Overseas Citizen of India

The Constitution of India does not allow holding Indian citizenship and Citizenship of a foreign country simultaneously.

In response to persistent demands for "dual citizenship" particularly from the Diaspora in North America and other developed countries and keeping in view the Government's deep commitment towards fulfilling the aspirations and expectations of Overseas Indians, the Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) Scheme was introduced by amending the Citizenship Act, 1955 in August 2005.

The Scheme provides for registration as Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) of all Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) who were citizens of India on 26th January, 1950 or there after or were eligible to become citizens of India on 26th January, 1950 except 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.

OCI Card is a multiple entry life-long visa which enables the holder to have unlimited travel and stay in India.

Eligibility
To be eligible for a registration as an OCI cardholder, applicant should meet the following requirement:-
  • was a citizen of India on 26th January, 1950 or at any time thereafter; or
  • belonged to a territory that became part of India after 15th August, 1947; or
  • is a child or a grandchild or a great grandchild of such a citizen; or
  • is a minor child of such persons mentioned above; or
  • is a minor child whose parent/parents are citizens of India.


In addition to the above, 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 is also eligible for registration as OCI cardholder.

However, no person, who or either of whose parents or grandparents or great grandparents 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 registration as an Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder.

Minor foreigners born out of live-in relationships, Step & adopted children are not eligible for OCI. However an adopted child who has had an Indian passport in the past and can produce a surrender certificate for the same, is eligible to apply for an OCI.

Applicant whose birth certificate mentions about only one parent and nationality and other parent is not known is not eligible for OCI Card.

British Overseas Citizens, Asylees or Stateless applicants are not eligible for OCI.

Foreign Defence/Military/Civil Servants/Police/ex-Defence personnel/ persons working with security agencies and their family members are not eligible to apply for OCI. The above implies that the personnel of Home Office as well as of MoD. In addition, foreign diplomats are also not eligible.

Entitlements

Successful applicants have the following entitlements:-

  • Lifelong multiple entry visa for visiting India for any purpose;
  • Exemption from registration with Foreigners Regional Registration Officer (FRRO) or Foreigners Registration Officer (FRO) for any length of stay in India;
  • Parity with Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) in respect of all facilities available to them in economic, financial, and educational fields except in matters relating to the acquisition of agricultural or plantation properties;
  • Registered Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder shall be treated at par with Non-Resident-Indians in the matter of inter-country adoption of Indian children;
  • Registered Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder shall be treated at par with resident Indian nationals in the matter of tariffs in air fares in domestic sectors in India;
  • Registered Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder shall be charged the same entry fee as domestic Indian visitors to visit national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in India;
  • Parity with Non-Resident Indians(NRI) in respect of:- (a) entry fees to be charged for visiting the national monuments, historical sites and museums in India; (b) pursuing the following professions in India, in pursuance of the provisions contained in the relevant Acts, namely:-(i) doctors, dentists, nurses and pharmacists; (ii) advocates; (iii) architects; (iv) chartered accountants;
  • 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.

FAQ
  • Delivery of OCI card v
    • OCI Cards will be delivered by post only. Before sending the documents, applicant should check the status of his/her application. When status shows OCI received in London on a particular date, the following documents must be sent to OCI Section, High Commission of India, India House, Aldwych, London WC2B 4NA.

      • Printout of on-line status report.
      • British/Foreign Passport in original.
      • PIO Card holders should send the Original PIO Card for Cancellation.
      • For transfer of OCI visa from old to the new passport: Please send old passport and OCI Visa Card for cancellation and New British/Foreign Passport for affixing new OCI Visa on that.
      • Self-addressed Special Delivery envelope to return the Passport with OCI.

      It will take about 7-10 working days to return the passport after affixing OCI Visa along with OCI Card. The High Commission of India, London will not be responsible for loss or delay of the documents.

  • Can the spouse of the eligible person apply for registration as OCI Cardholder? v
    • A spouse of eligible person can apply if he/she is eligible in his/ her own capacity. Further, spouse of foreign origin of a citizen of India or spouse of foreign origin of an Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder registered under section 7A of the Citizenship Act, 1955 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 can apply.

  • Can Minor children apply for registration as OCI Cardholder? v
    • Yes. However, if either of the child’s parents or grandparents or great grandparents 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, the child will not be eligible for registration as an Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder.

      Minor foreigners born out of live-in relationships, Step & adopted children are not eligible for OCI. However an adopted child who has had an Indian passport in the past and can produce a surrender certificate for the same, is eligible to apply for an OCI.

      Applicant whose birth certificate mentions about only one parent and nationality and other parent is not known is not eligible for OCI Card.

  • Restrictions v
    • Overseas citizens of India will not enjoy the following rights even if resident in India:

      • the right to vote,
      • the right to hold the offices of President, Vice-President, Judge of Supreme Court and High Court, Member of Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, Legislative Assembly or Council,
      • Appointment to Public Services (Government Service).
  • Which are the areas covered by the Protected Area Permit (PAP)/Restricted Area Permit (RAP) regime? v
    • The Foreigner (Protected Areas) Order, 1958 requires foreigners, except a citizen of Bhutan, to obtain a Protected Area Permit (PAP) to visit certain areas in India. This requirement is in addition to getting an Indian visa. In order to get this permit, you must meet certain requirements. Such restriction is in place due to security reasons.

      Currently, Protected & Restricted Areas are located in the following States: -

      • Whole of Arunachal Pradesh
      • Parts of Himachal Pradesh
      • Parts of Jammu & Kashmir
      • Whole of Manipur
      • Whole of Mizoram
      • Whole of Nagaland
      • Parts of Rajasthan
      • Whole of Sikkim (partly in Protected Area and partly in Restricted Area)
      • Parts of Uttarakhand
      • Andaman & Nicobar Islands - Entire Union Territory
      • Sikkim - Part of the State


      However, NRIs (Indians who are staying abroad for more than 6 months), PIO Card holders, and OCI holders are not eligible for Inner Line Permit. They will have to apply for a regular Protected/Restricted Area Permit.

  • Can I apply for Indian citizenship again? v
    • As per the provisions of section 5(1) (g) of the Citizenship Act, 1955, a person who is registered as an OCI for 5 years and is residing in India for 1 year out of the above 5 years, is eligible to apply for Indian Citizenship. The person should give up his/her current foreign nationality.

  • Can a PIO Cardholder apply? v
    • Yes, provided he/she is otherwise eligible for grant of OCI like any other applicant.

  • Can a person registered as an OCI travel to protected area/restricted area without permission? v
    • No. He/she will be required to seek PAP/RAP for such visits.

  • Can OCI be granted to foreign nationals who are not eligible for OCI, but married to persons who are eligible for OCI? v
    • Yes

  • Will foreign-born children of PIOs be eligible to become an OCI? v
    • Yes

  • If a person is already holding more than one nationality, can he/she apply for OCI? v
    • Yes

  • Can a person renounce OCI? v
    • Yes. He/she has to declare intention of renunciation in Form XXII to the Indian Mission/Post where OCI registration was granted. After receipt of the declaration, the Indian Mission/Post/FRROs shall issue an acknowledgement in Form XXII A.

  • Is it mandatory to have a Life Long Visa Sticker (OCI) in the foreign Passport? v
    • No, the life Long Visa Sticker process has been discontinued by Government of India. Applicants are required to carry Valid OCI Card with current foreign passport (endorsed on the OCI Booklet).

  • Is the OCI entitled to hold Government posts in India? v
    • No, except for the posts specified by an order by the Central Government.

  • What is the processing time of application? v
    • Current processing time is around 6-8 weeks from the date of submission. Please note that any incomplete application submitted may result in additional processing time.

  • Can OCI card holder do Missionary, mountaineering and Research work in India? v
    • No. An OCI card holder is not entitled to undertake any Missionary, mountaineering and research work in India. They need prior approval from Ministry of Home Affairs in India before undertaking such activities.

  • Is there an emergency service for OCI? v
    • No. In case of emergency, please apply for visa.
  • Fees
    • Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card
        TYPE OF VISA & VALIDITY Indian High Commission Fees
      (GBP)
      (To be paid at Submission)
      VFS Service Charge
      (GBP)
      (To be paid at Submission)
      Our Fees
      (GBP)
      Total Fees
      Main applicant £175 £7.44 £100 £282.44



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