OCI - Overseas Citizen of India

Ever thought of what would happen to the legal standings or the rights of an Indian resident who has been living overseas for some time. Or someone marries and has a family with someone who is not an Indian resident?

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This article discusses the key aspects of an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI).

What is an OCI?

The OCI full form is Overseas Citizen of India. An OCI is a person who is a citizen of another country; however, is guaranteed certain rights that are enjoyed by an Indian citizen.

An OCI card, in the simplest words, is a long-term visa that is accessible to the citizen of other countries who hold a familial link to the nation.

The Indian constitution does not permit holding the citizenship of India and foreign country citizenship simultaneously. The Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) is the scheme that was initiated by amending the Citizenship Act, 1955 in 2005 August.

Who is Eligible to Apply for Overseas Citizen of India?

Listed below are the categories of person that are entitled to apply under the overseas citizen of India scheme except for Bangladesh and Pakistan:

  • Anyone who is a citizen of another country and was an Indian citizen during or after the constitution commencement.
  • Anyone who is a citizen of any other country and was eligible to become an Indian citizen during the constitution commencement.
  • Anyone who is a citizen of any other country, however, belonged to the territory, which became part of India after 1947, August 15.
  • Anyone who is a grandchild or child or the great-grandchild of such a citizen.
  • A person who is the minor child of a person mentioned in either clause (a).
  • A person who is a minor child and the parents are Indian citizens or either one of the parents is an Indian citizen.
  • Spouse of the foreign origin of an Indian citizen or spouse of the foreign origin of an OCI cardholder registered within Section 7A. Besides, the marriage has been registered and get along for a continuous period of not less than 2 years preceding the application presentation.

The Recent OCI Changes in 2021

In March 2021, the government of India issued a circular that delineates the privileges afforded to the OCI cardholders in India. This new circular consolidates all the previous circulars that have been issued by the Indian government.

One of the important modification that has been introduced is the reporting obligations of the overseas citizens of India cardholders. From now on, any change in the residential address or occupational has to be reported. A couple of years ago, another noteworthy change was when the OCI cardholders were required to procure the special permit to undertake any Tabligh activities.

The previous circulars indicated that the OCI cardholders need to get special permits to conduct any missionary, mountaineering or journalist activities; however, did not specify any certain group.

Under 2021, March notification, there is a new requirement wherein the OCI cardholders who are looking forward to an employment or internship with any nations foreign offices also need to procure the special permit.

How to Register for the OCI - Overseas Citizen of India?

The application for registration as an overseas citizen of India can be made easily online. Before, filling the application form, read the instructions carefully to avoid any mistake.

The details regarding the fees and offices where the documents need to be submitted to complete the verification process might also be pursued.

The person who is registered as the OCI cardholders are not given any right to vote, holding any of the constitutional posts, and so forth. However, the registered OCI cardholders are eligible for many benefits.

Any individual registered as the OCI cardholder is entitled to apply for the grant of citizenship of India under Section 5 (1) (g) of 1955, Citizenship Act. This is possible when the individual is registered as the OCI cardholder for 5 years and is an ordinary Indian resident for 12 months before an application is made for the registration. When the central government is satisfied with the existing circumstances and has recorded it in writing, they would relax the tenure of 12 months up to 30 days maximum that will vary in the different breaks.

To apply for the OCI registration, visit the link https://ociservices.gov.in/

New OCI Registration

Before an individual starts with the OCI registration, the following are some important pointers that need to be kept in mind:

  • Check the eligibility criteria before starting with the OCI registration
  • In case one is an OCI cardholder already, then use the OCI miscellaneous services.
  • If one is a PIO cardholder, then register via OCI registration instead of the valid PIO card.
  • If one is a PIO cardholder and the card has been lost, then register via the OCI registration instead of the lost PIO card.
  • To reprint the registered application already, use the service of ‘Re-print Submitted Application’.
  • In case of urgent travel, the applicants should likewise apply for an appropriate visa.

To view the current status of the OCI application, visit the link https://ociservices.gov.in/statusEnqury

Enter the passport and file reference number.

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Written By: PolicyBazaar - Updated: 31 August 2021

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