OCI Card Scheme
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OCI Card Scheme

 

OCI Scheme is operational from 02.12.2005

1. 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 as has been specified in the Brochure 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.

2. 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:

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 parity with NRIs in financial, economic and educational fields except in the acquisition of agricultural or plantation properties.

3. 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.

4. 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.

Brochure

1. Eligibility criteria:

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 an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI). Minor children of such persons 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. Foreign military personnel are not eligible for grant of OCI whether serving or retired

2. Application Form and Procedure:

A family consisting of spouses and upto two minor children can apply in the same Form i.e. Form XIX. This form can be filed online or downloaded from our website www.mha.nic.in.

The following documents must be enclosed in each application:

1. Proof of present citizenship

2. Evidence of self or parents or grand parents,

(a) Being eligible to become a citizen of India at the time of commencement of the Constitution; or

(b) Belonging to a territory that became part of India after 15th August, 1947; or

(c) Being citizen of India on or after 26th January, 1950

These could be:

i.Copy of the passport :or

ii.Copy of the domicile certificate issued by the Competent authority ;or

iii.Any other proof.

3. Evidence of relationship as parent/grand parent, if their Indian origin is claimed as basis for grant of OCI.

4. Application fee by way of a Demand Draft (US $ 275 for each applicant or equivalent in local currency; US $ 25 or equivalent in local currency for each PIO card holder)

5. PIO card holder should submit a copy of his/her PIO card.The application form, completed in all respects, along with enclosures should be submitted in duplicate 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 a 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, OCI Cell, Citizenship Section, Foreigners Division, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Jaisalmer House, 26 Mansingh Road, New Delhi-110011.

3. 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 an OCI within 30 days of application and the case shall be referred to MHA 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 an 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 the MHA shall be required before grant of registration. The MHA may approve or reject the grant of registration within 120 days from the date of the receipt of the application. If the grant of registration as an OCI is approved by the MHA, the Indian Mission/Post shall register the person as an OCI.If the application is filed in India, registration shall be granted byMHA by following the above procedure. After grant of registration, a registration certificate in the form of a booklet 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.

4. OCI for PIO Card Holders:

PIO card holders who are otherwise eligible for registration as an OCI may apply in the same Form i.e. Form XIX 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 US $ 25 or equivalent in local currency instead of US $ 275 as for a normal applicant. PIO card holder will have to surrender his/her PIO card after knowledge of acceptance of the application.

5. OCI for persons who have applied on the earlier prescribed application form:

All such applications will be considered for grant of an OCI on the same line as above, without seeking fresh application and fees.

6. 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 from visiting India.

7. Benefits to an OCI:

Following benefits will accrue to an OCI:

(i) A multiple entry, multi-purpose life long visa for visiting India.

(ii) Exemption from registration with local police authorities for any length of stay in India.

(iii) 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 an OCI will be notified by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) under Section 7B(1) of the Citizenship Act, 1955.

8. 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.

OCI/PIO card holders would require special permission to undertake research work in India in accordance with procedure laid down as in the issue of visas to regular applicants/foreign passport holders. PIO/OCI card does not automatically entitle the holder to undertake research work in India.

9. Dispensing with the requirement of ‘U’ Visa Sticker on the foreign passport of an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholder:

As per the extant procedure, while issuing the Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card to the foreign nationals who are eligible for such a card, a multiple lifelong ‘U’ (Universal) Visa Sticker is pasted on the foreign passport of such applicants.  The OCI cardholders are required to carry the OCI card as well as the foreign passport containing the ‘U’ visa sticker while they enter/exit India.    It has come to notice that many OCI cardholders do not carry the passport containing the ‘U’ visa sticker while they enter/exit India and consequently face problems at the immigration counter.

With the approval of the competent authority, it has been decided to dispense with the ‘U’ (Universal) visa sticker on the foreign passport of OCI cardholders with immediate effect and to modify the OCI registration certificate in the form booklet to provide for the endorsement “Visa Validity Lifelong”.

Accordingly, all Immigration authorities in the ICPs have been requested not to insist on production of the foreign passport containing the ‘U’ visa sticker in the case of new OCI cardholders (having  endorsement “Visa Validity Lifelong) while they enter/exit India and the immigration clearance may be granted based on production of the OCI card only.

10. Help Desk:   For any clarification/query on the scheme, please visit our website www.mha.nic.in or visit the website of the local Indian Mission/Post or contact the Indian Mission/Post or OCI Cell, Citizenship Section, Foreigners Division, Ministry of Home Affairs, Jaisalmer House, 26, Mansingh Road, New Delhi-110011.

COMPARATIVE CHART ON NRI/PIO CARD HOLDERS/OCI

 

NRI

PIO

PIO Card Holder

OCI

1. Who?

An Indian citizen who is ordinarily residing outside India and holds an Indian Passport

A person who or whose any of ancestors was an Indian national and who is presently holding another country’s citizenship/ nationality i.e., he/she is holding foreign passport

A person registered as PIO Card Holder under MHA’s scheme vide Notification No. 26011/4/98-F.I dated 19.08.2002.

A person registered as Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) under section 7A of the Citizenship Act, 1955

2. Who is eligible?

-

-

Any person who at any time held an Indian Passport; or he or either of his parents or grandparents was born in or was permanently resident in India as defined in Government of India Act, 1935 and other territories that became part of India thereafter provided neither was at any time a citizen of Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka; or who is a spouse of a citizen of India or a person of Indian origin as mentioned above.

A foreign national, who was eligible to become citizen of India on 26.01.1950 or was a citizen of India on or at any time 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.

3. How one can get?

-

-

Eligible persons to apply in the prescribed form along with enclosures. Form available on MHA’s website: www.mha.nic.in

Eligible persons to apply online/ download application form from MHA’s website: www.mha.nic.in

4. Where to apply?

-

-

To the Indian Mission/Post in the country where the applicant is ordinarily resident; If in India on long term visa (more than one year), to the FRRO, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Amritsar, CHIO, Chennai or to the Joint Secretary (Foreigners), MHA.

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 theFRRO at Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Amritsar, CHIO, Chennai or to the Under Secretary, OCI Cell, Citizenship Section, Foreigners Division, Ministry of Home Affairs, Jaisalmer House, 26, Mansingh Road, New Delhi-110011.

5. Fees?

-

-

Rs. 15,000/- or equivalent in local currency for adults. For the children upto the age of 18 years, the fee is Rs. 7500/- or equivalent in local currency.

US$ 275 or equivalent in local currency. In case of PIO Card holders, it is US $ 25 or equivalent in local currency.

6. Which nationals are eligible?

-

-

PIOs of all countries except Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka

PIOs of all countries except Pakistan and Bangladesh provided the country of nationality allows dual citizenship in some form or other under the local laws.

7. What benefits one is entitled to?

All benefits as available to Indian citizen subject to notifications issued by the Government from time to time.

No specific benefits.

(i) Shall not require a separate visa to visit India.
(ii) Will be exempt from the requirements of registration if his/her stay on any single visit in India does not exceed 180 days.
(iii) In the event of continuous stay in India exceeding 180 days, he/she shall have to get himself/ herself registered within 30 days of the expiry of 180 days with the concerned FRRO/FRO.
(iv) Parity with NRIs in respect of all facilities available to the later in the economic, financial and educational fields except in matters relating to the acquisition of agricultural/ plantation properties. No parity shall be allowed in the sphere of political rights.

(i) A multiple entry multi-purpose life ling visa for visiting India.
(ii) Exemption from registration with local police authority for any length of stay in India.
(iii) Parity with Non Resident Indians (NRIs) in respect of economic, financial and educational fields except in relation to acquisition of agricultural or plantation properties. No parity shall be allowed in the sphere of political rights.
Any other benefits to OCIs will be notified by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) under Section 7B(I) of the Citizenship Act, 1955.

8. Does he/ she require visa for visiting India?

No

Yes and of specific type depending on his/ her purpose of visit.

Can visit India without visa for 15 years from the date of issue of PIO Card.

Can visit India without visa for life long.

9. Is he required to register with local police authorities in India?

No

Yes

Yes, one time when the stay in India exceeds 180 days for the first time.

No

10. What activities can be undertaken in India?

All activities

Activity as specified in the visa

All activities except mountaineering, missionary and research work and existing PAP/RAP which require specific permit.

All activities except mountaineering, missionary and research work and existing PAP/RAP which require specific permit.

11. How can one acquire Indian citizenship?

He/she is an Indian citizen

As per Section 5(1) (a) & 5 (1) (c) of the Citizenship Act, he/she has to reside in India for minimum 7 years before making application for granting Indian citizenship

As per Section 5(1) (a) & 5 (1) (c) of the Citizenship Act, he/she has to reside in India for minimum 7 years before making application for granting Indian citizenship

Registered OCI may be granted Indian citizenship after 5 years from date of registration provided he/she stays for one year in India before making application

Registration

Click here to register online at Ministry of Home Affairs of India

Application fee

All applicants for OCI may please note that in future, applicants are requested to pay the OCI fees ( Sri Lankan Rs. 32,950.00) in advance along with Triplicate copies of filled in application forms and photocopies of all the documents. On approval, the applicants would be requested to come again with their Original documents for verification. Rejected applicants would be called to collect refund OCI fees amounting to Rs. 29,950.00, after deducting a sum of Rs.3000.00 as processing fee.

New OCI Fees are as under with immediate effect:-

a) Fresh Application : Rs. 32,950.00
b) Re issue of OCI cards and Misc. services  : Rs.3,250.00
c) Issue of duplicate OCI cards ,in case of loss / damage : Rs. 12,150.00

Extract from the Citizenship Act, 1955

OVERSEAS CITIZENSHIP OF INDIA-REGISTRATION AND RENUNCIATION

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.

7B. Conferment of rights on overseas citizens of India

(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, an overseas citizen of India shall be entitled to such rights other than the rights specified under sub-section(2) as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify in this behalf.

(2) An overseas citizen of India shall not be entitled to the rights conferred on a citizen of India-

(a) under article 16 of the Constitution with regard to equality of opportunity in matters of public employment;

(b) under article 58 of the Constitution for election as President;

(c) under article 66 of the Constitution for election of Vice-President;

(d) under article 124 of the Constitution for appointment as a Judge of the Supreme Court;

(e) under article 217 of the Constitution for appointment as a Judge of the High Court;

(f) under section 16 of the Representation of the People Act, 1950(43 of 1950) in regard to registration as a voter;

(g) under sections 3 and 4 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 (43 of 1951) with regard to the eligibility for being a member of the House of the People or of the Council of States, as the case may be;

(h) under section 5, 5A and 6 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 (43 of 1951) with regard to the eligibility for being a member of the Legislative Assembly or a Legislative Council, as the case may be, of a State;

(i) for appointment to public services and posts in connection with the affairs of the Union or of any State except for appointment in such services and posts as the Central Government may by special order in that behalf specify.

(3) Every notification issued under sub-section (1) shall be laid before each House of Parliament.

 

7C. Renunciation of overseas citizenship.-

(1) If any overseas citizen of India of full age and capacity makes in the prescribed manner a declaration renouncing his overseas citizenship of India, the declaration shall be registered by the Central Government, and; upon such registration, that person shall cease to be an overseas citizen of India.

(2) Where a person ceases to be an overseas citizen of India under subsection (1), every minor child of that person registered as an overseas citizen of India, shall thereupon cease to be an overseas citizen of India.

7D. Cancellation of registration as overseas citizen of India.-

The Central Government may, by order, cancel the registration granted under sub-section(1) of section 7A if it is satisfied that-

(a) the registration as an overseas citizen of India was obtained by means of fraud, false representation or the concealment of any material fact; or

(b) the overseas citizen of India has shown disaffection towards the Constitution of India as by law established; or

(c) the overseas citizen of India has, during any war in which India may be engaged, unlawfully traded or communicated with an enemy or been engaged in, or associated with, any business or commercial activity that was to his knowledge carried on in such manner as to assist an enemy in that war; or

(d) the overseas citizen of India has, within five years after registration under sub-section(1) of section 7A has been sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less than two years; or

(e) it is necessary so to do in the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of India, friendly relations of India with any foreign country, or in the interests of the general public.

Extract from the Citizenship Rules, 1956

OVERSEAS CITIZENSHIP OF INDIA-REGISTRATION AND RENUNCIATION

25A. Eligibility for registration as overseas citizen of India – No person, who is citizen of another country, shall be eligible for registration as an overseas citizen of India, if that country does not permit dual citizenship in some form or the other.

25B. Application for registration under section 7A – An application for registration by a person as an overseas citizen of India under section 7A shall be made in Form XIX. A family consisting of spouses and upto two minor children can apply in the same form.

25C. Authority to which applications are to be made - The applications shall be submitted in duplicate,-

(a) In India -

(i) to the Foreigners Regional Registration Officer Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Amritsar and Chief Immigration Officer, Chennai, who shall transmit the applications to the Ministry of Home Affairs; or

(ii) to the Foreigners Division, Ministry of Home Affairs;

(b) outside India-

(i) to the Indian Mission or Post having jurisdiction over the country of which an applicant is a citizen; or

(ii) where he is not in the country of his citizenship, to the Indian Mission or Post having jurisdiction over the country of which the applicant is ordinarily resident.

25D. Authority to register as an overseas citizen - The authority on behalf of the Government of India to register a person as an overseas citizen of India under section 7A shall be an officer not below the rank of an Under Secretary to the Government of India in the Ministry of Home Affairs or an officer of equivalent rank in the Indian Mission or Post abroad or any such other officer as may be specified by the Central Government, by a notification in the Official Gazette.

25E. Scrutiny of applications- (1) After preliminary scrutiny, if there is no adverse information available against the applicant, the authority shall register the person as an overseas citizen of India as soon as possible but not later than two weeks and the case shall be placed for post verification of the antecedents. (2) If there is any adverse information against the applicant, prior approval of the Central Government in the Ministry of Home Affairs shall be required before grant of registration and the Central Government may approve or reject the grant of registration within a period of three months from the date of receipt of application.

25F. Application for registration under section 7A by PIO card holders- “Person of Indian Origin Card” holder, notified vide Government of India in the Ministry of Home Affairs Notification number F.No. 26011/4/98-IC-I dated 30th March, 1999 and published in the Official Gazette in Part I, section 1 dated the 30th March, 1999 and subsequently amended vide notification No. 26011/4/98-F.I dated 19th August, 2002, who is otherwise eligible for registration as overseas citizen of India may apply in Form XIX and be considered for grant of registration in the same manner as other applicants.

25G. Certificate of registration to be granted to persons registered, and register of persons registered under section 7A –

(1) Every person who is registered as an overseas citizen of India under section 7A shall be issued a certificate of registration in Form XX, duly signed by an officer not below the rank of an Under Secretary to the Government of India or by such other officer as may be specified by the Central Government, by a notification in the Official Gazette.

(2) When a certificate is issued under sub-rule (1), a duplicate copy thereof shall be prepared and preserved for record by the issuing authority.

(3) There shall be kept by the issuing authority, a register containing names of the persons registered as overseas citizen of India under section 7A in Form XXI.

(4) The issuing authority shall transmit the details in Form XXI, to the Ministry of Home Affairs in the first week of every subsequent month.

25H. Declaration of renunciation of overseas citizenship –

(1) A declaration of renunciation of overseas citizenship under section 7C shall be made in Form XXII.

(2) The declaration shall be registered in the office of the issuing authority.

(3) On receipt of such declaration, the issuing authority shall issue an acknowledgement in Form XXII A and strike off such name from the register in Form XXI.

25I. Cancellation of registration as overseas citizen –

(1) There shall be kept by the issuing authority, a register containing names of persons whose registration as overseas citizen of India was cancelled under section 7D in Form XXII B.

(2) The issuing authority shall transmit the details in Form XXII B, to the Ministry of Home Affairs in the first week of every subsequent month.

Citizenship (Amendment) Ordinance, 2015 Promulgated

The President of India has Promulgated the Citizenship (Amendment) Ordinance, 2015 on January 06, 2015 with immediate effect which provides for the following amendments to the Indian Citizen Act, 1955:

· At present one year continuous stay in India is mandatory for Indian citizenship which is relaxed stating that if the Central Government is satisfied that special circumstances exist, it may, after recording such circumstances in writing, relax the period of twelve months specified upto a maximum of thirty days which may be in different breaks.

· To enable for registration as Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) by a minor, whose parents are Indian citizens.

· To enable for registration as Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) by a child, or a grand-child or a great grandchild of such a citizen.

· To enable for registration as Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) by such spouse of a citizen of India or spouse of an OCI registered under section 7A 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 under this section.

· In respect of existing PIO cards holders, vide central government notification in Official Gazette dated 9th January 2015 all existing PIO card holders will be deemed to be OCI card holders.

The Indian Citizenship Act, 1955 provides for acquisition, termination, deprivation, determination of Indian Citizenship and other related aspects. The Act provides for acquisition of Indian citizenship by birth, descent, registration, naturalization and incorporation of territory under certain circumstances, and also for the termination and deprivation of citizenship. For further details please visit - http://mha1.nic.in/pdfs/GazetteofIndia_0901.pdf.

 

 


 

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