. How do OCI and PIO differ as far rights in India are concerned?

    We may get an Indian passport and US birth certificate and leave for India. He gets all the rights in schools etc.
    --Can he always (before 18 years of age) apply for a US citizenship based on his birth certificate? Of course, this involves renouncing Indian citizenship.
    --Can he do this after 18 years of age? I may be repeating myself (just to ensure clarity), but the basic question is: till what time (age, time lived out of US) is he eligible to apply for US citizenship based on the birth certificate?

    I will very much appreciate your replies and any pointers to official guidelines.

    Thank you very much!!
  16. gunjan.porwal23

    gunjan.porwal23 New Member

    US born baby

    Can anybody suggest me that what will be the best way to retain indian as well as US citizenship for US born baby?

    My other concern is if the baby is born in US then will he/she be treated under NRI quota in schools? or he will be treated as other Indian students. I mean the fees of NRI students is very expensive and it is very difficult for parents working in India to pay such high amounts.

    What is the better between taking US passport and Indian passport for US born baby?
  17. mohitbs

    mohitbs Registered Users (C)

    Hi nirmitv,

    Did you get the answer to your 2 points. I am also very interested in knowing the answers to these 2 questions which you posted ...

  18. tomy19192001

    tomy19192001 Registered Users (C)

    I am a bit confused. My baby has been born in US (me and my wife are both indian citizens, here in US on H1B visa). Do I have to apply for 'US citizenship' thru separate procedure for my baby or just by getting a US passport for my baby would suffice the purpose. I am planning to send my baby to India on PIO card and would like to make sure that baby's 'US citizenship' status should remain VALID after going to India.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2008
  19. bluemountain

    bluemountain Registered Users (C)

    To the OP.

    You can only apply for PIO and not OCI for the child. To apply for OCI, atleast one parent should be a US citizen.

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