The Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) Scheme was introduced in August 2005 in response to persistent demands for “dual citizenship,” particularly from the Diaspora in North America and other developed countries, and in light of the Government’s deep commitment to fulfilling the aspirations and expectations of Overseas Indians. The scheme was established in Hyderabad during the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas convention in 2006. All Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) who were citizens of India on 26th January 1950 or later or were eligible to become citizens of India on 26th January 1950, except those who are or have been citizens of Pakistan, Bangladesh, or such other country as the Central Government may specify by notification in the Official Gazette, are eligible to register as Overseas Citizens of India (OCI).
OCI should not be confused with “dual citizenship.” Political rights are not conferred by OCI. The rights given on a citizen of India under Article 16 of the Constitution in terms of equality of opportunity in regards of public employment are not applicable to registered Overseas Citizens of India. The MHA’s website, www.mha.nic.in, has detailed instructions and procedures for the OCI Scheme.
A registered Overseas Citizen of India is granted a multiple-entry, multi-purpose, life-long visa for visiting India; he or she is exempt from registration with a Foreign Regional Registration Officer or a Foreign Registration Officer for any length of stay in India; and he or she is entitled to general “parity with Non-Resident Indians in respect of all facilities available to them in economic, financial, and educational fields, except in matters relating to the acquisition of agricultural; The Ministry will occasionally notify you about specific benefits or parity.
How Does A Person Apply To Become An Overseas Citizen Of India?
People who want to become Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) cardholders must fill out the application form online at https://passport.gov.in/oci.
The application form is available online, and it should be downloaded, filled out, and delivered along with the required documents, a demand draft for the fee amount, and evidence of identity to:
- Indian Mission or Post that has authority over the applicant’s home country.
- For applications submitted within India, the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) is the place to go.
The following is a list of FRRO offices in India:
|1.||FRRO, Amritsar Bureau of Immigration, D-123, Ranjit Avenue, Amritsar – 143001 Tel: 0183-2500464 Fax: 0183- 2500465 Email: email@example.com||Punjab, Jammu & Kashmir and Chandigarh|
|2.||FRRO, Bangalore 5th Floor, ‘A’ Block, TTMC, BMTC Bus Stand Building, K.H.Road, Shantinagar, Bangalore- 560027 Tel.: 080-22218195 Fax: 080-22218196 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org||Karnataka|
|3.||FRRO, Chennai No.26, Shastri Bhawan Annexe Building, 26 Haddows Road, Nungambakkam, Chennai- 600006 Tel: 044-23454970 Fax: 044-23454971 Email: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org||Tamilnadu, Puducherry and Andaman & Nicobar islands|
|4.||FRRO, Delhi, East Block VIII, Level 2, Sector-1, R.K.Puram, New Delhi – 110066 Tel.: 011-26711384 Fax: 011-26711348 Email: email@example.com||Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand|
|5.||FRRO, Goa Foreigners Branch, Goa Police Head Quarters, Opposite Azad Maidan, Panaji – 403001 Tel.: 0832-2428623 Fax: 0832-2428623 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org||Goa and Dadra & Nagar Haveli (However, till further orders, cases pertaining to Goa and Dadra & Nagar Haveli will be handled by the FRRO, Mumbai)|
|6.||FRRO, Hyderabad Bureau of Immigration, Room no.301, 3rd Floor, CGO Tower, Kabadiguda, Hyderabad. Tel.: 040-27900211; 040-27901022 Fax: 040-27900388 Email: email@example.com||Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Odisha and Chhattisgarh|
|7.||FRRO, Kochi (Cochin) 2nd Floor, Airlines Building, Cochin International Airport Ltd., Airport P.O., Kochi – 683111 Tel.: 0484-2611277 Fax: 0484-2611277 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com||Kerala (excluding jurisdiction of other FRROs in Kerala)|
|8.||FRRO, Kolkata 237, A.J.C.Bose Road, Kolkata Tel.: 033-22900549 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org||West Bengal, Sikkim, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland, Manipur, Meghalaya and Tripura|
|9.||FRRO, Kozhikode (Calicut) 20/1305, Castle view, Thiruvannur Road, Panniyankara, Kallai P.O. Kozhikode – 673003 Tel: 0495-2323550 Fax: 0495-2323550 Email: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org||Kerala (excluding jurisdiction of other FRROs in Kerala)|
|10.||FRRO, Lucknow 557, Hind Nagar, Kanpur Road, Near Old Chungi, Lucknow -226012 Tel: 0522-2432431 Fax: 0522-2432430 Email: email@example.com||Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand|
|11.||FRRO, Mumbai Annex-II Bldg, 3rd Floor, Badruddin Tayyabji Marg, Behind St.Xavier College, C.S.T., Mumbai – 400001 (Near CST Railway Station and the office is in the lane beside Times of India building) Tel.: 022-22621169 022-22621167 (OCI enquiry) Fax: 022-22620721 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org||Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Daman & Diu. Till further orders, cases pertaining to Goa and Dadra & Nagar Haveli will also be handled by the FRRO, Mumbai|
|12.||FRRO, Thiruvananthapuram T.C.14/1377, Vazhuthacaud, opposite Ganapati Temple, Thycaud P.O., Thiruvananthapuram – 14 Tel.: 0471-2333515 Fax: 0471-233514 Email: email@example.com||Kerala (excluding jurisdiction of other FRROs in Kerala) and Lakshadweep|
Applicants must submit the following documents in order to be registered as an Overseas Citizen of India and acquire an OCI card:
Proof of present citizenship: Along with the application, a copy of a valid passport from any nation (excluding exempted countries) must be submitted. It’s worth noting that the passport in question must be valid for at least 6 months at the time of submission in order to be considered for OCI registration.
Copy of Visa: If the application is being submitted within India’s borders, a copy of the applicant’s visa utilized to enter India must also be submitted. It is important to understand that missionary and mountaineering visas will not be accepted.
Residential permit: If the application for OCI is made in India, the applicant must additionally present a copy of his or her residency permit, which must be valid for at least three months at the time of application.
Evidence of parents/grandparents/self: Any legally recognized paperwork issued by a competent authority that establishes the applicant’s identification must be supplied, such as those that establish:
- The applicant is/was an Indian citizen at any point after the Indian Constitution went into effect on January 26, 1950.
- The applicant was/was eligible to become an Indian citizen when the Indian Constitution took effect on January 26, 1950.
- The applicant was from an area that became part of India when India gained independence on August 15, 1947.
Documents that establish such fact are:
- A photocopy of the applicant’s Indian passport is required.
- A copy of a Domicile Certificate issued by a competent body to the applicant.
- The applicant’s parents or spouse must have an OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) or PIO (Person of Indian Origin) card, as well as a copy of the basic documents on which the card was issued.
- The First Class Magistrate or District Magistrate of the area issues a certificate of residency for parents, grandparents, spouses, or self.
- The First Class Magistrate or District Magistrate of the area issues a birth certificate to parents, grandparents, spouses, or self.
Evidence of relationship: If the applicant’s registration for OCI is based on the fact that their parents, grandparents, or great grandparents were Indian citizens, a document must be supplied that legally verifies their relationship.
The best approach to meet this criterion is to obtain a birth certificate. One or both parents (of Indian descent) must be named on the birth certificate, and one or both grandparents must be named on the parents’ birth certificate (of Indian origin). If the birth certificate was issued by a foreign authority, it must be approved by the Indian Mission or Post in that nation.
For minor children, at least one of whose parents are citizens of India:
- One birth certificate copy for the child.
- a copy of the Indian parent’s passports If this is not accessible, a copy of the parents’ Domicile Certificate from a competent body must be submitted instead. If this is also unavailable, a copy of the parents’ Nativity Certificate issued by a competent body must be presented.
- A court order of dissolution of marriage must be submitted if the parents are divorced. All relevant paperwork must be submitted by the parent who has legal custody of the kid.
For foreign-origin spouses of Indian citizens: The following documents must be supplied in addition for foreign nationals married to Indian citizens:
- Marriage certificate that has been officially recorded.
- a copy of the Indian spouse’s Indian passport Alternatively, a copy of the Indian spouse’s Domicile Certificate issued by a competent body.
- In the case of the Indian spouse, a copy of the Nativity Certificate issued by a competent government.
For foreign-origin spouses of OCI cardholders: The following documents must be supplied in addition for persons of foreign origin married to OCI cardholders:
- a copy of the spouse’s valid passport
- a copy of the OCI spouse’s OCI card
- Copies of the documentation that were used to grant the spouse an OCI card.
A photograph must be included with the OCI application.
Photographs of the applicant must be included with the application for OCI status or an OCI card. The following rules must be followed when taking these photos:
- Photographs that are at least 51mm x 51mm square.
- The applicant’s face must be covered by at least 80% of the photograph.
- A light, plain background is recommended (but not pure white).
- The applicant’s entire head and shoulders should be visible, with his or her face in the center of the shot.
- On the surface of the photograph, there must be no indications, staples, markings, ink, or signatures.
Application Fee For OCI Card
If you are applying for OCI status outside of India, you must send your application along with a USD275 Demand Draft (DD) or the equivalent in the local currency to the respective Indian Mission or Post.
If the application for OCI status is being made in India, it must be accompanied by a Demand Draft for Rs.15,000 payable in New Delhi, issued in favor of “Pay and Accounts Officer (Secretariat), Ministry of Home Affairs.”
General Instructions On Applying For The OCI Card:
- The applicant must produce copies of the above documents when submitting an OCI application at an Indian Mission overseas, an Indian Post abroad, or a FRRO in India.
- The applicant will have to show the original documents (of which copies were submitted at the time of submitting the application) for verification purposes when receiving the actual OCI card from the Indian Mission overseas, Indian Post abroad, or FRRO in India.
- Applicants will simply have to upload self-attested photocopies of the essential documents with their applications once the process is moved online.
OCI (Overseas Citizen Of India) Application For PIO (Person Of Indian Origin) Cardholders:
On 9/1/2015, the Ministry of Home Affairs issued a notification stating that all those with a valid PIO card as of that day would be considered Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) cardholders.
PIO Cardholders just need to produce or upload the following papers with their application:
- a copy of the PIO card
- A copy of the applicant’s current passport is required.
The approval and subsequent issuance of the OCI card would be provided free of charge to PIO cardholders.
The applicable Indian Mission overseas, Indian Post abroad, or FRRO in India – which has jurisdiction over the applicant’s place of residence – shall issue the OCI card for those holding PIO cards.
At an Indian Mission overseas, an Indian Post abroad, or a FRRO in India that processes the application, the PIO card must be surrendered in exchange for the OCI card.
OCI Registration Process
For regular applications (i.e., not applications from spouses of OCI cardholders)
Regular OCI applications will be handled first by security agencies, who would add their comments, observations, and eventually clearance to the web portal after doing due diligence on all facts of the applicant’s alleged antecedents. This process takes 20 days from the time the application is received by the Indian Mission, Indian Post, or FRRO in India.
If any negative information about the applicant is discovered during the preliminary examination by the Indian Mission abroad, the Indian Post abroad, or the FRRO in India, the Ministry of Home Affairs must be notified, and prior approval must be sought before OCI registration is granted. In such circumstances, the Ministry of Home Affairs has 120 days from the day the Indian Mission overseas, Indian Post abroad, or FRRO in India receives the application to approve or reject the award of registration. If the Ministry of Home Affairs approves the registration, the applicant can be registered as an OCI cardholder by the Indian Mission, Indian Post, or FRRO in India.
If the security agencies fail to perform due diligence on the applicant’s claimed antecedents within 20 days, the Indian Mission abroad, Indian Post abroad, or FRRO in India will register the applicant as an OCI cardholder within 30 days of receipt of the application – but only if no adverse information against the applicant is discovered during primary scrutiny.
It should be mentioned that if the Ministry of Home Affairs receives any negative information about an applicant whose OCI status has been approved, the Ministry of Home Affairs has the ability to cancel the OCI card issued by any Indian Mission overseas, Indian Post abroad, or FRRO in India. Section 7D of the Citizenship Act of 1955 allows for this.
Cancellation of registration as overseas citizen of India
If the Central Government is convinced that the registration issued under sub-section (1) of section 7A is invalid, it may cancel it by order.
- The registration as an Indian citizen living abroad was gained through deception, false representation, or concealing of key facts.
- As required by law, Indian citizens living abroad have expressed dissatisfaction with the Indian Constitution.
- During any conflict in which India may be involved, an abroad Indian citizen has unlawfully traded or communicated with an enemy, or engaged in, or been affiliated with, any economic or commercial activity that was, to his knowledge, conducted out in such a way as to assist an enemy in that war.
- Within five years of being registered under sub-section (1) of section 7A, an Indian citizen living abroad was condemned to a minimum of two years in prison.
- It is necessary to act in this manner in the interests of India’s sovereignty and integrity, its security, good ties with any foreign government, or the general public.
What Are The Advantages Of Being An Overseas Citizen Of India?
There are numerous advantages to being an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI), including the following:
- The OCI Card is a multi-entry visa with a lifetime validity. OCI cardholders are free to visit India at any time and for any reason, with the exception of conducting research, which requires a separate permit.
- When entering India, OCI cardholders do not need to register with the regional FRRO. This restriction applies regardless of the length of your stay in India.
- OCI cardholders have access to all amenities offered to Non-Resident Indians (NRIs). Economic, financial, and educational opportunities are accessible, and OCI cardholders are treated equally to NRIs in all respects except when purchasing plantation or agricultural lands.
- Registered OCI cardholders shall be regarded equally to NRIs in all areas connected to inter-country adoption of children.
- In all areas connected to airfares in India’s domestic sectors, OCI cardholders are treated equally to NRIs.
- OCI cardholders will be charged the same admission costs as domestic Indian tourists to India’s wildlife sanctuaries, national parks, and other attractions.
- In all aspects relating to access fees at national monuments, museums, historically significant locations, and so forth, equality and parity with NRI-status individuals.
- In all matters relating to the pursuit of specializations and professions in India, such as in the medical field as doctors, dentists, pharmacists, nurses, etc., or in the legal field as lawyers, or in the commercial space as architects or chartered accountants, equality and parity with NRI-status individuals is required.
- Equality and parity with NRI-status individuals for taking the All-India Pre-Medical Test or any other test required to get admission to pursue any provision contained under any relevant Act.
- Under Section 5(1) (g) of the Indian Citizenship Act, 1955, OCI cardholders are eligible to seek for Indian citizenship. This is achievable if the OCI cardholder has had the OCI status for at least 5 years and has been a regular resident of India for at least 12 months prior to applying for citizenship.
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