OCI - Overseas Citizenship of India (NOT a Dual Citizenship)
 Overview
Despite all the news coverage and excitement over this issue, please understand that the Constitution of India DOES NOT allow dual citizenship, i.e., simultaneously holding Indian citizenship and citizenship of a foreign country.

The Government of India has decided to grant Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI), which most people mistakenly refer to as 'dual citizenship.' Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) of certain categories who migrated from India and acquired citizenship of a foreign country, other than Pakistan and Bangladesh, are eligible to be granted an OCI as long as their home countries allow dual citizenship in some form or the other under their local laws.

If you get an OCI, it is NOT the same as being a regular Indian citizen:
  • You do not get an Indian passport. There is no such thing as an OCI passport.

  • You have no voting rights.

  • You cannot be a candidate for Lok Sabha/Rajya Sabha/Legislative Assembly/Council or a member of the House of the People or of the Council of States.

  • You cannot hold constitutional posts such as President, Vice President, Judge of Supreme Court/High Court, etc.

  • You cannot normally hold employment in the Government of India.

  • Can not acquire agricultural or plantation properties in India. However, such a person can inherit such properties.

OCI Benefits

It is anticipated that a large number of Indian Diaspora will benefit by this scheme for hassle-free travel to their motherland. They will bring economic value and benefits to the Indian economy and contribute to the development process.

PIO vs. OCI
Compared to PIO card, OCI offers the following benefits:
  • OCI is entitled to a life long visa-free travel to India whereas for the PIO cardholder, it is limited to 15 years. However, anyone outside the age group of 21 and 50 years, they need to get new OCI every time they get a new passport.

  • OCI is exempted from registration with Indian Police authorities for any length of stay in India. A PIO cardholder is required to register with local Police authorities for any stay exceeding 180 days in India on any single visit.

More detailed comparison of OCI vs PIO

Cancellation of OCI Registration
If it is found that registration as an OCI was obtained by fraudulent means, false representation or concealment of any material fact, or that the registered OCI has shown dissatisfaction towards the Constitution of India or under any of the provisions of section 7D of the Citizenship act, the registration of such applicants will not only be cancelled forthwith, but he/she will also be blacklisted for future visits to India.

Traveling on OCI
When you are registered as OCI, a lifelong 'U' visa sticker will be placed into your passport and you will get an OCI registration booklet. Please note that you can not travel to India using just the OCI booklet. You must carry both the OCI booklet and the passport with the "U" visa sticker. In case the passport that has U visa has expired, you must carry both the old and new passports to travel to India, if you are between the ages of 21 and 50 years. For anyone outside that age group, even though OCI is being claimed as lifelong visa, they need to apply for OCI all over again every time they get a new passport if they are under 21 years of age and once if they are over 50 years of age.