What is an OCI and why OCI Card is required?
An Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) is a status given to people who are technically a citizen of another nation but have certain rights and freedoms that the citizens of India and NRIs enjoy.
OCI Card is a multiple entry, life-long, multi-purpose visa that allows the holder to travel and reside in India, as and when he or she wants to do so. It is not citizenship, but the cardholders have the permission to work and reside within the boundaries of India. It also does not grant the right to vote in Indian elections or hold public office and the Indian government has the right to revoke OCI status in a wide variety of circumstances.
As Dual citizenship is not allowed by the constitution of India, the introduction of the OCI card is seen as a measure to cope with the situation. Only citizens of countries that allow dual citizenship are eligible for OCI. Once you have had OCI status for five years, you can apply for Indian citizenship, but you would have to renounce any other citizenship you hold.
Who is Eligible for OCI Card?
- A Person who was a former Indian citizen (on or after January 26, 1950).
- A person belonging to any part merged to India after August 15, 1947.
- A person whose parents, grandparents or great-grandparents are/were Indian citizens.
- Spouse of an Indian Citizen or an existing OCI for at least 2 years.
Who are not eligible or cannot apply?
- Anyone who currently are or used to be citizens, and 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.
- Even if you meet the criteria for OCI, you may be denied if you currently work for or have ever worked for a foreign military in any capacity. This includes any work done as engineers or IT professionals for a foreign country’s defence government.
- You are also ineligible to qualify for OCI if you are the foreign spouse of a deceased or separated partner.
- Children of separated parents, one of whom is Indian, are also disqualified from getting an OCI card.
- Children are also ineligible if their one Indian parent is now dead.
- Foreign nationals cannot apply for OCI in India while on Tourist Visa, Missionary Visa and Mountaineering Visa. Moreover, the foreigner has to be staying in India for a continuous period of 6 months, to be eligible to apply for OCI registration in India.
Re-Issuance of OCI Card & Changes by Government
Earlier, OCI cardholders had to get it re-issued every time a new passport was issued for individuals up to the completion of 20 years of age and once on completing 50 years of age. The requirement was in view of biological changes in the face of the applicant.
But now, In order to ease the process, the government has decided to dispense with these requirements. OCI cardholders will now have to get the card re-issued only once when a new passport is issued after reaching 20 years of age. “If a person has obtained registration as OCI cardholder after attaining the age of 20 years, there will be no requirement of re-issue of OCI card,” the ministry said in a statement. Full Details of the press release can be read from here
OCI Application Process
The process for the OCI application submission can be done by registering and submitting the application on https://ociservices.gov.in (or https://passport.gov.in/oci/) and by uploading all the requisite documents.
To apply for OCI Card, you need to provide proof demonstrating that you, your parents, grandparents, or great grandparents meet the eligibility requirements listed in the eligibility section above. The full list of documents based on the category for OCI application can be found here.
The status of the OCI application can be tracked at https://ociservices.gov.in/statusEnqury
OCI applications are typically processed within 8-10 weeks. The processing time is, however, dependent on the application; applications that are filed incorrectly or with missing information may take longer to process.
For the ease or avoiding any delay, you can also consider taking support of Expatria’s Specialists, who provides you 100% support on the whole filing process. For any details or query on the same, you can write to us on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at +91-124-4505600