Applying For OCI (Overseas Citizenship Of India)

Written by J. Hirby and Fact Checked by The Law Dictionary Staff  

The Indian Diaspora has spread to all corners of the world. Many Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) would like a deeper connection to their homeland even when they have citizenship from other countries. The Indian government has created the Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) to confer certain citizenship benefits to those of Indian descent living abroad. Here are the guidelines for applying for OCI.

How do I qualify for OCI?

Persons of Indian Origin living in other countries, besides Pakistan and Bangladesh, are eligible for the Overseas Citizenship of India as long as their home countries permit dual citizenship. To prove Indian origin, you will need to show that you, your parents or grandparents qualified for Indian citizenship as of January 26, 1950.

What is the Persons of Indian Origin card?

The PIO card also assists with travel to India by acting as a visa valid for 15 years. The PIO cardholder must register with the local police authorities for stays exceeding 180 days on any single visit.

What are the benefits of OCI?

The OCI card holder will be able to travel to India without being required to follow the same bureaucratic rules of registering with Indian police authorities. The OCI card enables the holder to inherit agricultural properties. The OCI card is a life-long Indian visa. But, if the original passport expires and the cardholder is under 21 years or over 50 years, then the cardholder must re-apply for the OCI card.

India Does Not Permit Dual Citizenship

The Indian government does not offer dual citizenship. The OCI card does not replace your normal passport. It is similar to a life-long visa making travel to and residency in the country of India easier. With the OCI card, you have no voting rights, cannot run for public office, cannot be employed by the government usually and cannot acquire agricultural properties in the country of India.

With the OCI card, you will have a "U" visa sticker placed on your passport. You must carry both the OCI booklet and passport with the "U" visa sticker on it for travel. India recognizes the vitality of the Indian population overseas and offers the Overseas Citizenship of India card to facilitate a deeper relationship with the worldwide Indian community.

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