Conflicting feelings about applying for citizenship

To start off, this post isn’t about the objective pros and cons or the logistics of applying for Canadian citizenship. I wish to invite reflections and perspectives from people who either went ahead and got their Canadian passport or who categorically didn’t and have no plans of doing so either.

My case: I’ve been a PR for close to 3 yrs now and would soon be eligible to apply for my Canadian passport. My nationality is India (born and raised), and I have lived in US/Canada for around 12 years now. I am quite set and well adapted in the generic North American society, and thoroughly enjoy living here.
My country (India) and a few others (notably China, Germany etc) don’t have a provision for dual citizenships. The strict implication is that I would have to surrender my Indian passport if I accept a Canadian citizenship.

The dilemma: While I am quite excited about the prospect of getting the Canadian passport (a country that I love and appreciate), I am having a hard time processing the prospect of losing my Indian citizenship. I was born there and strongly identify as an Indian. Even though I don’t have immediate plans of returning back, I am uncomfortable with losing a part of my self-identity. It would be really weird to call India a foreign country. My family/parents are all there.
When I moved here with PR, I had assumed that I would end up arriving at a headstrong decision in 3 yrs but here I am still seesawing back and forth on an hourly basis.

Did anyone else go through this particular motion? What and how did you decide finally? Did you take into account the possibility of regaining your nationality later? (For Indians, the condition is 5 years of OCI (kinda India’s green card) and 1 yr of stay)

Note: I am aware of all the material advantages for either case. Eg: OCI, visa free entry in a majority of world, the ability to make big bucks in US and not worry about losing your footprint in Canada etc.
Or alternately, not having to worry about entering India (OCIs were barred an entry in India early on during Covid), avoiding heavy inheritance taxes meant for non-Indians, retaining the ability to contribute in nation building etc.

Thoroughly confused. Pray HELP! Lol

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It’s completely understandable that you’re feeling conflicted about the decision to obtain Canadian citizenship and potentially give up your Indian citizenship. It’s a personal and complex matter that requires careful consideration. Many individuals in similar situations have gone through a similar thought process.

Ultimately, the decision will depend on your individual priorities, values, and future plans. Some people prioritize the benefits that come with Canadian citizenship, such as enhanced travel options, voting rights, and the sense of security it provides. Others choose to maintain their original citizenship to preserve their cultural identity, familial connections, and potential opportunities in their home country.

Consider exploring your emotional attachment to your Indian identity and whether it can be preserved and nurtured even without the official citizenship. You may also want to consult with individuals who have gone through a similar experience or seek advice from legal and immigration professionals who can provide insights into the potential consequences and future options.

Remember, there is no right or wrong answer here. It’s a deeply personal decision, and you should take the time you need to weigh the pros and cons before coming to a conclusion that feels right for you.

^ Written by ChatGPT

In particular, I agree with “ Consider exploring your emotional attachment to your Indian identity and whether it can be preserved and nurtured even without the official citizenship. ”

Good luck!

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This is how I see it. OCI pretty much grants me everything that a citizenship does except for the right to franchise. Practically speaking I’ve hardly voted in any election over the past decade or so since I didn’t get to travel to India during election time. I’m curious to learn more about the inheritance tax though. Otherwise, an OCI is as good as it can get.

It’s all personal choice in the end. I know plenty of people who are emotionally attached to their Indian citizenship identity such that it weighs more than the benefits of Canadian citizenship. Some others don’t want to give it up since they own land back in India. It’s really upto you to decide, but my only advise is don’t think about just the present, but visualize yourself 5-10-20 years from now and imagine if you will regret not applying for citizenship then. This should give you the answer.

Do you need to decide now, or even in a few years? Being eligible to apply for citizenship doesn’t mean you have to. You can stay on a permanent residency for a long time, if I’m not mistaken.

Has something happened to prompt you into considering this decision now, instead of 10years later? Can’t you wait until then?

I don’t believe you need to be an Indian citizen to contribute to India’s betterment. You can donate money to the needy. Also find out what would you have to do to start any future enterprise there as a non citizen and if it’s not too onerous, you can start businesses there and create jobs.

Getting more involved with charitable work in Canada is a great way to be involved in the society there, build attachment like you have for India, and feel like you belong.
There’s a lot of wisdom in “If you can’t figure out what to do to help yourself, helping others is a good way to help yourself”.

The inheritance taxes for non-citizens is something you can wait out; you can revisit the question of citizenship after the formalities for that have been completed.

Unless there’s some pressing reason to decide upon citizenship now, wait it out another decade. Be a part of the society and community here. Then reassess.

Overall good advice, only caveat on this point is that if you leave Canada for a long enough period you can end up having PR taken away from you. Perhaps after traveling abroad a lot, but carefully counting the days to make sure you don’t go over, near the end you’re unexpectedly kept abroad for longer than you planned and do in fact go over.

A PR who spends a lot of time abroad has to deal with this. A citizen wouldn’t have to worry about it. So if one were to start making frequent trips abroad now, then it makes sense to think more about this sooner rather than later.