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Change Your Religion

The Indian constitution earmarks freedom of religion as one of our fundamental rights. You can change your religion legally by making a notarized affidavit, placing a newspaper advertisement and notifying the change in the national Gazette.

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How does religion change work for you?

Religion change falls under the right to freedom of expression and therefore
is your fundamental right.

What is all about religion change in India?

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.

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What is the legal procedure of religion change in India?

The religion change procedure in India is as follows-

Creating the religion change affidavit

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.

Placing advertisement

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.

Gazette procedure

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.

Gazette publication

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.

Duration Of The Process:

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.

What are the documents required for religion change in India?

While applying for religion change certificate in India, the below-mentioned documents are required:

  • An affidavit on a stamp paper of minimum value Rs.10.
  • The original newspaper copy in which the advertisement was published
  • Original conversion certificate from the respective religious institution.
  • The application (proforma) in the prescribed format, duly signed by the applicant and two witnesses
  • An undertaking by the applicant, duly signed. It should show both his old and new names
  • Two passport size photographs (self-attested).
  • Self-attested photocopies of valid ID proof ( Anyone from PAN card/ Aadhar card/ Voter ID/ Passport)
  • A CD containing all the information about the application. It would contain all the print matter submitted by the applicant (without the witness portion) in MS Word. The applicant needs to type his old name, wherever required.
  • A certificate, signed by the applicant and declaring that the contents of the soft and hard copies are similar.
  • A request letter along with the registration fee to the authority.
  • Submission of the following documents is optional and the requirement will vary from case-to-case basis-

  • Divorce papers ( in case of religion change by divorce only)
  • Marriage certificate ( for females, in case they want to change the religion after marriage)
  • What is the procedure of converting to different religions in India?

    There are subtle differences among the procedures of converting to different religions in India.

    Conversion to Islam

    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.

    Conversion to Christianity

    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.

    Conversion to Hinduism

    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.

    Why choose Vakilsearch for Religion Change in India?

    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.

    FAQs on Change Your Religion

    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.

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