I. Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI)
The Constitution of India does not allow dual citizenship. The provision of granting Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) was introduced on the recommendation of the High Level committee on Indian Diaspora. Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) of certain category who migrated from India and acquired citizenship of a foreign country other than Pakistan and Bangladesh, are eligible for grant of OCI as long as the countries of which they hold the citizenship allows dual citizenship in some form or the other under their local laws.
Grant of OCI does not entitle the person with the certain rights which are exclusively available to the citizens of India. An OCI holder is not entitled to the following benefits:
- He cannot get an Indian passport
- He does not have voting rights
- He cannot be a candidate for Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, Legislative Assembly, Council of Ministers or of Council of States
- He cannot hold constitutional posts
- He cannot hold employment in the Government of India
- He cannot acquire agricultural or plantation properties in India.
Benefits of OCI
An OCI will be entitled to the following benefits:
- He will be entitled to multiple entry, multipurpose life long visa to visit India
- He will be exempted from registration with the police authorities for any length of stay in India
- He will be at parity with NRIs in financial, economic and educational fields, except in the acquisition of agricultural or plantation properties
- In matters of employment an OCI is entitled to following services:
- Employment allowed n all areas except works requiring protected area permit or restricted area permit.
- He can be employed in private sector
- He is entitled to professional practice subject to the provisions of the statutes governing the professions.
- An OCI is not required to get an employment visa and get registered with FRRO for seeking employment.
Provided his/her country of citizenship allows dual citizenship in some form or other under the local laws, a foreign national is eligible for registration as an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) if he/she fulfills the following eligibility criteria:
- If he/she was eligible to become citizen of India on 26th January, 1950, or
- He/she was a citizen of India on or at anytime after 26th January, 1950, or
- He/she belonged to a territory that became part of India after 15th August, 1947
- His/her children and grand children will also be eligible for OCI
- Minor children of such persons are also eligible for OCI.
- 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.
The citizen of Pakistan or Bangladesh shall not be eligible for OCI registration.
The spouse of a person eligible to apply for OCI can apply for OCI only if they are eligible in their own capacity.
Application for OCI Card is available online on the Ministry of Home Affairs website i.e. www.mha.nic.in
which can be submitted to:
- Indian Mission in the country where the applicant is ordinarily resident, when such foreigner is resident outside India.
- OCI Cell, Citizenship section, the Ministry of Home Affairs when the foreigner is residing/ visiting India.
- To the concerned FRROs
The following documents must be attached along with the application form:
- Proof of present citizenship
- Evidence of self or parents or grand parents:
Evidence of relationship as parent/grand parent, if their Indian origin is claimed as basis for grant of OCIApplication fee by way of a Demand DraftPIO card holder should submit a copy of his/her PIO cardPassport size photographsProof of Indian originRequisite fee
- Being eligible to become a citizen of India at the time of commencement of the Constitution; or
- Belonging to a territory that became part of India after 15th August, 1947; or
- Being citizen of India on or after 26th January, 1950
Procedure for Granting Registration
If no adverse information is available against the applicant after preliminary scrutiny, the Indian Mission/Post shall register a person as an OCI within 30 days of application and the case shall be referred to MHA for post verification of the antecedents of the applicant.
If during the post verification, any adverse information comes to the knowledge of the MHA, the registration as an OCI already granted by the Indian Mission/Post shall
After preliminary scrutiny, if there is any adverse information against the applicant, prior approval of the MHA shall be required before grant of registration. The MHA may approve or reject the grant of registration within 120 days from the date of the receipt of the application. If the grant of registration as an OCI is approved by the MHA, the Indian Mission/Post shall register the person as an OCI.
On preparation of OCI document, applicant has to 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. No passport and OCI documents will be received/sent by Dak/Post or Mail.
After grant of registration, a registration certificate in the form of a booklet will be issued and a multiple entry, multi-purpose OCI ‘U’ visa sticker will be pasted on the foreign passport of the applicant.
OCI for PIO Card Holders
PIO card holders who are otherwise eligible for registration as an OCI may apply in the same Form i.e. Form XIX and they will be considered for grant of registration in the same manner as other applicants.
Cancellation of OCI Registration
If it has been found that the registration as an OCI was obtained by means of fraud, false representation or concealment of any material fact or the registered OCI has shown disaffection towards the Constitution of India or comes under any of the provisions of section 7D of the Citizenship Act, the registration of such person will not only be cancelled forthwith but he/she will also be blacklisted from visiting India.
Eligibility for grant of Indian Citizenship
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.
Person of Indian Origin Card (PIO Card)
A PIO Card Scheme allows Persons of Indian Origin up to fourth generation settled throughout the world to be eligible for the PIO card.
The PIO card allows the card holder visa free travel and other benefits.
Citizens of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are not eligible for the PIO card in India.
A PIO card shall be valid for a period of fifteen years from the date of issue provided the passport of the PIO card holder is valid.
Benefits of PIO Card
The following benefits accrue to a foreign national who has a PIO card:
- A multi purpose, multiple entry visa for visiting India. The PIO cardholder shall not require a visa for visiting India because the PIO card is itself considered a visa
- No requirement of a student visa for studying in India and employment visa for taking employment in India
- A PIO card holder will not be required to register if his/her stay in India does not exceed 180 days
- Separate counters for immigration would be provided to PIO card holder at all International airports in India
- The PIO card holder shall have parity with NRIs in respect of the economic, financial and education fields except in matters relating to acquisition of agriculture plantation/properties.
- PIO card can be used as an identity proof for applying for PAN card, driving license or opening of bank account in India if the PIO card holder resides in India.
Benefits not available to PIO card Holder
A PIO card holder shall not be eligible for the following:
- If the stay in India is to exceed 180 days, the PIO card holder shall have to register with the concerned FRRO within 30 days of the expiry of the 180 days
- The grant of a PIO Card does not entitle the cardholder to visit a restricted/ protected area. Prior permission of the competent authority is required to be obtained for visiting a restricted / protected area.
- A PIO Card does not entitle the cardholder to undertake any missionary work, mountaineering and research work, without the prior permission of the Government of India
- The PIO card holder does not have parity with NRIs in the sphere of political rights.
- PIO card holder does not have voting rights in India
Eligibility for PIO card Holder
A person should fulfill the following eligibility criteria before applying for a PIO card:
- He/She had any time held an Indian passport
- He/She or either of his/her parents or grand parents or great grand parents was born in India or permanent resident in India provided neither was at any time a citizen of any of the excluded country
- He/She is a spouse of a citizen of India or a person of Indian origin covered under 1 & 2 above
Iranian nationals of Indian Origin can be granted PIO card after MHA approval.
Application & Documents
Application form for PIO Card is available with FRRO office or can be downloaded from the website of Ministry of Home Affairs, www.mha.nic.in.
An application for issue of PIO Card shall be made in the prescribed Form to an Indian Mission/ Post in the country where the applicant is ordinarily resident.
Applicants already in India on long term visa (one year or more) and residing in Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Amritsar, Hyderabad can submit the application to the Foreigners Regional Registration Officer in the respective cities. Those who are residing in cities other than the given areas may submit the application with the Joint Secretary (Foreigners), Ministry of Home Affairs, Foreigners Division. Documents:
The following documents have to be submitted along with the application form:
- Indian Passport/travel document of the applicant or either of his/her parents or grand parents or great grand parents.
- Proof of previous Indian nationality of the applicant or either of his/her parents or grand parents or great grand parents.
- Any other document satisfactorily proving the previous nationality of the applicant as an Indian e.g. revenue records / domicile certificate / school /college leaving certificates, etc. may be considered on proper verification.
- Four passport size photographs
- Photocopy of the foreign passport presently held
- Photocopy of the initial VISA, which has been registered with FRRO/FRO cum Superintendent of Police.
- Photocopy of all the pages of Registration certificate issued by the FRRO/FRO office.
- Requisite fee in the form of demand draft
- Two photocopies of demand draft payable
Validity & Cancellation of PIO Card
The PIO Card will be valid for a period of 15 years subject to the condition that the PIO card holder has a valid passport. Cancellation of PIO Card:
The PIO card can be cancelled on the following grounds:
- PIO Card was obtained by fraud, false representation or the concealment of any material fact; or
- PIO cardholder has shown himself by act or speech to be disaffected towards the Constitution of India and other laws of India; or
- PIO cardholder is a citizen or subject of any country at war with, or committing external aggression against India, or of any other country assisting the country at war with, or committing such aggression against, India; or
- PIO cardholder has been sentenced in India for indulging in acts of terrorism or smuggling of narcotics, arms, ammunition's etc. or has been sentenced for committing an offence punishable with imprisonment up to one year, or fine up to rupees ten thousand; or
- If it is not conducive in the public interest that the person should continue to hold a PIO Card.
Difference between OCI and PIO
PIO Card Holder
A foreign national, who was
eligible to become citizen of India on 26.01.1950 or was a citizen of India
on or at anytime after 26.01.1950 or belonged to a territory that became part
of India after 15.08.1947 and his/her children and grand children, provided
his/her country of citizenship allows dual citizenship in some form or other
under the local laws, is eligible for registration as Overseas Citizen of
India (OCI). Minor children of such person are also eligible for OCI.
person who at any time held an Indian Passport; or he or either
of his parents or grand parents was born in or was
permanently resident in India
and other territories that became part of India thereafter
A citizen of Pakistan or Bangladesh
of Afghanistan, Bhutan, China,
Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka
(i) A multiple entry
multi-purpose life long visa for visiting India.
(ii)Exemption from registration
with local police authority for any length of stay in India.
(iii) Parity with Non resident
Indians (NRIs) in respect of economic, financial and educational fields
except in relation to acquisition of agricultural or plantation properties.
No parity shall be allowed in the sphere of political rights.
(i)Shall not require a separate
visa to visit India.
(ii) Will be exempt from the
requirements of registration if his/her stay on any single visit in
India does not exceed 180 days.
(iii) In the event of
continuous stay in India
exceeding 180 days, he/she shall have to get himself/herself registered within
30 days of the expiry of 180 days with the concerned FRRO/FRO.
(iv) Parity with NRIs in
respect of all facilities available to the later in the economic, financial and
educational fields except in maters relating to the acquisition of
agricultural/ plantation properties. No parity shall be allowed in the sphere
of political rights.
Valid for 15 years from the date
Does not require registration
with FRRO for stay in India
beyond 180 days
Requires registration when the
stay in India
exceeds 180 days for the first time
Registered OCI may be granted
Indian citizenship after 5 years from date of registration provided he/she
stays for one year in India
before making application
H/she has to reside in India for minimum 7 years before
making application for granting Indian