Overseas Citizens of India is a very important and useful Visa available for persons who have Indian lineage which gives a lot of benefits and visa-free travel to India. Lets see how this special visa category was created. The government of India until 2005 did not allow Persons of Indian Origin or Indian descent to live and work in India. In 2005, Government amended the Citizenship Act, 1955 to register persons of Indian origin as a separate category as specified then in the Sec 7A of the Citizenship Act, 1955. This category was then specified as Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) Cardholder.
One of the main advantages of holding an OCI Card is the ability of multiple entry life long in India. The other benefits are covered as well in the article.
The following categories of persons (except Pakistan and Bangladesh) are eligible to apply:
- You are now a citizen of another country, but you were a citizen of India on, or at any time after 26 January 1950; or
- You are now a citizen of another country, but was eligible to become a citizen of India on 26 January 1950; or
- You are now a citizen of another country, but belonged to a territory that became part of India after the 15th day of August 1947; or
- You are a child or a grand-child or a great-grandchild of such a citizen; or
- You are a child with one parent who is a citizen of India; or
- You are the spouse of an Indian citizen or OCI cardholder and have been married for at least two years prior to applying for an OCI card.
Provided that no person, who is or had been a citizen of Pakistan, Bangladesh, or such other country as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify, shall be eligible for the registration as OCI Cardholder.
Benefits of Overseas Citizens of India Cardholders
- No Visa required for entering in India
- Exemption from registration with Foreigners Regional Registration Officer (FRRO)
- Parity with Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) with respect to economic, financial and educational fields except in matters related to agriculture or plantation properties.
- OCI Cardholders are charged same entry fees as domestic Indian visitors to all National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries.
- OCI Cardholders are also eligible for Indian Citizenship if they have been holding the card for the last 5 years and have been ordinary resident for the last 12 months.
- Child adoption applicable rules similar to Non- Resident Indians (NRIs)
- No special work permit required to work domestically.
OCI Card Application – Link to Apply
Registration Link: https://ociservices.gov.in/
Applying Outside India
Application can be submitted online from the above link.
In case of application to be submitted outside India, by way of Demand Draft for US $ 275 for each applicant or equivalent in local currency. For the amount of fee to be paid in local currency, please visit the web site of the respective Indian Mission/Post.
Applying Inside India
In case application is submitted in India, a fee of Rs.15,000/- by way of Demand Draft drawn in favour of “Pay and Accounts Officer (Secretariat), Ministry of Home Affairs” payable at New Delhi.
You can apply offline as well as offline by visiting the FRRO offices. The list is attached with this article for your reference.
The fees are subject to change so check before applying. The fees mentioned above is accurate as on June 2020.
The following documents are required while submitting the application
- Proof of current citizenship
a. Current Passport (Required)
b. Citizenship certificate (Required)
c. Cancelled/Surrendered Indian Passport (Optional)
- Address Proof
a. Utility Bills
b. Undertaking if the applicant is residing with relatives.
c. Lease dead
- In case application is submitted in India
a. Copy of any long duration visa with 3 months validity remaining.
b. Evidence of self or parents or grandparents or great grandparents.
c. Evidence of relationship as parent/grandparents or great grandparents.
d. Birth Certificate
e. Marriage Certificate of parents.
- In case of minor child child whose both parents are Indian citizens or one of the parent is Indian citizen
a. Birth certificate of Child.
b. Marriage certificate of parents
c. Copy of Indian Passport of both or one of the parent who is Indian citizen
Restrictions for Overseas Citizens of India
- No dual citizenship allowed.
- You have to renounce your India Passport.
- No voting rights
- You cannot be a candidate for Lok Sabha / Rajya Sabha / Legislative Assembly / Council or a member of the House of the People or of the Council of States.
- You can’t hold constitutional posts such as President, Vice President, Judge of Supreme Court / High Court, etc.
- Do also note that at all times OCI cardholder should have valid international passport with them which will be the primary travel document. Staying without a valid passport is illegal even if the person is OCI cardholder.