In pursuance of the Prime Minister of India’s statement, Citizenship Act 1955 has been amended to extend the scope of OCI to Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) of all nationalities other than Pakistan and Bangladesh that allow dual citizenship under their local laws in some form or the other. Citizenship Rules, 1956 have been amended to simplify the procedure and application form for grant of OCI registration. Necessary amendments have also been carried out in the Passport (Entry into India) Act 1920 and Registration of Foreigners Act, 1939 to spell out the following benefits to registered OCIs.
* Multi-purpose, multi entry, lifelong visas for visiting India.
* Exemption from registration with Foreigners Regional Registration officer / Foreigners Registration Officer for any length of stay in India.
* Parity with NRIs in respect of all facilities to the latter in economic, financial and educational fields except in matters relating to the acquisition of agricultural/plantation properties.
Such registered OCIs shall not be entitled to the rights conferred on a citizen of India under article 16 of Constitution with regard to equality of opportunity in matters of public employment, election to Constitutional offices like President/Vice president/Judges of Supreme Court or High Courts/Members of Parliament or Legislative Assembly/Council or right to vote under Representation of the People Act,1950. Every registered OCI will be issued a registration certificate which is printed like an Indian passport in different colour and an OCI visa sticker will be pasted in the person’s foreign passport. These two documents will have the photograph of the individual and all necessary security features (please see photograph specifications here).
The method for applying for the OCI is given in detail in the MHA web site.
Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) Card
Following the merger of PIO (Persons of Indian Origin) Card Scheme with the OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) Card Scheme, applicants may follow the procedure indicated below for converting a PIO Card to an OCI Card.
Please visit the OCI website http://mha1.nic.in/foreigDiv/OCI.html for complete information.
(1) As on date, all Person of Indian Origin (PIO) cardholders with valid PIO cards as on 9.1.2015 are deemed to be Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders in terms of the notification issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs on 9.1.2015.
(2) However, all persons having valid PIO cards as on 9th January, 2015 are advised to apply for registration as OCI cardholder in view of the following advantages in possessing an OCI card:-
(a) OCI card is a smart card
(b) Possession of an OCI card will facilitate quicker immigration clearance at the Immigration Check Posts
(c) It will help in obtaining various Consular Services from the Indian Missions; and
(d) For those who are resident in India, it will facilitate in availing various services in India.
(3) The last date for submission of application for registration as OCI cardholder in lieu of PIO card is 31 December 2016. This cutoff date will be only for submission of the applications online by the applicants. A separate online application form for submission of application for registration as OCI cardholder in lieu of PIO card is available in the website https://passport.gov.in/oci/.
(4) The erstwhile PIO cardholder with a valid PIO card as on 9.1.2015 will have to upload only the following documents with his/ her application:-
(a) Copy of the valid Passport
(b) Copy of the PIO card
(5) The applicants can submit the applications online from anywhere. The grant of OCI card in lieu of the PIO card will be on a gratis basis.
(6)The OCI card shall be issued by the Indian Mission/ Post/ FRRO concerned within the jurisdiction of the applicant’s place of residence. The applicant will have to approach the Indian Mission/ Post/ FRRO concerned only for collecting the OCI Card by surrendering the PIO card.