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Citizenship OCI

Citizenship/PIO Info

Q: Is OCI same a Indian Citizenship ?

A: First of all, there is misconception that OCI (Overseas citizenship of India) is same as Indian citizenship. This is not true. This is more equivalent to getting an Indian green card with relaxed minimum stay benefits because:

You do not get an Indian passport but OCI card.

You can not fight an election to Lok Sabha/Rajya Sabha/Assembly etc.

You can not vote in an indian election.

You can not hold constitutional posts such as President, Vice President,Judge of supreme or high court.

But otherwise OCI does have many advantages:

You get multiple entry life long multi purpose visa to India

You do not have to reporst to police authorities in India for any length of stay in India.

There are many financial, educational and economic benefits

An OCI can apply for Indian citizenship if he has been OCI for five years and has been residing in India for one of the five years before making application. However again you will have to give-up your foreign citizenship.

Q: Is OCI better than PIO card?

A: Yes, most of OCI is entitled to life long visa-free travel to India while PIO cardholders are limited to 15 years.

OCI do not have to register with Indian police for any length of stay whereas PIO cardholder is required to register for a single stay exceeding 180 days in India.

Following info from Indian embassy.

1. Eligibility criteria:

A foreign national, who was eligible to become citizen of India on 26.01.1950 or was a citizen of India on or at anytime after 26.01.1950 or belonged to a territory that became part of India after 15.08.1947 and his/her children and grand children, provided his/her country of citizenship allows dual citizenship in some form or other under the local laws, is eligible for registration as Overseas Citizen of India (OCI). Minor children of such person are also eligible for OCI. However, if the applicant had ever been a citizen of Pakistan or Bangladesh, he/she will not be eligible for OCI.

2. Application form and procedure:

A family consisting of spouses and up to two minor children can apply in the same Form i.e. Form XIX. The form can be downloaded from websitewww.indianembassy.org. The following documents shall be enclosed with each application:

1. Three additional stamp size photographs.
2. Proof of citizenship of applicant (s)

3. Evidence of self or parents or grand parents

(a) being eligible to become a citizen of India at the time of
commencement of the Constitution; or
(b) belonging to a territory that became part of India after 15th August, 1947; or
(c) being citizen of India on or after 26th January, 1950
these are:-

(i) Copy of the passport (or)
(ii) Copy of the domicile certificate issued by the
Competent authority (or)
(iii) Any other proof (or)
(iv) Affidavit

4. Evidence of relationship as parent/grand parent, if their Indian origin is claimed as basis for grant of OCI.

5. Proof of fee payment US $ 275 for each applicant or equivalent in local currency (US $ 25 or equivalent in local currency for each PIO card holder). The fee has to be paid in the form of cash/Money Order at the counter or Cashier’s cheque by mail. 

6. PIO card holders must also submit a copy of their PIO card. 

The application form completed in all respects along with enclosures should be submitted in duplicate to the Indian Mission/Post of the country of applicant’s citizenship or where he/she is not in the country of citizenship to the Indian mission/post of the country in which he/she is ordinarily resident. If the applicant is in India, he/she can apply to the Foreigners Regional Registration Officer (FRRO) at Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata or Amritsar or Chief Immigration Officer (CHIO) Chennai or to the Under Secretary, Citizenship Section, Foreigners Division, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Jaisalmer House, 26 Mansingh Road, New Delhi-110011. 

3. Procedure for granting registration:

After preliminary scrutiny, if there is no adverse information available against the applicant, the Indian Mission/Post shall register a person as OCI within 15 days of application and the case shall be referred to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), New Delhi for post verification of the antecedents of the applicant. If during the post verification, any adverse information comes to the knowledge of the MHA, the registration as OCI already granted by the Indian Mission/Post shall be cancelled by an order under section 7 D of the Citizenship Act, 1955. 

After preliminary scrutiny, if there is any adverse information against the applicant, prior approval of MHA, New Delhi shall be required before grant of registration. MHA may approve or reject the grant of registration within 90 days from the date of the receipt of the application. If the grant of registration as OCI is approved by MHA, the Indian Mission/Post shall register the person as OCI. 

If the application is filed in India, registration shall be granted by MHA by following the above procedure. 

After grant of registration, a registration certificate in the prescribed format will be issued and a multiple entry, multi-purpose life long OCI ‘U’ visa sticker will be pasted on the foreign passport of the application. 

4. OCI registration for PIO card holders:

PIO card holders who are otherwise eligible for registration as OCI may apply in the same Form i.e. Form XIX and they will be considered for grant of registration in the same manner as other applicants. PIO card holders will have to pay a fee of US$ 25/- or equivalent in local currency instead of US $ 275 for normal applicant. PIO cardholders will have to surrender his/her PIO card after issuance of acceptance of application and before grant of OCI registration certificate/visa.

5. OCI registration for persons who have applied on the earlier prescribed application form:

All such applications will be considered for grant of OCI on the same line as in para 3 above without seeking fresh application and fees.

6. Cancellation of OCI registration:

If it has been found that the registration as an OCI was obtained by means of fraud, false representation or concealment of any material fact or the registered OCI has shown disaffection towards the Constitution of India or comes under any of the provisions of section 7D of the Citizenship Act, the registration of such person will not only be cancelled forthwith but he/she will also be blacklisted for visiting India.

7. Benefits to OCI:

Following benefits will accrue to OCI:

(i) A multiple entry, multi-purpose life long visa for visiting India.

(ii) Exemption from registration with local police authority for any length of stay in India.

(iii) Parity with Non-resident Indians (NRIs) in respect of economic, financial and educational fields, except in relation to acquisition of agricultural or plantation properties.

Any other benefits to OCIs will be notified by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) under Section 7B(1) of the Citizenship Act, 1955.

8. Benefits to which OCI is not entitled to:

The OCI is not entitled to vote, be a member of Legislative Assembly or Legislative Council or Parliament, cannot hold constitutional posts such as President, Vice President, Judge of the Supreme Court or High Court etc. and he/she cannot normally hold employment in the Government.

9. Help Desk

For any clarification/query on the scheme, please visit the websitewww.mha.nic.in or visit the website www.indianembassy.org
or contact the Indian Mission/Post or Citizenship Section, Foreigners Division, Ministry of Home Affairs, Jaisalmer House, 26 Mansingh Road, New Delhi-110011. 


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
On Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) Scheme

1. Who is eligible to apply?

A foreign national, who was eligible to become citizen of India on 26.01.1950 or was a citizen of India on or at anytime after 26.01.1950 or belonged to a territory that became part of India after 15.08.1947 and his/her children and grand children, provided his/her country of citizenship allows dual citizenship in some form or other under the local laws, is eligible for registration as Overseas Citizen of India (OCI). Minor children of such person are also eligible for OCI. However, if the applicant had ever been a citizen of Pakistan or Bangladesh, he/she will not be eligible for OCI.

2. Who was eligible to become Citizen of India on 26.01.1950?

Any person who or either of whose parents or any of whose grand-parents was born in India as defined in the Government of India Act, 1935 (as originally enacted), and who was ordinarily residing in any country outside India was eligible to become citizen of India on 26.01.1950.

3. Which territories became part of India after 15.08.1947 and from what date?

The territories, which became part of India after 15.08.1947 are:

(i) Sikkim from 26.04.1975

(ii) Pondicherry from 16.08.1962

(iii) Dadra & Nagar Haveli from 11.08.1961

(iv) Goa, Daman and Diu from 20.12.1961

4. Can the spouse of the eligible person apply for OCI?

Yes, if he/she is eligible in his/her own capacity.

5. Can children of parents, wherein one of the parents is eligible for OCI, apply for OCI?

Yes.

6. In what form should a person apply for OCI and where are they available?

A family of spouses and up to 2 minor children can apply in the same form i.e. Form XIX, which can be downloaded from the websitewww.indianembassy.org or www.mha.nic.in

7. Can application form be filled and submitted on line?

No. For the present, applications form has to be submitted by hand/mail to the Indian Mission/Post.

8. What documents have to be attached with the application?

The following documents shall be enclosed with each application:

(1) Three additional stamp size photographs

(2) Proof of citizenship of applicant(s)

(3) Evidence of self or parents or grand parents

(a) being eligible to become a citizen of India at the time of commencement of the Constitution; or

(b) belonging to a territory that became part of India after 15th August, 1947; or 

(c) being citizen of India on or after 26th January, 1950, 

these are :–

(i) Copy of the passport (or)

(ii) Copy of the domicile certificate issued by the Competent authority (or)

(iii) Any other proof (or)

(iv) Affidavit

(4) Evidence of relationship as parent/grand parent, if their Indian origin is
claimed as basis for grant of OCI.

(5) Proof of fee payment US$ 275/- for each applicant or equivalent in local currency (US$ 25/- or equivalent in local currency for each PIO card holder).

(6) PIO card holders must also submit a copy of their PIO card.

9. What documents would qualify for “Any other proof” for evidence of self or parents or grand parents being eligible for grant of OCI?

Any documentary evidence by which the officer equivalent to Under Secretary to the Government of India in the Indian Mission/Post can diligently arrive at the decision.

10. How many copies of application have to be submitted?
Application has to be submitted in duplicate.

11. Whether applicant(s) have to go in person to submit the application (s)?

No. Application (s) can be sent by post.

12. Do the applicant (s) have to take oath before the Counsel of the Indian Mission/Post?

No. Earlier provision in this regard has been done away with.

13. Where to submit the application?

To the Indian Mission/ Post of the country of citizenship of the applicant. If the applicant is not in the country of citizenship, to the Indian Mission/Post of the country where he is ordinarily residing. If the applicant is in India, to the FRRO Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkota or Amritsar or to CHIO, Chennai or to the Under Secretary, Citizenship section, Foreigners Division, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Jaisalmer House, 26, Mansingh Road, New Delhi-110011.

14. Can a person apply in the country where he is ordinarily residing?

Yes.

15. What are the consequences of furnishing wrong information or suppressing material information?

All the applications will be subject to pre or post enquiry depending on whether any adverse information is available or not. If the Government comes to the knowledge that any false information was furnished or material information was suppressed, the registration as OCI already granted shall be cancelled by an order under section 7D of the Citizenship Act, 1955. The persons will also be blacklisted banning his/her entry into India.


16. What is the fee for application for registration as OCI?

US$ 275/- or equivalent in local currency for each applicant. In case of PIO card holder, US $ 25 or equivalent in local currency for each applicant.

17. What is the time taken for registration as OCI?

Within 15 days of the application, if there is no adverse information available against the applicant. If any adverse information is available against the applicant, the decision to grant or otherwise is taken within 3 months

18. If the registration as OCI is not granted, what amount will be refunded?

An amount of US$ 250/- or equivalent in local currency shall be refunded, if registration is refused. US $ 25 is the processing fees, which is non-refundable.

19. Can a PIO cardholder apply?

Yes, provided he/she is otherwise eligible for grant of OCI like any other applicant.

20. Will the PIO Cardholder be granted OCI registration gratis?

No. He/she has to make a payment of US $ 25 or equivalent in local currency along with the application.

21. Will the PIO card be honored till the time they are valid even after acquisition of OCI?

No. The PIO card will have to be surrendered to Indian Mission/MHA for grant of OCI registration certificate and OCI ‘U’ visa sticker.

22. What will be issued after registration as OCI?

A registration certificate in prescribed format will be issued and a multiple entry, multi-purpose OCI ‘U’ visa sticker will be pasted on the foreign passport of the applicant. For this purpose, the applicant has to send the original passport to the Indian Mission/Post after receipt of the acceptance letter/OCI registration certificate. 

23. Will a separate OCI passport be issued?

No.

24. Will a duplicate certificate of registration as OCI be issued?

Yes. For this purpose, an application has to be made to the Indian Mission/Post with evidence for loss of certificate. In case of mutilated/damaged certificate an application has to be made enclosing the same. The applications in both the cases have to be made to the same Indian Mission/ Post which issued the certificate along with payment of fee of US$ 25/- or equivalent in local currency.

25. Will a new OCI visa sticker be issued on the new foreign passport after the expiry of the old passport?

Yes. On payment of requisite fee, a new OCI ‘U’ visa sticker will be issued. However, the applicant can continue to carry the old passport wherein OCI ‘U’ visa sticker was pasted along with new passport for visiting India without seeking a new visa, as the visa is for lifelong.

26. Will the applicant lose his citizenship after registering as OCI?

No. As only citizens of the country which allows dual citizenship under the local laws in some form or the other are eligible for applying for registration as OCI, losing foreign citizenship does not arise.

27. Can a person holding OCI travel to protected area/restricted area without permission?

No. He/she will be required to seek Protected Area Permit (PAP)/ Restricted Area Permit (RAP) for such visits.

28. Would the Indian civil/criminal laws be applicable to persons registered as OCI?

Yes. For the period, OCI is living in India.

29. Can a person registered as OCI be granted Indian citizenship?

Yes. As per the provisions of section 5(1) (g) of the Citizenship Act, 1955, a person who is registered as 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.


30. Will OCI be granted gratis to certain categories of people?

No.

31. Can OCI be granted to foreign nationals who are not eligible for OCI, but married to persons who are eligible for OCI?

No.

32. Will foreign-born children of PIOs be eligible to become OCI?

Yes, provided one of the parents is eligible to become OCI.

33. What are the benefits of OCI?

Following benefits will be allowed to OCI:

(a) Multi-purpose, multiple entry, lifelong visa for visiting India.

(b) Exemption from registration with local police authority for any length of stay in India. 

(c) Parity with NRIs in respect of economic, financial and education fields, except
in matters relating to the acquisition of agricultural/plantation properties.

34. Will any other benefit be granted to OCI?

Any other benefits to OCI will be notified by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) under Section 7B(1) of the Citizenship Act, 1955.

35. Whether the OCI is entitled to voting rights?

No.

36. Whether the OCI is entitled to hold a constitutional post in India?

No.

37. Whether the OCI is entitled to hold Government posts in India?

No, except for the posts specified by an order by the Central Government.


38. If a person is already holding more than one nationality, can he / she apply for OCI?

Yes, as long as the local laws of at least one of the countries allow dual citizenship in some form or other.

39. What are the advantages of OCI when compared to PIO cardholders?

(i) OCI is entitled to life long visa free travel to India whereas for PIO cardholder, it is for 15 years.

(ii) PIO cardholder is required to register with local Police authority for stay exceeding 180 days in India on any single visit whereas OCI is exempted from registration with Police authority for any length of stay in India.

40. Whether an OCI be entitled to apply for and obtain a normal Indian passport which is given to a citizen of India?

No. Indian Passport is given only to an Indian citizen.

41. Whether nationals of Commonwealth countries are eligible for OCI?

Yes, if they fulfill the eligibility criteria.

42. Can a person renounce OCI?

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 shall issue an acknowledgement in FormXXII A.

43. Do the applicants who have applied on the earlier prescribed application form have to apply again in the new form?

No. All such applications will be considered for registration as OCI without seeking fresh application and fee.

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