1. Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) who have migrated from India and acquired citizenship of a foreign country, other than Pakistan and Bangladesh are eligible for grant of Overseas Citizenship of India.
2. OCI status confers the following benefits:
(a) Multiple-entry, multi-purpose life-long visa to visit India
(b) Exemption from reporting to Police authorities for any length of stay in India
(c) Parity with NRIs in financial, economic and educational fields except in the acquisition of agricultural or plantation properties, and
(d) A person registered as OCI is eligible to apply for grant of Indian citizenship under section 5(1) (g) of the Citizenship Act, 1955 if he/she is registered as OCI for five years and has been residing in India for one year out of the five years before making the application.
3. Procedure: Application for registration as OCI is to be made online through the website of the Ministry of Home Affairs www.mha.nic.in. Alternatively, please go directly to http://mha.nic.in/foreigDiv/OCI.html. Instructions therein may be perused carefully particularly with respect to supporting documentations required so that there is no mistake in submission of application. A family consisting of spouse and upto two minor children can apply online in the same form i.e. Form XIX. Part A of the application form can be filed online. Part B can be downloaded and printed on computer or filled by hand in block letters. Printed Part A and Part B of the application form have to be submitted to the High Commission.
4. Documents required: The required documents listed below are indicative in nature and an attempt has been made to cover majority of the cases. However, the Consular Officer may ask for additional documents after examining the application. After making an online application, please report to the High Commission with a hard copy of the application along with the following documents:
(a) Two photographs (51mmx51mm) with light background (NOT PASSPORT SIZE) Do's and don'ts regarding photograph are listed on the website.
(b) Evidence of self or parents or grandparents previous Indian Passport, Birth Certificate, valid foreign passport held and local residential proof.
(c) Evidence of relationship as parent/grandparent, if their Indian origin is claimed as basis for grant of OCI.
(d) In case the applicant does not have an old Indian Passport, he/she may provide copy of other documents issued from India such as birth certificates, nativity certificates etc. These will be sent to India for verification before acceptance of the application form. If the applicant ever held an Indian Passport, then proof of renunciation of citizenship/surrender of passport should also be submitted.
(e) All the above documents are to be produced in original for verification and photocopies of the same are to be attached in duplicate with the application.
5. After grant of registration, a registration certificate in the form of a booklet will be issued and a multiple entry, multi-purpose life-long OCI 'U' visa sticker will be pasted on the foreign passport of the applicant. While travelling, you are expected to carry the booklet along with your passport containing OCI visa.
6. OCI Miscellaneous Services have been made available on the Ministry's website http://mha.nic.in/foreigDiv/OCI.html and can be availed for re-issuance/issuance of duplicate OCI Registration Certificate and Visa in the following category of cases:
(i) In case of issuance of new passport
(ii) In case of change of personal particulars viz. name, father's name, date of birth, nationality etc.
(iii) In case of loss/damage of OCI registration certificate/visa
(iv) In case of change of address/occupation
(v) Conversion of PIO card to OCI card.
Procedure: These services can be availed by applying Online and submitting hard copy of the application along with the requisite fee and enclosures as mentioned in the application to the High Commission. However, in case of change of address/occupation, hard copy of the application need not be submitted.
Documents to be enclosed along with the application:
(a) Copy of OCI registration certificate and visa
(b) In case of issuance of a new passport, copy of U-visa pasted on the old passport along with copy of registration certificate has to be enclosed. If the old passport is not returned by the concerned authorities while issuing new passport and copy of the U-visa had not been taken prior to the surrender of old passport, they may not be enclosed. Please also enclose copy of the new passport.
(c) In case of loss of OCI Registration Certificate and/or Visa, copy of the complaint lodged with Police authorities and copy of visa and registration certificate to be enclosed.
(d) In case of change of personal particulars e.g. wrong filling of particulars by the applicant, copy of the document (s) relevant for affecting the requisite changes viz. Nationality Certificate in case of change of nationality etc. to be enclosed.
OCI registration certificate and visa have got to be re-issued each time a new passport is issued up to the completion of 20 years of age and once after completion of 50 years of age.
Re-issuance of OCI registration certificate and visa is not mandatory each time a new passport is issued between 21-50 years of age. The applicant can continue to travel carrying the old passport wherein the OCI 'U' visa sticker was pasted along with new passport and the OCI card for visiting India without seeking a new visa, as the visa is life-long. However, if the applicant wishes to obtain new set of OCI documents, he/she can apply for the same.
The grant or otherwise of the service(s) sought shall be ordinarily decided in one month from the receipt of hard copy of the application.
7. Collection of OCI documents: On preparation of OCI document, applicant is required to be present in person or he/she can send a duly authorized person, along with his/her foreign passport & PIO card (if any) for collection of the OCI documents.
8. OCI card does NOT entitle the cardholder to undertake any missionary, mountaineering and research work in India, without the prior permission of the Government of India. Prior permission of the competent authority is also required for visiting restricted/protected area (for details, visit http://mha.nic.in/pdfs/ForeigD-FAQs-onPAPandRAP.pdf).
9. Advantages of the OCI as compared to PIO cardholders:
(i) An OCI card holder is entitled to life-long visa with free travel to India whereas for a PIO card holder, it is only valid for 15 years.
(ii) A PIO cardholder is required to register with local Police authority for any stay exceeding 180 days in India on any single visit whereas an OCI card holder is exempted from registration with Police authority for any length of stay in India.
(iii) An OCI gets a specific right to become an Indian Citizen, whereas the PIO card holder does not have this.
10. For further information please visit our website at www.hcikingston.com and http://mha.nic.in/pdfs/oci-chart.pdf.
11. Kindly note that the High Commission will accept an application for grant of OCI status after satisfying itself on the adequacy and authenticity of supporting documentation provided. In certain cases this is likely to take time as the documents may require verification from the issuing authorities in India. In these cases the High Commission cannot prescribe the timeframe within which the OCI card will be issued. In these cases, at the stage of initial application, an acknowledgement will be provided to you by post. Applicants will be periodically informed about the processing of their application and are also advised to keep in touch with the High Commission to follow up.