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Registration of birth in Lisbon does not amount to Portuguese citizenship

Portuguese nationality is one of the most contentious issues that Goa state is facing at the moment. Many dignified people of Goa possess a dual passport (Portuguese as well as Indian) which has become the matter of national debate.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and Union Ministry for Law and Justice been working together on this issue for quite some time and finally they have come up with the opinion that alone registration of birth in Lisbon will not entitle the Goans to acquire the Portuguese citizenship.

The process will have to be followed, to complete the formalities, to obtain the Portuguese citizenship and according to the guideline set by the MHA the Goans, who have registered their birth in Portugal should submit an affidavit to MHA mentioning that they wish to continue to retain their Indian Citizenship and do not wish to relinquish the same. According to the clear guidelines set by the Law Ministry in India, those Goans who possess the Portuguese Passport  will not be able to continue their citizenship in India.

According to the available sources, as many as 40000 Goans have believed to have registered their births in Portugal and have Dual Citizenship, although is a controversial issue and is still under the consideration by the centre. The figure includes the politicians, police personnel, bureaucrats and the common man. As per the news published by Goa Prism in June 2015, in Goa Prism the union ministry of law and justice has suggested the ministry of home affairs (MHA) to amend the country’s citizenship act and grant the one time AMNESTY to those Goans who have registered their births in Portugal.

The government of India has appointed a three-member high-level committee to keep watch on the issue of dual citizenship in Goa. The committee is headed by the additional secretary of home affairs B K Prasad who will take the decision on the recommendations of the Law Ministry and the same will be informed to the state government.

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According to the sources, the union home ministry has conducted the high-level meeting in the national capital Delhi to discuss the issue of dual citizenship in Goa. The discussion in the meeting also revealed that how some of the children have registered their parent’s births in Portugal without the consent of their parents to obtain the Portuguese passport for themselves.

It may be recalled that High level inter-ministerial meeting took place in the New Delhi on 5th June 2015 in presence of additional secretary & ministry of law and justice to suggest that “one-time amnesty” may be granted to these Goans to retain Indian citizenship as per the law, but this will have to be provided (for) in the Citizenship Act/rules through an amendment; only then can it (amnesty) be done”. But the same has not been accepted by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). There were even cases of filing the FIRs against people including the politicians and police personnel in this regard.

The sources have also revealed that, based on the ‘bilhete de identidade, the children of those born before Goa’s liberation and having their birth registered in Portugal are eligible to register their births in Portugal for obtaining of the citizenship. Many Goans make use of ‘bilhete de identidade’ to travel across Europe as it makes the Schengen visa redundant. In fact, many Goans have sought employment in Europe on the basis of the bilhete. According to the information provided by the sources in the government all the people who have registered their birth in Portugal do not possess the Portuguese passports.

Source: Various Sources  

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