According to a recent change in law, the Government of India announced that Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders are no longer required to have their OCI cards re-issued each time they obtain a new passport. Further, new rules and requirements have been introduced to the OCI Card scheme as discussed below.
What is an OCI Card?
OCI is a permanent residency category available to people of Indian origin and their spouses that allows them to live and work in India indefinitely. OCI cardholders benefit from visa-free travel to India and exemptions from other formal registration rules with the FRRO/FRO as required for other visa holders, among other benefits.
The new rules for OCI cardholders to update their information on the OCI online portal reduce the administrative burden on OCI cardholders, who previously needed to apply for new OCI cards. The new rules are as follows:
- OCI cardholders under the age of 20 no longer need to obtain a new OCI card when their passport is renewed.
- OCI cardholders must obtain a new OCI card the first time their passport is renewed after they reach the age of 20. After that, they do not need to obtain a new OCI card when their passport is renewed.
- OCI cardholders who are aged 50 or older no longer need to obtain a new OCI card when they acquire a new passport.
- OCI cardholders are at par with Indian citizens in the matters of tariffs in airfares in Indian domestic sectors and entry fees for visiting Indian national parks, museums, wildlife sanctuaries, national monuments, and historical sites
- OCIs must procure special permission (or a special permit) to undertake the following activities:
- Research or journalistic activities;
- Missionary or Tabligh activities;
- Internships or employment with offices of any India based foreign diplomatic missions or foreign government organizations;
- Visit any place in India notified by the Central government (or by any competent authority) as a protected or restricted or prohibited place or area;
- The special permission or permit is to be granted by a specified relevant authority, or the FRRO, or the concerned Indian Mission.
OCI Card New Requirements
These new requirements apply to all new OCI card applicants and are as follows:
- OCI cardholders 20 years of age or younger must upload copies of their new passports with recent passport-size photographs to the OCI online portal each time a new passport is issued, and once after reaching 50 years of age.
- OCI cardholders married to Indian citizens or other OCI cardholders who obtain a new passport must upload a copy of their passport with a recent photograph and a declaration that they are still married.
- Updated documents and photographs may be uploaded by OCI cardholders within three months of receipt of the new passport.
- There are no travel restrictions from the date the new passport is issued until new details are recorded on the OCI portal.
Frequently asked questions
VFS Global is a commercial company, working in partnership for the Indian Embassy to provide support services to people applying for Indian Passport, Consular services, Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) and Visa related services.
The OCI Card application is made online. After filling up the online OCI application, the applicant will have to print their application and submit their forms, supporting documents and fees to their closest VFS Centre. The published processing time for an OCI Card is a minimum of 4-6 weeks.
The supporting documents will depend on your circumstances and how you qualify for an OCI Card. Some of the supporting documents may include:
Evidence of Indian origin either through a birth certificate, parent’s Indian origin along with a birth certificate or spouse’s Indian origin along with a marriage certificate (whichever applies);
Evidence of your identity;
Evidence of your UK address;
Proof of employment/self-employment (if applicable).
A new OCI Card will cost £200 for each application plus a VFS Service fee of £7.44. Mode of payment could be Cash, Credit/ Debit Card, Postal order or Bank draft payable to VF Services UK Ltd.
You have to book an appointment through the website of the Indian High Commission.
Yes, we can assist you with preparing and submitting your application form and supporting documents. Contact our experienced team on 02087575751 or fill in our online contact form.
Applicants who are not found eligible for OCI will be refunded the admissible amount after deducting the necessary administration costs.