Overseas Citizen of India (OCI)
Persons of Indian origin settled abroad, have persistently demanded dual nationality for several
years from the Indian government. However, as the Constitution of India, does not allow holding
Indian citizenship and citizenship of a foreign
country at the same time. Dual citizenship has not
been a awarded to former Indian citizens. After
repeated demands from persons of Indian origin, the
Government of India on 2.12.2005 announced the start of the Overseas Citizen of India scheme
By virtue of the Citizenship Act 1955,
section 7A, foreign citizens who met the
guidelines of being deemed to be of
Indian origin, where allowed to register as
'Overseas Citizens of India'. This is
commonly referred to by some people as dual citizenship. However OCI is not dual
citizenship of India. Registration as an OCI provides the registrant, with an Indian visa for
life, and some other specified benefits.
Excerpt from Citizenship Act, 1955 Section 7A (Extract from the
Citizenship Act, 1955)
7A. Registration of overseas citizens of India.- The Central Government may, subject to such
conditions and restrictions as may be prescribed, on an application made in this behalf,
register as an overseas citizen of India- (a) any person of full age and capacity,-
(i) who is citizen of another country, but was a citizen of India at the time of, or at any time after, the commencement of the Constitution; or
(ii) who is citizen of another country, but was eligible to become a citizen of India at the time of the commencement of the Constitution; or
(iii) who is citizen of another country, but belonged to a territory that become part of India after the 15th day of August, 1947; or
(iv) who is a child or a grand-child of such a citizen; or
(b) a person, who is a minor child of a person mentioned in clause (a):
Provided that no person, who 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, shall be eligible for registration as an overseas citizen of India.
OCI is not dual citizenship
There was initially some confusion created when OCI was announced. Some people
assumed that OCI meant that they would be able to become dual citizens, get Indian
citizenship and an Indian passport.
OCI however, did not mean dual citizenship but allowed the benefit of visa free, lifetime
travel to India, along with certain benefits by which OCI holders would be treated at par,
with other non-resident Indian citizens in economic, financial and educational fields.
Persons registered as OCI are not given Indian passports. OCI holders are given a
passport like booklet that may look like a passport, but is basically a ceremonial document.
This document, while it shows that the holder is registered as an overseas citizen of India, is not a valid travel document and is not accepted as a
travel document at Indian airports. It is a requirement that those traveling to India must have their foreign passport, on which the OCI 'U' visa is
stamped with them or they can be denied entry.
The Indian government has clarified, via announcements and notices on their consulate websites, that OCI should not be confused as Indian
citizenship. Some people however, still seem to think of OCI as dual citizenship. An OCI card is similar to a US. "green card" in that a holder can
travel to and from India indefinitely, work in India, study in India, and own property in India (except for certain agricultural and plantation
properties). OCI holders, however, do not receive an Indian passport, cannot vote in Indian elections, and are not permitted to work in any capacity
for the government of India.
OCI REGISTRATION - LIFELONG VISA FOR INDIA
To apply for OCI now you MUST
have Surrender Certificate
Everyone applying for OCI now must have
proof of Renunciation of Indian citizenship
such as a passport ‘Surrender Certificate’
Detailed information on Renunciation and
Passport Surrender is provided here