Overseas Citizenship of India is a type of permanent residency available to people of Indian origin (along with their spouses). OCI allows the cardholders to live and work in India indefinitely. It is a multiple entry, lifelong, multipurpose visa.
While the name uses the word ‘citizenship’ OCI status does not give citizenship rights in the actual sense of the term. Even if you hold an OCI card, you cannot vote in elections nor can you hold public office.
Who is eligible for an OCI card?
The following people are eligible and can apply for an OCI card:
- Citizen of India on 26 January 1950 or any time after that.
- Individuals belonging to a place that became a part of India after 15 August 1947.
- Was eligible for Indian citizenship on 26 January 1950.
- Children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren of people mentioned above.
- Minor children where one or both parents are citizens of India.
- The foreign spouse of Indian citizens or OCI cardholders, provided the marriage has been duly registered.
- Up to the sixth generation of Dutch nationals of Suriname origin.
Who is not eligible for an OCI card?
The following people are not eligible to apply for OCI status:
- People who have held Pakistani or Bangladeshi citizenship at any time in the past, and the children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of such people.
- People who have served in the foreign military of any country.
Can the OCI status be revoked?
The Overseas Citizenship of India status can be revoked in the following situations:
- If the status by obtained by fraud.
- If the OCI cardholder demonstrates an unpatriotic act.
- If the OCI cardholder has not held the OCI card for five years and has broken a law that is punishable with two years in jail. However, after the Citizenship Amendment Act of 2019, the Government of India is given additional power to strip people of their OCI status if they break any local law (anything between petty misdemeanor and felony).
Applying for Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI)
If you are eligible for and interested in getting the Overseas Citizenship of India, you can apply for it only through ociservices.gov.in.
Points to remember:
- Original and photocopies of all the required documents have to be submitted for OCI status application. The original documents will be returned to you after the embassy is satisfied with them. The complete set of photocopies has to be self-attested with the statement, “This is a true copy of the original,” along with the applicant’s signature.
- Do not staple your documents or use a paper clip over them.
- Photocopies of single-sided documents should not be submitted as double-sided.
Some documents are compulsorily required for all OCI applications. And some other documents vary depending on the current status of the applicant. The list of all the documents is mentioned below:
- Printed application form. All applicants need to visit https://ociservices.gov.in/ fill out the online application, and get a printout of the same.
- Two photographs of the applicant, as per the specifications mentioned in the application form. One of the photographs has to be attached to the form, and another one has to be provided. This photograph should be the same as the one uploaded in the online form, but cannot be the same as the photograph used in the passport.
- Copy of the foreign passport. Photocopies of the following pages of the U.S. passport (or non-U.S. and non-Indian passport for non-U.S. citizens) have to be submitted:
- Information page that contains the picture and basic details of the passport.
- Endorsement/amendment pages. That is, for 24 pages U.S. passport, copy of pages 22, 23, 24. For 28 pages U.S. passport, copy of pages 25, 26, and 27. Passport must be valid for a minimum of six months from the date of submission of application at VFS Global.
- Copy of naturalization certificate (if applicable). OCI applicants who have gained foreign citizenship with naturalization need to present the original naturalization certificate along with the copy.
Specific documents that are required for applicants born in India:
- Original Surrender Certificate of the Indian Passport. For people who have gained foreign citizenship after May 2010, submitting the Original Surrender Certificate is compulsory.
- Renunciation of Indian Citizenship Certificate can be used in its place if the applicant cannot provide Surrender Certificate due to loss of passport.
- Applicants who gained foreign citizenship before May 2010 and cannot submit the Surrender Certificate have to provide an original notarized affidavit from local authorities mentioning details about the Indian passport and other necessary documents.
- Applicants who were born in India but never held an Indian passport and traveled on their parent’s passport have to submit details about such travel along with other necessary documents.
Other necessary documents include:
- Original domicile certificate. OR
- Original birth certificate/post-dated birth certificate. OR
- Original school leaving certificate/post-dated school leaving certificate. OR
- Agricultural land documents.
Documents required for applicants (born in India or abroad) applying on the basis of parents, grandparents, or spouse:
- Original and photocopy of the birth certificate and marriage certificate (if applicable).
- Indian origin proof of the applicant’s parents, grandparents, or spouse.
- For applicants born abroad, full-version birth certificates need to be submitted after being translated into English by a reputed and registered translation authority.
- Applicants applying on the basis of their parents need to submit the birth certificate with details about both parents on it.
- For those applying on the basis of their grandparents, full-version birth certificates of the applicant, as well as their parents, have to be submitted along with grandparents’ proof of Indian citizenship.
- Copy of Indian or Indian Empire passport. Applicants cannot use the Indian Empire passport with the status “British Subject” for the OCI application.
- Domicile certificate of the applicant or their parents’ or grandparents’.
- In case of application on the basis of the spouse, the marriage certificate has to be submitted, and the marriage should have subsisted for not less than two years at the time of application. If the applicant has been previously divorced, the divorce decree and if the spouse has deceased, the death certificate also need to be submitted.
- For applicants from the US, whose spouse is non-U.S. national, copies of the following for the non-US national spouse need to be submitted: Permanent resident card – both sides, Employment Authorization Card (EAD) which states ‘Serves as I-512’, Pages showing H1/H4, L1/L2, F1/F2, J1/J2, or any other visa status. Note that transfer notices and receipt notices are not accepted. And the visa must be valid for at least 3 months
Documents required for the application of minor children:
- Other than the documents mentioned above, for minor children, both parents need to self-attest the photocopies. Photocopies of both parents’ passports are also required. If parents hold an Indian passport, the photocopy of the Bio Page (photo page), along with the last page (including the address) have to be submitted.
- A parental authorization form signed and notarized for both parents also need to be submitted.
- If the parents have OCI cards, photocopies of their OCI cards should also be submitted.
- If one or both parents are naturalized citizens, their proofs of renunciation.
- Copy of parents’ marriage certificate, issued by marriage registering authority. Certificates issued by community institutions like church/mosque/temple/gurudwara etc. are not acceptable.
If applying for an OCI card in lieu of a PIO card, the original and photocopy of the PIO card are to be submitted.
Application for replacement of a lost OCI card should include the following documents:
- Policy Report
- If you don’t have the copy nor the particulars of OCI, you need to provide a notarized affidavit for the lost OCI card, in addition to other documents.
- Copy of landing papers has to be submitted if the applicant is currently a Canadian Resident.
- If you would like to include the spouse’s name in your OCI card, a copy of the apostilled marriage certificate has to be submitted.
Renunciation of OCI Card:
If you are an OCI cardholder and would like to renounce it, please complete Form XXII and Form XXIIA.
One copy of the completed checklist. Make sure to arrange the application documents arranged in the order in which they are listed in each checklist. Otherwise, the application will be returned unprocessed to the applicant(s). The consulate or their agency will not be responsible for any kind of loss of documents during transit by mail.
Make sure that the photocopies are legible (readable). It is better to send color photocopies. If the consulate is not able to read the contents and/or recognize the photograph on the photocopies, the application will be returned to you without processing.
Indian Embassy/Consulate may request more documents, as needed, and may also call for a personal interview.
In case additional documents are required, they will hold for 21 days. If documents are not received, the application will be considered abandoned and returned back to the applicant. Only the Consular Fee + ICWF fee will be refunded in such cases. The applicant will have to start the application process all over again.
In the case of OCI application for a foreign spouse, the foreign spouse and Indian spouse must appear in-person interviews at the Indian Embassy/Consulate.
How to fill and submit the OCI application form?
- Start by filling the online application form on the https://passport.gov.in/oci/ page.
- Submit the printed form along with the supporting documents as per your status and situation.
- Two (2) sets of the application form have to be submitted.
Part-A and Part-B of the application form have to be filled and submitted online. After filling in the application a registration number will be generated and the printout of the application form should be taken for submission at the Indian Embassy. In the case of family applications, Part-B of the form is common for up to 4 members. Additional forms have to be submitted for each extra applicant.
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