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Overseas Citizen of India
OCI Status for Indians Abroad

The Indian Constitution does not provide for dual citizenship. However, with approval from the High Level Committee on Indian Diaspora the Government initiated the PIO Card Scheme in 2002.

In 2003, dual citizenship to people of Indian origin in 16 countries was granted. These countries were: Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Republic of Cyprus, Sweden, Switzerland, U.K. and USA. The Government of India announced in January 2005 the extension of an Overseas Citizenship Scheme.

An Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) status can be applied for by all overseas Indians who migrated after 26th January, 1950, except those who are now settled in Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Privileges enjoyed by Overseas Citizens of India
  • Lifelong visa to India for any number of visits, and for any purpose.
  • Exclusion from registration with the FRRO.
  • Enjoy the same benefits as NRIs in economic, financial and educational fields except in purchase of agricultural property.

The OCI status however does not confer any political rights, or entitle him/her to enjoy the rights extended to an Indian citizen under Article 16 of the Constitution. Persons registered as OCI cannot stand for election to either House of Parliament or state council or assembly or hold Constitutional posts such as President, Vice President, and Judge of the Supreme Court or High Courts.

The OCI registration certificate, which is printed like the Indian passport, carries an OCI visa sticker on the holder’s foreign passport.

How to apply for an OCI Card

NRIs/PIOs can apply for the OCI card at all Indian missions outside India and to     Foreigners Regional Officers/CHIO and OCI Cell in Foreigners Division of Ministry of Home Affairs in India.

Proof to be submitted for registration:
  • Documents proving applicant’s parents/grand parents migration from India after 26th January, 1950
  • Documents showing proof of residence in territories like Goa, Pondicherry, Sikkim which merged with the Indian Union after 15th August, 1947.
  • Proof of relationship with parents/grand parents, on whose basis the applicant is seeking the OCI card.

The application form will have to be accompanied with a demand draft of USD 275 or equivalent in the local currency as application fees. If the application is rejected, USD 250 or equivalent in the local currency will be returned to the applicant after deducting USD 25 as processing fees.

Persons, who have been registered as PIOs by the Government of India and wish to apply for an OCI status, may submit their application with a fee of US$ 25 or equivalent in the local currency.

A normal application would be serviced within a month, but in case of a criminal record, the processing could take 4 months. Every case will be scrutinized by the security agencies of the Central Government so that an OCI certificate acquired on the basis of concealed information or falsification can be cancelled. Such persons would be permanently blacklisted for entry into India.



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