According to the Republic of India, Ministry of External Affairs report, there are 32 million non-resident indians (NRIs) and persons of indian origin residing outside of India. Many of these people would like to visit or return to India for extended periods of time, and can do so by obtaining an Indian Overseas Citizenship (OCI) card. The OCI is a multi-purpose visa that is valid for life. OCI cardholders are not required to record the length of their stay in India to authorities, and their status is not dependent on employment status.

Citizenship Amendment Act of 2005

Since 2005, the Republic of India provides people of Indian origin and their spouses with the opportunity to apply for an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card. The OCI card provides many benefits to the bearer, including:

  • A life long visa to visit, live and work in India
  • Parity with Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) in financial, economic and educational fields (an OCI Cardholder can purchase and own any type of property, except agricultural or plantation properties)
  • Same entry fees as any domestic Indian visitor to visit national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in India
  • Parity with NRIs in respect of entry fees to be charged for visiting the national monuments, historical sites and museums in India
  • Pursuing the following professions in India (doctors, dentists, nurses and pharmacists, lawyers, architects, and chartered accountants)
  • Parity with NRIs 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)
  • Exemption from reporting to Police authorities for any length of stay in India

Who Is Eligible for OCI?

You may be eligible for OCI if any of the following conditions apply:

  • You were a citizen of India at any time between now and January 26, 1950.
  • You were a citizen of a territory that became part of India after August 15, 1947.
  • You were eligible to become a citizen of India on January 26, 1950.
  • You are the child or grandchild of an individual to whom any of the above conditions applied.
  • You are a child with one parent who is a citizen of India.
  • 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.
  • Parity with NRIs 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)

A person registered as an OCI Cardholder is eligible to apply for grant of Indian citizenship under section 5(1) (g) of The Citizenship Act, 1955 if he/she has attained full age (18 year) and if he/she is registered as OCI Cardholder for five years and is ordinarily resident in India for twelve months before making an application for registration. Central Government, if it is satisfied that special circumstances exist, may after recording the circumstances in writing, relax the period of twelve months, up to a maximum of thirty days which may be in different breaks.

To Apply for an OCI Card:

 Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, Overseas Citizen of India Scheme

Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder

Online OCI Services, Government of India, New OCI Registration

Please note: check your nearest Indian Consular Services office or website for more information related to the OCI application process.

By Deckard

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *