Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI)
May 1, 2021
The Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) is a life-long Permanent Residency Visa available to people of Indian origin and their spouses. It allows them to live and work in India indefinitely.
The OCI itself is not a citizenship or passport. The OCI cardholder (including a PIO cardholder) is a foreign national holding the passport of a foreign country and is not a citizen of India. As of March 2021, OCI Card holders are not required to carry old and expired passports.
An OCI can be applied for by a foreign national (citizen) who –
- Was a citizen of India at the time of, or at any time after 26th January 1950, or
- Was eligible to become a citizen of India on 26th January 1950, or
- Belonged to a territory that became a 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 and whose both parents are citizens of India or one of the parents is a citizen of India
- Spouse of foreign origin of a Citizen of India or an OCI cardholder, whose marriage has been registered and has existed for a continuous period of not less than 2 years
However, a person cannot become an OCI cardholder if their parent or grandparent or great-grandparent is or had been a citizen of Pakistan or Bangladesh. Also, a foreign national cannot apply for an OCI in India while on a Tourist visa, Missionary visa and Mountaineering visa.
The major benefits that an OCI Card bestows on its holder are as follows :
- It is a multiple-entry life-long visa to enter India
- An OCI Card holder is exempt from reporting to Police authorities for any length of stay in India
- You can undertake any activity in the financial, economic and educational fields except acquire agricultural or plantation properties or farm house
- You do not have to register with the Foreigners Regional Registration Officer (FRRO) for any length of stay in India
- You will have parity with Indian nationals in the matter of air fares in domestic sectors in India and entry fees to be charged for visiting national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, national monuments, historical sites and museums in India
- You will have parity with NRIs in the matter of inter-country adoption of children
- You will have parity with NRIs in the matter of appearing for the all India entrance tests such as JEE (Mains), JEE (Advanced) or any other such National Eligibility or Entrance Tests, provided that the OCI cardholder shall not be eligible for admission against any seat reserved exclusively for Indian citizens
- You can pursue the professions of doctor, dentist, nurse, pharmacist, advocate, architect and chartered accountant in India as per the provisions contained in the applicable relevant statutes or Acts
- You are eligible for appointment of teaching faculty in IIT, IIM, NIT, IISc and AIMMS, etc
India does not allow dual citizenship. Hence, any Indian citizen who applies for and is granted Citizenship of a foreign country must renounce their Indian citizenship & Passport, and subsequently can apply for an OCI card subject to meeting the above mentioned criteria.
Applying for Residency or Citizenship of another country does not only entail complying with laws of jurisdictions in which you acquire Residency or Citizenship, but also involves ensuring that you comply with all laws of the country of which you are currently a citizen of or are a tax resident. Contact Us to ensure that you apply for any program in conformity with all relevant laws.