The Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) is a significant program that allows foreign nationals of Indian origin to maintain a strong connection with India. However, many questions arise regarding eligibility, benefits, and the application process for OCI. In this blog post, we aim to provide clear answers to the top 10 frequently asked questions about the OCI program.
Who is eligible to apply for OCI?
Foreign nationals of Indian origin who meet any of the following criteria are eligible to apply for OCI:
- Those who were Indian citizens on or after 26th January 1950.
- Individuals eligible to become Indian citizens on 26th January 1950.
- Individuals belonging to a territory that became part of India after 15th August 1947.
- Children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren of Indian citizens.
- Minor children of Indian citizens or OCI Cardholders.
- Spouses of foreign origin of Indian citizens or OCI Cardholders with a registered and subsisted marriage of at least two years.
Note: Individuals or their parents/grandparents who were citizens of Pakistan, Bangladesh, or other countries specified by the Central Government are not eligible for OCI.
Who was eligible to become a Citizen of India on 26th January 1950?
Anyone who, or whose parents or grandparents, was born in India as defined in the Government of India Act, 1935, and was ordinarily residing in any country outside India, was eligible to become a citizen of India on 26 January 1950.
Which territories became part of India after 15th August 1947, and from what date?
The territories that became part of India after 15th August 1947 are:
- Sikkim: 26 April 1975
- Puducherry: 16 August 1962
- Dadra & Nagar Haveli: 11 August 1961
- Goa, Daman and Diu: 20 December 1961
Can the spouse of an eligible person apply for registration as an OCI Cardholder?
Yes, the spouse of an eligible person can apply if they are eligible in their own capacity. Additionally, the spouse of foreign origin of an Indian citizen or an OCI Cardholder, whose marriage has been registered and subsisted for at least two years, can also apply.
Can minor children apply for registration as OCI Cardholders?
Yes, minor children are eligible to apply for OCI. However, if any of the child’s parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents are citizens of Pakistan, Bangladesh, or other countries specified by the Central Government, the child will not be eligible for OCI registration.
What is the application process for registration as an OCI Cardholder?
The application for OCI registration must be submitted online through the official website: https://passport.gov.in/oci
What documents are required to be submitted with the application?
The supporting documents in your application will depend on your circumstances. You will need to provide:
- Proof of present citizenship: Copy of a valid passport with a minimum validity of 6 months.
- Visa or Residential Permit (applicable for applications submitted in India).
- Evidence of Indian citizenship or belonging to a territory that became part of India after 15 August 1947.
- Evidence of relationship, if claiming Indian origin as the basis for registration.
- Birth certificate for minor children, along with parents’ documents.
- Marriage certificate for spouses of foreign origin.
What are the benefits of being an OCI Cardholder?
OCI Cardholders enjoy multiple benefits, including:
- Lifelong multiple-entry visa to visit India.
- Exemption from registration with Foreigners Regional Registration Officer (FRRO).
- Parity with Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) in economic, financial, and educational fields (except acquiring agricultural or plantation properties).
- Access to various consular services and inter-country adoption of Indian children, among other privileges.
Can an OCI Cardholder be granted Indian citizenship?
Yes, after being an OCI Cardholder for five years and residing in India for at least twelve months before applying, an individual is eligible to apply for Indian citizenship.
Can a person with multiple nationalities apply for OCI registration?
Yes, individuals holding more than one nationality can apply for OCI registration as long as they meet the other eligibility criteria.
Can an OCI Cardholder apply for a regular Indian passport given to citizens of India?
No, an OCI Cardholder is not entitled to apply for a regular Indian passport. Indian passports are only issued to Indian citizens.
Are nationals of Commonwealth countries eligible for OCI registration?
Yes, nationals of Commonwealth countries are eligible for OCI registration if they fulfil the necessary eligibility criteria.
Is it possible to renounce OCI Cardholder registration?
Yes, a person can renounce their OCI Cardholder status by submitting a declaration to the Indian Mission/Post/FRRO where the OCI registration was granted. Once the declaration is registered, the individual will cease to be an OCI Cardholder. Consequently, the spouse of foreign origin and any minor child of the renouncing person registered as OCI Cardholders will also lose their OCI status.
Can an OCI holder engage in research work in India?
Yes, an OCI holder can undertake research work in India after obtaining prior approval or special permission from the relevant Indian Mission/Post/FRRO.
Are foreign military personnel eligible for OCI?
No, foreign military personnel, whether in service or retired, are not eligible for OCI registration.
How we can help
To discuss your OCI application with our experienced team, contact us on 0208 757 5751 or use our contact form.