The Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) is a life long permanent residency visa available to people of Indian origin and their spouses which allows them to live and work in India indefinitely. The OCI card must be accompanied by foreign passport as primary travel document. The OCI itself is not a citizenship or passport. As of March 2021, OCI card holders are not required to carry old and expired passports.
The OCI Cardholder (including a PIO cardholder) is a foreign national holding passport of a foreign country and is not a citizen of India.
(i) Multiple entry, multi-purpose life long visa to visit India;
(ii) Exemption from reporting to Police authorities for any length of stay in India; and
(iii) Parity with NRIs in financial, economic and educational fields except in the acquisition of agricultural or plantation properties.
(iv) exemption from registration with the Foreigners Regional Registration Officer or Foreigners Registration Officer for any length of stay in India
(v) parity with Indian nationals in the matter of,- (i) tariffs in air fares in domestic sectors in India; and (ii) entry fees to be charged for visiting national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, the national monuments, historical sites and museums in India;
(vi) parity with Non-Resident Indians in the matter of,- (i) inter-country adoption of Indian children subject to the compliance of the procedure as laid down by the competent authority for such adoption; (ii) appearing for the all India entrance tests such as National Eligibility cum Entrance Test, Joint Entrance Examination (Mains), Joint Entrance Examination (Advanced) or such other tests to make them eligible for admission only against any Non-Resident Indian seat or any supernumerary seat: Provided that the OCI cardholder shall not be eligible for admission against any seat reserved exclusively for Indian citizens; (iii) purchase or sale of immovable properties other than agricultural land or farm house or plantation property; and (iv) pursuing the following professions in India as per the provisions contained in the applicable relevant statutes or Acts as the case may be, namely:- (a) doctors, dentists, nurses and pharmacists; (b) advocates; (c) architects; (d) chartered accountants;
(vii) in respect of all other economic, financial and educational fields not specified in this notification or the rights and privileges not covered by the notifications made by the Reserve Bank of India under the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (42 of 1999), the OCI cardholder shall have the same rights and privileges as a foreigner.
(viii) Eligible for appointment of teaching faculty in IIT, IIM, NIT, IISc and AIMMS etc.
Who can Apply for OCI?
A foreign national, –
(i) who was a citizen of India at the time of, or at any time after 26th January, 1950; or
(ii) who was eligible to become a citizen of India on 26th January, 1950; or
(iii) who belonged to a territory that became part of India after 15th August, 1947; or
(iv) who is a child or a grandchild or a great grandchild of such a citizen; or (v) who is a minor child of such persons mentioned above; or
(vi) who is a minor child and whose both parents are citizens of India or one of the parents is a citizen of India – is eligible for registration as OCI cardholder.
Besides, spouse of foreign origin of a citizen of India or spouse of foreign origin of an Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder and whose marriage has been registered and subsisted for a continuous period of not less than two years immediately preceding the presentation of the application is also eligible for registration as OCI cardholder.
However, no person, who or either of whose parents or grandparents or great grandparents 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 Cardholder.
Foreign nationals cannot apply for OCI in India while on Tourist Visa, Missionary Visa and Mountaineering Visa. Moreover, the foreigner has to be ordinarily resident of India to be eligible to apply for OCI registration in India.
Note: ‘ordinarily resident’ will mean a person staying in a particular country or in India for a continuous period of 6 months.
How to Apply?
Apply online: https://ociservices.gov.in/
Gazette of India notification No. 962 dated 04.03.2021 (F. No. 26011/CC/05/2018-OCI) regarding OCI cardholders
Does OCI allow dual citizenship?
Can i apply for OCI without renouncing Indian citizenship?
No you cant. You have to provide proof of cancelled indian passport when applying for OCI at missions abroad. After the Renunciation of Indian Citizenship, it is necessary to apply for Surrender or a Renunciation certificate.
The Indian Citizenship Act, 1955, does not allow dual citizenship. Holding Indian passport/acquiring Indian passport/travelling on Indian passport after acquisition of foreign citizenship constitutes an offence under the Indian Passport Act, 1967, and attracts penalties. The Government of India has prescribed imposition of penalty on a graded scale, depending on number of trips made on Indian passport after acquiring foreign nationality, for the violation of Passport Rules and retention of Indian Passport for more than 3 years after acquiring of foreign nationality.
As per the Passports Act 1967, it is mandatory for all Indian passport holders to surrender their passports to the nearest Indian Mission/Post immediately after acquisition of foreign nationality. Misuse of Indian passports constitutes an offence under Section 12(1A) of the Passports Act 1967.
|1.||Passport not surrendered up to three years and not used for travel after obtaining foreign passport.||No penalty||—|
|2.||Passport not surrendered up to three years and travelled once after obtaining foreign passport.||No penalty for retention of passport but penalty of Rs. 10,000/- for travel on Indian passport||12(1A)|
|3.||Passport not surrendered up to three years and travelled more than once after obtaining foreign passport.||No penalty for retention of passport but penalty of Rs. 10,000/- for each travel on Indian passport (aggregate penalty on travel not to exceed Rs. 50,000/-)||12(1A)|
|4.||Passport not surrendered for over three years and used for travel after obtaining foreign passport||Penalty of Rs. 10,000/- for retention of passport and penalty of Rs. 10,000/- for each travel on Indian passport (aggregate penalty on travel not to exceed Rs. 50,000/-).||12(1A)|
|5.||Renewal/re-issue of Indian passport and travelling on it after acquiring foreign nationality||(i) Rs. 25,000/- for each renewal/re-issue and, (ii) Rs. 10,000/- for each travel on Indian passport (aggregate penalty on travel not to exceed Rs. 50,000/-)|
What are the restrictions for OCI holders?
- Cannot vote in Legislative assembly/council or parliament
- Cannot hold constitutional or public office posts
- Cannot acquire agricultural land or plantations in India
- Cannot undertake research, missionary, journalism, mountaineering, and tabligh services without prior permission
- Prior permission or permit required to visit protected areas.
Can stateless people apply for OCI?
Can diplomats register for OCI?
No, diplomats holding foreign passports cannot register for OCI
How to renew OCI cards?
OCI card has to be reissued each time new passport is issued for upto 20 years of age and after 50 years of age to capture biometrics.
What is the difference between NRI and OCI?
NRI: Non resident Indian
OCI: Overseas citizen of India
|Residency||Lives outside India||Lives abroad|
|Citizenship||Indian national||Foreign national|
|Taxation||Stays of 182 days (income tax). Also subjected to Double taxation||Taxed based on 182 days or more|
|Dual citizenship||Not allowed||Allowed|
Can OCI apply for Indian citizenship?
Yes, provided they held OCI status for 5 years and ordinarily resident in India for 12 months before application.