Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI)
Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) Scheme
The Constitution of India does not allow holding Indian citizenship and citizenship of a foreign country simultaneously. Based on the recommendation of the High Level committee on Indian Diaspora, the Government of India decided to grant Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) commonly known as ‘Dual Citizenship’. Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) of certain category who migrated from India and acquired citizenship of a foreign country other than Pakistan and Bangladesh, are eligible for grant of OCI as long as their home countries allow dual citizenship in some form or the other under their local laws.
Persons registered as OCI have not been given any voting rights, election to Lok Sabha / Rajya Sabha / Legislative Assembly / Council, holding Constitutional posts such as President, Vice President, Judge of Supreme Court / High Court etc. Registered OCIs shall be entitled to following benefits:
- Multiple entry, multi-purpose life long visa to visit India;
- Exemption from reporting to Police authorities for any length of stay in India; and
- Parity with NRIs in financial, economic and educational fields except in the acquisition of agricultural or plantation properties.
Any further benefits to OCIs will be notified by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) under section 7B(1) of the Citizenship Act, 1955.
A person registered as OCI is eligible to apply for grant of Indian citizenship under section 5(1)(g) of the Citizenship Act, 1955 if he/she is registered as OCI for five years and has been residing in India for one year out of the five years before making the application.
A foreign national, who was eligible to become citizen of India on 26.01.1950 or was a citizen of India on or at anytime after 26.01.1950 or belonged to a territory that became part of India after 15.08.1947 and his/her children and grand children, provided his/her country of citizenship allows dual citizenship in some form or other under the local laws, is eligible for registration as Overseas Citizen of India (OCI). Minor children of such person are also eligible for OCI. However, if the applicant had ever been a citizen of Pakistan or Bangladesh, he/she will not be eligible for OCI. If both parents hold Indian nationality, minor children are not eligible for OCI card.
Application form and procedure
A family consisting of spouses and upto two minor children can apply in the same Form i.e. Form 20.
The application form completed in all respects along with enclosures should be submitted to the Indian Mission/Post of the country of applicant’s citizenship or where he/she is not in the country of citizenship to the Indian mission/post of the country in which he/she is ordinarily resident. If the applicant is in India, he/she can apply to the Foreigners Regional Registration Officer (FRRO) at Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkota or Amritsar or Chief Immigration Officer (CHIO) Chennai or to the Under Secretary, Citizenship Section, Foreigners Division, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Jaisalmer House, 26 Mansingh Road, New Delhi-110011.
On Line Application/Registration
The applicants need to register for Overseas Citizenship online (w.e.f. 2.12.2005) at MHA's website (www.mha.nic.in ) . The online OCI Registration Form has two parts - Part A and Part B. Part A is to be filled in for each applicant of the family and Part B is common to all applicants of the family. Part A can be submitted online where upon a Reference Number would be generated and it can be printed along with Part B and submitted to the Indian Mission/Post or appropriate office in India along with requisite documents and fees.
Procedure for granting registration
After preliminary scrutiny, if there is no adverse information available against the applicant, the Indian Mission/Post shall register a person as OCI within 15 days of application and the case shall be referred to Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), New Delhi for post verification of the antecedents of the applicant. If during the post verification, any adverse information comes to the knowledge of the MHA, the registration as OCI already granted by the Indian Mission/Post shall be cancelled by an order under section 7 D of the Citizenship Act,1955.
After preliminary scrutiny, if there is any adverse information against the applicant, prior approval of MHA, New Delhi shall be required before grant of registration. MHA may approve or reject the grant of registration within 90 days from the date of the receipt of the application. If the grant of registration as OCI is approved by MHA, the Indian Mission/Post shall register the person as OCI.
If the application is filed in India, registration shall be granted by MHA by following the above procedure.
After grant of registration, a registration certificate in the prescribed format will be issued and a multiple entry, multi-purpose life long OCI ‘U” visa sticker will be pasted on the foreign passport of the applicant.
OCI for PIO card holders
PIO card holders who are otherwise eligible for registration as OCI may apply in the same Form i.e. Form 20 and they will be considered for grant of registration in the same manner as other applicants. PIO card holders have to pay a fee of Syrian Pounds 8650 instead of Syrian Pounds 16400 for normal applicant. PIO card holders will have to surrender his/her PIO card after issuance of acceptance of application and before grant of OCI registration certificate/visa.
Cancellation of OCI registration
If it has been found that the registration as an OCI was obtained by means of fraud, false representation or concealment of any material fact or the registered OCI has shown disaffection towards the Constitution of India or comes under any of the provisions of section 7D of the Citizenship Act, the registration of such person will not only be cancelled forthwith but he/she will also be blacklisted for visiting India.
Benefits to OCI
Following benefits will accrue to OCI:
- A multiple entry, multi-purpose life long visa for visiting India.
- Exemption from registration with local police authority for any length of stay in India.
- Parity with Non-resident Indians (NRIs) in respect of economic, financial and educational fields except in relation to acquisition of agricultural or plantation properties.
Any other benefits to OCIs will be notified by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) under Section 7B(1) of the Citizenship Act, 1955.
Benefits to which OCI is not entitled to
The OCI is not entitled to vote, be a member of Legislative Assembly or Legislative Council or Parliament, cannot hold constitutional posts such as President, Vice President, Judge of Supreme Court or High Court etc. and he/she cannot normally hold employment in the Government.
For any clarification/query on the scheme, please visit the website www.mha.nic.in or contact the Indian Mission/Post or Citizenship Section, Foreigners Division, Ministry of Home Affairs, Jaisalmer House, 26, Mansingh Road, New Delhi-110011.
*Note : All fees are to be paid in Syrian Pounds in Cash at the Counter along with application. Fees once paid are not refunded, even if the application is withdrawn or the service refused for whatsoever reason.