Religion change falls under the right to freedom of expression and therefore
is your fundamental right.
As per Article 15 of the Indian Constitution, freedom of religion is one of the fundamental rights in India. India is a secular country and every Indian citizen has the right to practice and promote their own religion peacefully. This means changing religion (due to self-belief, marriage, or divorce) is legal in India provided the same is in good faith and not because of any coercion or application of force.
The religion change procedure in India is as follows-
When an individual decides to do religion change in India, the process has to be done legally so that the new religion gets reflected in all the valid government documents across the country. To ensure this, in the first step, a religion change affidavit format has to be prepared mandatorily. The religion change affidavit format is a legal document that contains details like name, the new religion, old religion, and address. It must be made on a stamp paper and notarized by a notary public.
The next step is to place an advertisement in a widely circulated national or regional newspaper. This ensures that there is no public objection to your religion change in India and it is not being done for any fraudulent or illegal reasons. The newspaper advertisement must specify the details such as your name, age, and address. The ad should clearly state that you are changing your religion. It is also required to save a copy of the ad for any future reference.
The next step is the notification in the National Gazette. A gazette is nothing but an official magazine published by the Government and every State and the Central Government may have their own version of gazettes. You can notify in any of the gazettes but some Govt. institutions may insist on a notification in the Central Govt. Gazette. Usually, public notices or advertisements from private individuals are published in Part IV of the Central Govt. Gazette.
The publication of the advertisement in the Official Gazette is required to reflect the religion change in all the relevant government records.
For the documentation criteria of filing the Gazette application please refer to the next sections.
After the Gazette application is filed, the concerned authorities will inspect the application closely and once they are convinced that everything is in order, the religion change declaration will be published in the e-Gazette. After successful submission, it takes up to 60 business days for the publication to appear in the e-gazette. It is important to note that the weekly e-gazette is published on Saturdays.
It would take approximately 15- 20 days to prepare the application of religion change. Once the application is submitted, it takes anywhere between 45-60 business days for the publication to be issued. Moreover, the applicant has to frequently visit the office of the Gazette publication to check the status. The entire process can be carried out online as well, from the comfort of your home. The copy of the gazette can be downloaded from the website
The Controller of Publications is the sole publisher of the Official Gazette of India. If they find the application/request to be vague, incomplete, misleading, or unlawful, they are at liberty to reject your application. This will cause you unwanted delays and hence you should do due diligence before submitting your religion change application. You need to take proper care so that the documents submitted are valid and are in proper order.
While applying for religion change certificate in India, the below-mentioned documents are required:
Submission of the following documents is optional and the requirement will vary from case-to-case basis-
There are subtle differences among the procedures of converting to different religions in India.
For conversion to Islam, one needs to visit a mosque in the locality and take Shahada in the presence of a Maulvi and two major witnesses. Once the Shahada is performed, the Maulvi will issue a conversion certificate on the letterhead of the mosque, which is called a Shahada certificate. This document includes the date and the details of the witnesses present. Once the individual receives the conversion certificate they can start practicing Islam. The conversion certificate needs to accompany the application form for notification in the official Government Gazette.
When one goes to the Church for changing the religion, a Baptism procedure will be performed. The person would get a new Christian name and a conversion certificate issued by the church. The conversion certificate needs to accompany the application form for notification in the official Government Gazette.
To practice and get converted to Hinduism, there is no official conversion process or religious ceremony. One needs to have the will and the commitment only to study the scriptures and abide by the rules and practices followed in the Religion. In India, you can visit a nearby Arya Samaj temple and show your willingness towards conversion to Hinduism, post which they will issue you a certificate of conversion. The conversion certificate needs to accompany the application form for notification in the official Government Gazette.
Vakilsearch helps you obtaining the legal validation to your decision of religion change. At Vakilsearch, we will collect and verify your documents. Then we would prepare the religion change affidavit and send it to you for your approval and signature. Post your approval and sign off, we would submit the completed application with the authority and would also carry out the necessary follow-up with them. We would and track the application status on your behalf and would keep you posted regularly.
We will ensure the religion change gets officially notified in the National Gazette. During the entire process, you can have absolute peace of mind and will get all the information you need, from the comfort of wherever you are!
Once the publication comes out, we will be sending you a copy of the Gazette via email. You can print one copy for your records.
Is it compulsory to share a conversion certificate while applying for legal religion change?
Yes, it is mandatory to submit a copy of the conversion certificate while applying for religion change in India.
Is it legal to convert to any religion in India?
Yes, the Indian law confers upon the citizen the right to practice and profess any religion. Hence, a citizen can change his religion whenever he wishes to.
How long does it take for the entire legal process to complete for religion change?
Here at Vakilsearch, we take about 6-8 weeks to get your gender change notification complete in the Gazette of India.
Do you need witnesses for religion change application?
Yes, while making an application for religion change there need to be a witness to sign the application form. The witnesses cannot be your blood relatives.