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The Comprehensive Guide to the OCI Card Application Process

Understanding the OCI Card Application Process for Non-Resident Indians
min read
February 3, 2024

The Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card is a form of identification that grants individuals of Indian origin several privileges when they travel to India. For Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), the OCI card serves as a link to their ancestral homeland, allowing them visa-free entry and the right to live and work in India indefinitely. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the OCI card application process for NRIs, providing a step-by-step guide to ensure a hassle-free experience.

Understanding OCI Card Eligibility for NRIs

Before embarking on the application process, it is crucial to understand who is eligible for an OCI card. NRIs who were once citizens of India or whose parents or grandparents were citizens of India after 26th January 1950 are eligible for the OCI card. Additionally, NRIs who were eligible to become Indian citizens on 26th January 1950, or who belonged to a territory that became part of India after 15th August 1947, can also apply. It is important to note that individuals who have ever been a citizen of Pakistan or Bangladesh are not eligible for the OCI card.

Document Checklist for NRIs Applying for OCI Card

NRIs need to compile a set of documents to support their OCI card application. These include:

  • A copy of their current passport
  • A copy of their Indian passport or the Indian passport of their parents or grandparents
  • Proof of renunciation of Indian citizenship, if applicable
  • Birth certificate as proof of relationship to a former Indian citizen
  • Proof of residency in the current country
  • Recent passport-sized photographs that meet the specified dimensions and background color

It is crucial to adhere to the photo specifications and document requirements as any deviation can lead to application rejection.

Online Application Process for NRIs

The OCI card application process for NRIs is initiated through the official website of the Ministry of Home Affairs. Applicants must complete the online form, Part A, and then upload the necessary documents. After submitting Part A, Part B requires additional details and supporting documents. Once both parts are completed, the application fee must be paid online.

Submission of Physical Application

After the online application is complete, NRIs must print out the application form and submit it along with the original documents to the nearest Indian consulate or embassy. Some jurisdictions may allow submission through designated service providers.

Tracking the Application Status

Applicants can monitor the progress of their OCI card application through the online portal using their application number. The processing time can vary, but it generally takes around 8-10 weeks.

Collection of OCI Card

Once the application is approved, NRIs can collect their OCI card from the Indian consulate or embassy. In some cases, the card can be couriered to the applicant's address if this service was requested and paid for during the application process.

Renewal and Reissuance for NRIs

OCI cards need to be renewed when a new passport is issued for those under the age of 20 and for all cardholders over the age of 50. For those between 21 and 50, reissuance is not mandatory every time a new passport is obtained, but it is required when the OCI cardholder's appearance has significantly changed.


The OCI card application process for NRIs is a testament to India's commitment to maintaining a strong connection with its diaspora. By following the detailed steps and requirements outlined in this guide, NRIs can look forward to enjoying the benefits of the OCI card with minimal complications.

FAQs related to OCI Card Application Process

1. What is the OCI Card Application Process for NRIs?

The OCI Card Application Process involves submitting an online form, attaching required documents, and a biometric session.

2. How long does the OCI Card Application Process take?

The OCI Card Application Process typically takes 8-10 weeks, varying based on individual consulate processing times.

3. What documents are needed for the OCI Card Application Process?

Key documents for the OCI Card Application Process include current passport, birth certificate, and proof of Indian origin.

4. Can minors apply for an OCI card, and what is the process?

Minors can apply for an OCI card. The process includes parental authorization and additional identity proofs for the child.

5. Is a physical appointment necessary for the OCI Card Application Process?

A physical appointment, usually for biometric data collection, is an essential part of the OCI Card Application Process.

6. How can I track the status of my OCI Card Application?

Applicants can track their OCI Card Application status online using the application number and passport details.

7. What are the fees associated with the OCI Card Application Process?

The OCI Card Application Process fee varies by country but generally includes a processing fee and possible postal charges.

8. Can existing PIO cardholders apply for an OCI card?

PIO cardholders can apply for an OCI card. The process involves submitting existing PIO details and additional documentation.

9. What is the validity of an OCI card obtained through this process?

An OCI card obtained through the OCI Card Application Process is valid lifelong, but re-issuance is required on passport renewal for minors.

10. How to renew or replace an OCI card?

Renewal or replacement of an OCI card involves submitting an application with updated information and any required documentation.

Arnav is a dedicated product leader with a passion for finance and fintech. He graduated from IIT Bombay and IIM Calcutta and heads the Product team at Vance. He has extensive experience in the financial sector, with a deep understanding of the cross-border space. In his free time, he enjoys playing the guitar, rock climbing, and training for triathlons.

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