OVERSEAS CITIZENSHIP OF INDIA (OCI) SCHEME – OPERATIONAL FROM 2.12.2005
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). The scheme is operational from December 2, 2005. OCI has been introduced by statute as a new category of citizenship to facilitate lifelong visa, free travel to India and certain economic, educational and cultural benefits. This is not to be construed as ‘dual citizenship’ since it does not confer political rights. Any Overseas Indian applicant who is comfortable with his present citizenship status in the country of his residence can apply for OCI. Till October 2006, about 65,000 OCI documents have been issued, mostly to overseas Indians in the USA, Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand.
Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) of certain category as specified below, who migrated from India and acquired citizenship of a foreign country other than Pakistan and Bangladesh, are eligible for grant of OCI.
Registered OCIs shall be entitled to following benefits:
- Multiple entry, multi-purpose life long visa to visit India;
- Exemption from registration with 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.
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.
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.
A person registered as OCI for five years is eligible to apply for grant of Indian citizenship under section 5(1)(g) of the Citizenship Act, 1955 if he/she has been residing in India for one year out of the five years before making the application.
- Eligibility Criteria.
A foreign national, who was eligible to become citizen of India on 26.1.1950 or was a citizen of India on or at anytime after 26.1.1950 or belonged to a territory that became part of India after 15.8.1947 and his/her children and grand children.
- Application form and procedure
A family consisting of spouses and upto two minor children can apply in the same form i.e. Form XIX. The form can be filed online or downloaded from the website www.mha.nic.in
Application has to be submitted in duplicate along with the following documents:
- Proof of present citizenship.
- Evidence of self or parents or grand parents,
- being eligible to become a citizen of India at the time of commencement of the Constitution; or
- belonging to a territory that became part of India after 15th August, 1947; or
- being citizen of India on or after 26th January, 1950
These could be:
- Copy of passport; or
- Copy of the domicile certificate issued by the competent authority; or
- Any other proof.
- Evidence of relationship as parent/ grant parent, if their Indian origin is claimed as basis for grant of OCI.
- Application fee by way of Demand Draft (US $ 275 for each applicant or equivalent in local currency: US $ 25 or equivalent in local currency for each PIO card holder)
- PIO card holders must also submit a copy of their 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 applicants 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 the Foreigners Regional Registration Officer (FRRO) at Delhi, Mumbai Kolkata 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.
- 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 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 OCI already granted by the Indian Mission/ Post shall be cancelled by an order under section 7D of the Citizenship Act, 1955.
After preliminary scrutiny, if there is any adverse information against the applicant, prior approval of MHA shall be required before grant of registration. 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 OCI is approved by MHA, the Indian Mission/ Post shall register the person as OCI.
If the application is filed in India, registration shall be granted by MHA by following the above procedure.
After grant of registration, a registration certificate in the form of booklet will be issued and a multiple entry, multi-purpose life long OIC ‘U’ Visa Sticker will be pasted on the foreign passport of the applicant.
- OCI for PIO card holders.
PIO card holders who are otherwise eligible for registration as 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 for normal applicant.
PIO card holders will have to surrender his/her PIO card after knowledge of acceptance of application.
- OCI for persons who have applied on the earlier prescribed application form.
All such applications will be considered for grant of OCI on the same line as in 3 above without seeking fresh application and fees.
- 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 for visiting India.
- Help DeskFor any clarification/ query on the scheme, please visit the 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.
For application to be filed in India, an amount of Rs.12,650 has to be paid for each applicant by Demand Draft in favour of “Pay and Account Officer (Secretariat), Ministry of Home Affairs” payable at New Delhi.
In case if PIO Card holder, an amount of Rs.1,150 has to be paid. In case of application to be filed outside India, for the amount of fee to be paid in local currency, please visit the website of the respective Indian Mission/ Post.