Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) Card
The Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) Scheme for registration of Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) as Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) was introduced by amending the Citizenship Act, 1955 in August 2005. OCI Card holders are entitled to multy-entry, multi-purpose life-long visa to visit India, exemption from registering with FRRO for any length of stay in India, parity with NRIs in financial, economic and educational fields except for acquisition of agricultural or plantation properties.
The OCI Scheme was modified on 9 January 2015 by further amending the Citizenship Act, 1955 and the earlier scheme for issuance of PIO Card was merged with the OCI Scheme. THE CITIZENSHIP (AMENDMENT) ORDINANCE, 2015 may be seen at http://mha1.nic.in/pdfs/GazetteofIndia_0901.pdf
How to apply for OCI Card
A brochure giving details of application form, procedure, documents required and the benefits available to the OCI card holders can be seen at: http://mha1.nic.in/pdfs/oci-brochure.pdf
Application for registration for issue of an OCI card has to be made online at http://passport.gov.in/oci/capchaAction A printed copy of the same along with self attested copies of all documents and prescribed fees has to be deposited with the Embassy.
With effect from 9 January 2015, PIO Card Scheme has been withdrawn and all existing PIO card holders are deemed to be Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) card holders. The PIO Card holders must obtain an OCI card in lieu of their PIO card by applying online at http://passport.gov.in/oci/capchaActionPIO
The fee for an OCI card is US$ 275/- or M$ 3,850/-. In case of PIO card holders, the fee is US$ 25/- or M$ 350/- in case of adults and US$145/- or M$ 2030/- for minors. (In addition, an amount of M$ 25/- only is payable towards ICWF).
Eligibility for registration as OCI
As per Section 7A of the Ordinance, the following categories of persons may be registered as Overseas Citizen of India cardholder:
(a) any person of full age and capacity,
(i) who is a 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 a 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 a citizen of another country, but belonged to a territory that became part of India after the 15th day of August,1947; or
(iv) who is a child or a grand-child or a great grandchild of such a citizen; or
(b) a person, who is a minor child of a person mentioned in clause(a); or
(c) a person, who is a minor child, and whose both parents are citizens of India or one of the parents is a citizen of India; or
(d) spouse of foreign origin of a citizen of India or spouse of foreign origin of an Overseas Citizen of India cardholder 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: Provided that for the eligibility for registration as Overseas Citizen of India cardholder, such spouse shall be subject to prior security clearance from a competent authority in India.
Provided further 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 Overseas Citizen of India cardholder.
The OCI Card holder is NOT entitled to the following:
i. to vote,
ii. to be a member of a Legislative Assembly or Legislative Council or the Parliament of India,
iii. to hold Indian constitutional posts such as that of the President, Vice President, Judge of the Supreme Court or High Court etc.
iv. He/she cannot normally hold employment in the Government,
v. The OCI Card does not entitle the holder to undertake any missionary work, mountaineering or research work, without prior permission.