- OCI card may need to be reissued when OCI card holder’s passport is reissued
- Validity criteria differ on the age of the cardholder
- If the card does not need to be reissued, the old passport must be carried along with OCI card and current passport
The article is updated on September 3, 2020, with information related to OCI Guidelines Relaxed Till December 2020
Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) cardholders will now have to renew their OCI cards each time their passport is renewed. In an announcement by the Indian consulate in New York, the OCI card will no longer be valid permanently.
OCI Guidelines Relaxed Till December 2020
OCI cards must be re-issued each time the card holder acquires a new passport up to the age of 20 years and once after getting a new passport after the age of 50 years. These guidelines have been relaxed by the Government of India till 31st December 2020 in view of the current prohibition on international air travel.
Once the prohibitions are removed and the OCI card status as a lifelong visa for travel to and from India is restored, OCI cardholders will be allowed to travel with OCI cards bearing the old passport numbers. This is subject to the condition that the cardholder must travel with the old and new passport as well as the OCI card.
Air Bubble Travel Arrangements For OCI Cardholders
In light of the bilateral air travel arrangements being made between India and other countries, OCI cardholders can travel between India and a few countries like the USA, the UK, France and Germany. Eligible travelers include:
- OCI cardholders
- Minor OCI cardholders with Indian nationals as parents
- OCI cardholders wanting to visit India on account of family emergencies
- Married couples where at least one person is an OCI cardholder
- Students who are OCI cardholders and have one or both parents as Indian nationals or OCI cardholders
- Foreign nationals married to OCI cardholders
- Foreign nationals who are parents to minor OCI cardholders
What Is The Overseas Citizens Of India (OCI) Card?
India does not accept dual citizenship. Thus if an Indian is born abroad and chooses to take up citizenship of any other country or at any point of time later in life gives up Indian citizenship for foreign citizenship, he/ she can get the card. OCI was launched in 2005. To be eligible the individual must meet at least one of the below criteria.
Number Indians Living Abroad
|Country||Indian Expats (in million)|
OCI Cards Issued From 2014 to 2017
Data Source: MEA, media reports
OCI Card Eligibility
- He/she must have been an Indian citizen on 26 January 1950 or at any time after this
- He/she must belong to a territory that became a part of India after independence
- He/she must have been eligible for Indian citizenship on 26 January 1950
- He/she must be the child/grandchild/great-grandchild of such a citizen
- He/she must be a minor child of parents that meet one of the above criteria
- He/she must be a minor child with one of both parents being citizens of India
- He/she must be the registered spouse of an Indian citizen or Overseas Citizen of India for a period of at least 2 years
Members of foreign military and those who are citizens (or children/grandchildren of citizens) of Pakistan or Bangladesh are ineligible for this card.
OCI Card Validity Criteria
According to the latest change in rules, the cardholders must check the validity of their cards before travelling to India according to the following criteria.
- For individuals below the age of 20 years, the OCI card must be reissued with every passport reissue.
- For individuals between the age of 21 and 50 years, the OCI card need not be reissued each time the passport is reissued but it must be carried along with the old passport on which the OCI Card was issued and the current passport.
- For individuals above the age of 50 years, the card must be reissued only once when the passport is renewed. It is also advisable to carry the expired passport on which the OCI Card was issued along with the current passport when traveling to India.
How To Apply Or Renew OCI Card?
Applicants can register for an OCI card online at https://passport.gov.in/oci. All supporting documents must be uploaded in PDF form with a maximum file size of 1 MB. You will need 2 copies of each document.
Documents required while submitting the application are:
- Completed application form
- Recent photographs of the applicant
- Proof of address: electricity bill or driving license which should be valid at least 6 months
- Copy of current OCI
- Self-attested copy of the latest passport
- Photograph of applicant’s signature
- Your last address outside India
The photograph of the person and his/her signature should meet the following criteria:
- The photograph should have equal height and width
- Minimum dimensions: 200 pixels x 200 pixels
- Maximum dimensions: 1500 pixels x 1500 pixels
- Height: width aspect ratio of the signature should be 1:3
- Minimum dimensions: 200 pixels x 67 pixels
- Maximum dimensions: 1500 pixels x 500 pixels
If the applicant is married it would be useful to have the marriage certificate with you at the time of applying and also during Police verification.
After registration is complete, a copy of the application should be printed. This along with 2 copies of all documents should be filed with the application at the Foreigners Regional Registration Offices or at Indian Missions abroad. An application fee of INR 1,400 (Demand Draft) or $20 is also payable when submitting the application.
When applying for an OCI card to be reissued, it is not necessary for the application to be submitted to the same Foreigners Regional Registration Offices or Indian Missions abroad from where the first OCI card was issued.
Barring complications, the OCI card should be issued within 30 days of receiving an acknowledgement for the application.
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