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 (OCI). 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.

How long does it take to get OCI approval

OCI Registration Certificate and Visa are normally said to be available for delivery within 42 days from the date of acknowledgment. In case you have been waiting longer than 42 days from the date of acknowledgement here is some information to consider. The 42 days mentioned are from the date of acknowledgement and NOT from the date you submit your online OCI application. While 42 days is perhaps a general guideline, a few days over can occur due to volume of applications. Further delays are mostly caused due to lack of complete documentation. If there are any objections regarding Photographs/Signature/Thumb impression etc., the process may get delayed and a communication is sent to applicant by the concerned Mission/ Office via OCI web site/ SMS/ Email/ Phone etc. If further documentation is requested by the OCI authority then applicants should submit as soon as possible to prevent further delays. In case no notification has been received and you have not received your OCI, check your email or contact info you provided in your application to ensure you have not missed any mail requesting information relating to your application. Check your OCI application status on-line and if it continues to say under process, you may have to contact the appropriate office.  
OCI CARD - U VISA

OCI REGISTRATION - LIFELONG VISA FOR INDIA

Excerpts from The NRI Guide published with approval of the author - All rights reserved - Copyright THE NRI GUIDE 2012/2013 Benefits of OCI   Next Page >>> Complete OCI Information Dual Citizenship Passports
Some OCI holders still need to Renew OCI
Despite new OCI announcements in January, 2015 dispensing with the requirement to carry the old passport where U visa was pasted along with new passport when entering or exiting from India. Some OCI holders still need to apply for fresh OCI documents when their current passport expires and they apply for a new passport.
Requirement to Renew OCI
more info
To apply for OCI now you MUST have Surrender Certificate
Transfer of OCI Visa to New Passport is not required as of January 29, 2015. 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
Update!
Persons of some categories even if the meet the basic criteria of eligibility may NOT be eligible. More info
Foreign govt employees may not be eligible for OCI.
Recent Changes to OCI 	The OCI 'U' visa sticker will no longer be pasted on the passports of OCI cardholders 	OCI Booklet will be proof of OCI status  	When traveling to India, OCI holders should carry their OCI booklet and valid passport
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Overseas Citizen of India (OCI)

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 (OCI). By virtue of the Citizenship Act 1955, section 7A, foreign citizens who met the guidelines of being deemed to be of Indian origin, are now 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. Requirement to Renew OCI Some OCI holders still need to Renew OCI Despite new OCI announcements in January, 2015 dispensing with the requirement to carry the old passport where U visa was pasted along with new passport when entering or exiting from India. Some OCI holders still need to apply for fresh OCI documents when their current passport expires and they apply for a new passport. 

Foreign govt employees may not be eligible

for OCI.

Persons of some categories even if the meet the basic criteria of eligibility may NOT be eligible. More info

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. How long does it take to get OCI approval OCI Registration Certificate and Visa are normally said to be available for delivery within 42 days from the date of acknowledgment. In case you have been waiting longer than 42 days from the date of acknowledgement here is some information to consider. The 42 days mentioned are from the date of acknowledgement and NOT from the date you submit your online OCI application. While 42 days is perhaps a general guideline, a few days over can occur due to volume of applications. Further delays are mostly caused due to lack of complete documentation. If there are any objections regarding Photographs/Signature/Thumb impression etc., the process may get delayed and a communication is sent to applicant by the concerned Mission/ Office via OCI web site/ SMS/ Email/ Phone etc. If further documentation is requested by the OCI authority then applicants should submit as soon as possible to prevent further delays. In case no notification has been received and you have not received your OCI, check your email or contact info you provided in your application to ensure you have not missed any mail requesting information relating to your application. Check your OCI application status on-line and if it continues to say under process, you may have to contact the appropriate office. 

Benefits of OCI   Next Page >>>

OCI CARD - U VISA

OCI REGISTRATION

LIFELONG VISA FOR INDIA

Excerpts from The NRI Guide published with approval of the author - All rights reserved - Copyright THE NRI GUIDE Complete OCI Information Dual Citizenship Passports next previous
more info
To apply for OCI now you MUST have Surrender Certificate
Transfer of OCI Visa to New Passport is not required as of January 29, 2015. Everyone applying for OCI now must have proof of Renunciation of Indian citizenship such as a passport ‘Surrender Certificate’ Detailed information on Renunciation & Passport Surrender is provided here
Update!
Easier OCI application process coming. No mailing of documents simply upload on-line
 OCI Application to get easier
New! Recent Changes to OCI 	The OCI 'U' visa sticker will no longer be pasted on the passports of OCI cardholders 	OCI Booklet will be proof of OCI status  	When traveling to India, OCI holders should carry their OCI booklet and valid passport A Book for all NRIs - PIO - OCI Information at your fingertips! To help non-residents understand and deal with various issues in India
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