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Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI)

Introduction:

The Constitution of India does not allow holding Indian Citizenship and Citizenship of a foreign country simultaneously. Therefore, the Government of India allows registration of Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) of certain category as has been specified in the Section 7A of the Citizenship Act, 1955 as Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) Cardholder.

As per the Government of India Gazette Notification No.11 dated 9th January 2015, Person of Indian Origin (PIO) card scheme has been withdrawn by Government of India and has been merged with Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card scheme. Therefore, the Consulate General of India will no longer be issuing PIO cards. Fresh applications will be accepted only for Overseas Citizenship of India cards.

How to apply:

The government has made the application process online. Foreigners can apply for OCI card from outside India as well. After successful registration, copy of OCI application form with an online registration number will be printed. This application, complete in all respects, along with all relevant enclosures (documents as per the eligibility criterion) have to be submitted to the appropriate office as per the jurisdiction of the applicant.

After receipt of application in concerned office, a File (or Acknowledgement) Number is issued to the applicant which can be used to verify the status of the application.

If there are any objections while processing the applications, they will also be displayed on the Online Status Enquiry.

Eligibility Criterion:

Following categories of foreign nationals are eligible for registration as Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) Cardholder:-

  1. Who was a citizen of India at the time of, or at any time after the commencement of the Constitution i.e. 26th January, 1950; or

  2. Who was eligible to become a citizen of India on 26th January, 1950; or|

  3. Who belonged to a territory that became part of India after 15th August, 1947; or

  4. Who is a child or a grandchild or a great grandchild of such a citizen; or

  5. Who is a minor child of such persons mentioned above; or

  6. Who is a minor child and whose both parents are citizens of India or one of the parents is a citizen of India.; or

  7. Spouse of foreign origin of a citizen of India or spouse of foreign origin of an Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder and whose marriage has been registered and subsisted for a continuous period of not less than two years immediately preceding the presentation of the application.

However, no person, who or either of whose parents or grandparents or great grandparents is or had been a citizen of Pakistan or Bangladesh shall be eligible for registration as an Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder.

Documents to be submitted:

It includes valid foreign passport, valid visa (in case application is submitted in India), proof of self or parents or grandparents or great grandparents being an Indian origin (this could be Indian Passport, Domicile certificate, Nativity Certificate, OCI Card/ PIO card of parents/ spouse, certificate of residence or place of birth of self/parents/grandparents from First Class Magistrate/District Magistrate (DM) of the concerned place), evidence of relationship as parent/grandparent/ great grandparent, etc. depending on the eligibility criterion.

Benefits of Obtaining OCI:

Following are the benefits a person can get after obtaining an OCI card:

  1. Multiple entry lifelong Visa for visiting India for any purpose.

  2. Exemption from registration with Foreigners Regional Registration Officer (FRRO) or reporting to Police authorities for any length of stay in India.

  3. Parity with NRIs in financial, economic and educational fields except in the matters relating to acquisition of agricultural or plantation properties.

  4. Registered Overseas Citizen of India shall be treated at par with Non-Resident-Indian in the matter of inter-country adoption of Indian children.

  5. Registered Overseas Citizens of India shall be treated at par with resident Indian nationals in the matter of tariffs in air fares in domestic sectors in India.

  6. Registered Overseas Citizens of India shall be charged the same entry fee as domestic Indian visitors to visit national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in India.

  7. Parity with Non-Resident Indian to appear for the All India Pre-medical Test or such other tests to make them eligible for admission in pursuance of the provisions contained in the relevant Acts.

  8. Parity with Non-Resident Indian in respect of entry fees to be charged for visiting the national monuments, historical sites and museums in India; Pursuing the following professions in India, in pursuance of the provisions contained in the relevant Acts, namely:-
  • doctors, dentists, nurses and pharmacists
  • advocates
  • architects
  • chartered accountants


- As on 1st July 2019