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How to apply for OCI Card in India? : All about OCI Card Requirements

Learn about OCI Card’s application process,benefits, features & limitations
4
min read
February 3, 2024
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Content Overview:

1. Introduction to OCI Card

2. What is an OCI Card?

3. Eligibility Criteria for OCI Card

4. Key Features of OCI Card

5. How to Apply for an OCI Card

6. Benefits of an OCI Card

7. Limitations of an OCI Card

8. OCI Card vs. Indian Citizenship: A Comparison

9. FAQS

Introduction to OCI Card

The term OCI Card often comes up in discussions about Indian citizenship and immigration. But what does it mean, and who does it apply to? In this blog post, we'll explore these questions in a simple, easy-to-understand manner, complete with examples.

What is an OCI Card?

The OCI Card stands for Overseas Citizenship of India Card. It is a form of identification that provides the cardholder with certain rights and benefits in India. However, it's important to note that an OCI Card does not equate to dual citizenship. The cardholder does not have political rights, such as the right to vote or hold constitutional posts in India.

Example: If you were born and raised in the UK, but your parents were born in India, you could be eligible for an OCI Card. This would give you certain rights and privileges in India, even though you're also a citizen of the UK.

Eligibility Criteria for OCI Card

The eligibility criteria for an OCI Card are as follows:

  • You were a citizen of India on or after January 26, 1950.
  • You were eligible to become a citizen of India on January 26, 1950.
  • You belonged to a territory that became part of India after August 15, 1947.
  • You are a child or grandchild of such a person.

Example: If your grandparents were born in India and were citizens of India on January 26, 1950, you would be eligible to apply for an OCI Card.

Key Features of OCI Card

The OCI Card comes with several key features:

  • Multiple Entry: OCI Cardholders can enter and exit India multiple times without needing a visa.
  • Long-term Stay: OCI Cardholders can stay in India for an indefinite period.
  • Equal Rights: OCI Cardholders enjoy several rights equal to Indian citizens, except for certain restrictions.

Example: As an OCI Cardholder, you can enter and leave India as you please, without needing to apply for a visa each time. You can also stay in India for as long as you want, whether it's for a few weeks or a few years.

How to Apply for an OCI Card

Applying for an OCI Card involves a few steps:

  • Complete the online application form on the Indian government's website (https://ociservices.gov.in).
  • Submit the necessary documents, including proof of Indian origin and proof of current citizenship.
  • Pay the application fee.
  • Attend a biometrics appointment at your local Indian consulate or embassy.

Example: If you're applying for an OCI Card in the UK, you would start by filling out the online application form. You would then need to submit documents like your UK passport, your parents' Indian passports, and your birth certificate. After paying the fee, you would attend a biometrics appointment at the Indian embassy in London.

Benefits of an OCI Card

The OCI Card offers several benefits:

  • Travel Freedom: OCI Cardholders can travel to and from India without a visa.
  • Employment Rights: OCI Cardholders can work in India without needing a work permit.
  • Financial Benefits: OCI Cardholders can open bank accounts in India and buy property (except for agricultural land).

Example: As an OCI Cardholder, you could decide to move to India and start a business without needing to apply for a work permit. You could also buy a house in India, and you could open a bank account to manage your finances.

Limitations of an OCI Card

While the OCI Card offers several benefits, there are also some limitations that cardholders should be aware of:

  • OCI Cardholders cannot vote or be a member of a Legislative Assembly or of a Legislative Council or of the Parliament of India.
  • They cannot hold Indian constitutional posts such as that of the President, Vice President, Judge of the Supreme Court or High Court etc.
  • They cannot normally hold employment in the Government.
  • They cannot undertake any Missionary work, Mountaineering and Journalism work without prior permission of the Govt. of India.
  • OCI Cardholders also require Protected Area Permit (PAP)/Restricted Area Permit (RAP) to visit any place which falls within the Protected/Restricted Area notified by the Government as in the case of any other foreigner.

Example: As an OCI Cardholder, you would not be able to vote in Indian elections or hold a constitutional post. You would also need to obtain permission from the Indian government to undertake missionary work, mountaineering, or journalism work.

OCI Card vs. Indian Citizenship: A Comparison

While OCI Card offers many benefits, it's important to remember that it does not equate to Indian citizenship. Here's a simple comparison table to help you understand the differences:

The OCI Card is a valuable document for individuals of Indian origin living abroad. It offers several benefits and rights in India, making it easier for cardholders to travel, work, and invest in the country. However, it's important to remember that an OCI Card does not provide the same rights as Indian citizenship. If you're eligible and interested, applying for an OCI Card could be a great step towards maintaining your connection with India.

FAQs

Q1: What is the full form of OCI Card? 

The full form of OCI Card is Overseas Citizenship of India Card.

Q2: What is the meaning of OCI Card? 

The OCI Card is a form of identification issued by the Indian government for individuals of Indian origin who live abroad.

Q3: Who can apply for an OCI Card? 

Individuals of Indian origin who live abroad and meet certain eligibility criteria can apply for an OCI Card.

Q4: What are the benefits of an OCI Card? 

Some benefits of an OCI Card include multiple-entry, multi-purpose life-long visas for visiting India, exemption from registration with Foreign Regional Registration Officer or Foreign Registration Officer for any length of stay in India, and general parity with Non-Resident Indians in many fields.

Q5: What are the limitations of an OCI Card? 

OCI Cardholders cannot vote, hold Indian constitutional posts, normally hold employment in the Government, or undertake certain activities without prior permission of the Govt. of India.

Q6: How can I apply for an OCI Card? 

You can apply for an OCI Card online through the official OCI services website (https://ociservices.gov.in)

Q7: Do I need to renew my OCI Card? 

The OCI Card has lifelong validity. However, in certain cases, such as a change in passport details or for minors upon reaching adulthood, the card may need to be re-issued or renewed.

Q8: What should I do if I lose my OCI Card?

In case of loss/damage of OCI Card, you should notify the nearest Indian Mission/Post/Office and apply for a replacement.

Q9: Can OCI Cardholders buy property in India?

Yes, OCI Cardholders can purchase residential and commercial properties in India. However, they are not allowed to purchase agricultural land, farmhouses, or plantation property.

Q10: Do OCI Cardholders need to pay taxes in India?

OCI Cardholders are subject to tax in India on income earned or accrued in India, and they are also subject to the applicable provisions of the Income Tax Act of 1961.

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Tejas is an accomplished Chartered Accountant with a passion for finance. With a decade's worth of extensive experience in the banking and credit domain, he has a deep understanding of the financial landscape across consulting and start-ups. In his time away from work, Tejas enjoys sharing his knowledge and helping others understand the intricacies of this complex domain.

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