How to apply for an OCI card?

Overseas Citizenship of India is not a citizenship, but is a form of permanent residency available to people of Indian origin which allows them to live and work in India indefinitely.

The Overseas Citizenship of India is a form of permanent residency available to people of Indian origin and also for their spouses which allows them to live and work in India indefinitely. Despite the name, OCI status is not citizenship of the country and does not grant the right to vote in Indian elections or hold public office.

Why OCI?

OCI card holders are ordinarily entitled to following benefits which other foreign nationals are not entitled to:
  1. Multiple entry, multi-purpose lifelong visa to visit India;
  2. Exemption from reporting to Police authorities for any length of stay in India; and
  3. Parity with NRIs in financial, economic and educational fields except in the acquisition of agricultural or plantation properties.
Eligibility:

The following categories of foreigners are eligible to apply for registration as OCI:
  • Any foreign national who was an Indian Citizen on 26.01.1950 or has been an Indian Citizen after 26.01.1950 or;
  • Any foreign national who either themselves or through their parents or grandparents was born in India and was ordinarily residing outside India was eligible to become citizen of India on 26.01.1950 and also eligible for OCI card or;
  • Any foreign national who belonged to the territory of Sikkim before 26.04.1945 or;
  • Any foreign national who belonged to the territory of Puducherry before 16.08.1962 or;
  • Any foreign national who belonged to the territory of Dadra & Nagar Haveli before 11.08.1961 or;
  • Any foreign national who belonged to the territory of Goa, Daman and Diu before 20.12.1961 or;
  • Child or grandchild or a great grandchild of persons falling in any of the above mentioned categories or;
  • Minor child (foreign national) of such persons mentioned above or;
  • A minor child who is a foreign national but both  her/his parents are citizens of India or one of the parents is a citizen of India or;
  • Foreigner spouse of a citizen of India or spouse of foreign origin of an OCI Cardholder is eligible for grant of OCI provided that their marriage has been registered and subsisted for a continuous period of not less than two years at the time of filing OCI application.
Disqualification:
 
Any person who by themselves or either of whose parents or grandparents or great grandparents are or had been a citizen of Pakistan, Bangladesh cannot be eligible for registration as an Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder.
 
How to apply for OCI:
  1. Log on to OCI registration website.
  2. Fill Part A (both page I and II). A dialogue box with all filled in information shall appear. Verify the details and click on the submit button.
  3. Upload photograph and signature.
  4. Fill the details in Part B and click on submit, and then click on upload documents. A drop down menu appears. Select the name of document, upload relevant documents and click on final submit.
  5. Click on generate registration form. A pdf form shall be generated.
  6. After successful registration, a filled in form is generated. The Applicant needs to download the form, sign at appropriate places and send the signed application form and relevant documents to mission/consulate/outsourcing agency.
  7. The mission/consulate/outsourcing agency thereafter scrutinizes the documents. In case of any deficiency in the documents the applicant is conveyed via email to submit additional documents. The amount and manner in which the fee has to be paid is also intimated by the mission/consulate. In case the OCI process is being processed through an outsourcing agency, the applicant needs to send the Banker’s cheque/ money order with the documents itself.
  8. The status of OCI application can be tracked at https://ociservices.gov.in/statusEnqury
  9. Once the application is processed the status is reflected on the abovementioned link and the applicant can check his OCI Number on the website.
  10. Ordinarily, OCI Registration Certificate is available for delivery within 60 days from the date of acknowledgment.
  11. The concerned mission/consulate/outsourcing agency then informs the applicant the manner in which the applicant can collect his OCI card and the certificate. Normally the OCI card and the certificate are delivered to the address of the applicant.
 
Documents required:
 
  • Proof of Present citizenship- Passport.
  • Address proof- Copy of utility bill.
  • Proof of Indian origin- In case the applicant is claiming Indian origin through his parents/grandparents, the applicant will have to upload additional documents to establish his relationship. Birth certificate of the applicant shall serve the purpose.
  • Copy of the cancelled Indian Passport; or Copy of the Domicile Certificate issued by the Competent Authority; or Copy of Nativity Certificate from the Competent Authority; or OCI Card/ PIO card of parents/ spouse along with the documents upon which the OCI/ PIO card was issued; or Any other proof substantiating the request. Usually applicants submit a certificate of residence or place of birth of self/parents/grandparents from First Class Magistrate/District Magistrate (DM) of the concerned place.
  • In case the applicant is a minor- Copy of child’s birth certificate needs to be uploaded.
 

Most common hurdles:
  • Non availability of document of Evidence of relationship with the person applicant is claiming Indian Origin through: Birth Certificate issued from competent authority mentioning both parents’ name should be uploaded. Where the birth certificate is issued by a foreign authority, it is to be Apostilled or endorsed by the concerned Indian Mission abroad. The website of the respective Indian Embassy explains the procedure of apostillation.
  • Relevant document to submit as any other proof to claim Indian Origin: Any documentary evidence like a school certificate, Agricultural land ownership certificate, birth certificate etc. by which eligibility may be reasonably ascertained. 
Common errors to avoid while filling application form:

The general mistakes that applicants make while filling the application for are wrong selection of jurisdiction in part A, uploaded photograph does not meet the photo specifications, uploaded digital signature is not clear etc. The applicants are advised not to make such ordinary mistakes and stay a bit careful while filling and submitting the form.