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How to Apply for an Indian OCI Card?

If you're interested in obtaining an OCI card, here is a step-by-step guide on how to apply for an Indian OCI card. To apply, you'll need to collect and provide the necessary documentation, such as evidence of Indian origin, proof of current citizenship, and a recent passport-sized photograph. Additionally, you must fill out an online application form and pay the applicable fees. If your application is accepted, you must provide your fingerprints and signature at an Indian embassy or consulate before receiving your OCI card. It's essential to adhere to all instructions and guidelines for a seamless and successful application experience. Let Visas for Future assist you with the application.

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Applying for an Indian OCI (Overseas Citizenship of India) card can involve several steps.1 To apply for an Indian OCI card, you will need to:

  1. Check your eligibility
  2. Gather the required documents and information. This includes:
    • Proof of Indian origin
    • Proof of current citizenship
    • A recent passport-sized photograph
    • A valid passport
  3. Complete the online application form.
  4. Pay the application fee. You can pay the fee online through a debit or credit card.
  5. Submit your application.

If you’re considering applying for an OCI Card in India, Visas for Future is here to help simplify the process for you. Our application process is straightforward. Once you’ve submitted your application, our team will process it within two business days, and you can expect to receive your OCI card within seven to eleven weeks. If you face any challenges or have any queries during the application process, our committed customer support team will be available to assist you.


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What We’re Offering

If you are a foreign national of Indian origin and wish to apply for an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card, we can help you with the application process. Our services will ensure that your application is processed within two business days and you can expect to receive your OCI card within seven to eleven weeks thereafter.

  • Grants unlimited stay in India.
  • Multiple entries.
  • $368 fee (Including Government fee).
  • Form validation included.

Application and procedure for an Indian OCI card

The Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) card grants numerous benefits to foreign nationals of Indian origin, including visa-free travel to India, the right to purchase non-agricultural property, and simplified business operations. If you’re eligible and interested in applying for an OCI card, here’s a comprehensive guide to walk you through the process:

Step 1: Go to Visas for Future and select India OCI then click “Get India OCI Now

Step 2: Complete the online application form by providing:

  • Personal information.
  • Email.
  • Place of submission.

Step 3: Pay the fee using credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover) or debit cards (Visa or MasterCard).

Step 4: Fill out the intake form with the required details such as your travel dates, passport number, travel plans, preferred accommodation, flights, as well as your expected arrival and departure dates.

Step 5: Review your personal information, intake form answers, and uploaded documents before submitting your application to ensure accuracy and completeness.

Step 6: Once the application is accepted, you must provide your fingerprints and signature at an Indian embassy or consulate before receiving your OCI card.

Requirements and documents needed for an Indian OCI card

The requirements and documents needed for an Indian OCI card can vary slightly depending on your application category (adult, minor, renunciation of Indian citizenship, etc.) and the location you’re applying from. However, here’s a general overview of the key requirements and documents: 2

  • Valid Passport: Ensure your passport has at least six months of validity remaining from the date of application.
  • Recent Passport-sized Photographs: Two or three photographs meeting the specified size and format requirements.
  • Proof of Address: Utility bills, bank statements, or other documents with your current address.
  • Proof of Relationship to India: This is the most crucial set of documents and can vary depending on your situation. Some common options include:
    • Birth certificates: Your birth certificate, your parents’ birth certificates, and your grandparents’ birth certificates (if applicable).
    • Marriage certificates: Your marriage certificate (if married to an Indian citizen) or your parent’s marriage certificate.
    • PIO cards: If you or your parents previously held PIO (Person of Indian Origin) cards, these can be used as proof of Indian origin.
    • Other documents: Depending on your situation, other documents such as adoption papers, naturalization certificates, or land ownership documents may be accepted as proof of Indian origin.
  • Evidence of address of the place of application.
  • In the case of a minor child whose both parents are citizens of India or one of the parents is a citizen of India: 3
    • Copy of child’s Birth Certificate
    • Marriage Certificate of parents (if no marriage certificate is available, reasons for same to be indicated)
    • Copy of Indian passport of the parents / one of the parents or copy of the Domicile Certificate or Nativity Certificate issued by the Competent Authority in respect of the parents/ one of the parents or any other proof substantiating the status of the parents/one of the parents as being Indian citizen(s).
    • If the parents are divorced, the court orders the dissolution of marriage, which specifically mentions that the legal custody of the child is with the parent who is applying for the OCI Card. If the court order is in any foreign language, translation in English or Hindi by an authorized translator is to be enclosed.
  • Evidence as spouse of foreign origin of a citizen of India or spouse of foreign.
  • Origin of an OCI Cardholder.

Eligibility criteria for applying for an OCI card

To be eligible for an Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) card, you must meet the following criteria: 3

Indian Origin

  • You must be a foreign citizen of Indian origin. This means you were:
    • Born to Indian parents or grandparents.
    • Born in India to Indian parents.
    • Citizens of India on or after January 26, 1950 (including those who held an Indian passport before that date)
    • Eligible to obtain Indian citizenship on January 26, 1950 (e.g., if you or your ancestors belonged to a princely state that merged with India or had other qualifications for Indian citizenship)
    • From a territory that became part of India after August 15, 1947 (e.g., Burma, Pakistan, or Bangladesh)
    • Child, grandchild, or great-grandchild of such a citizen (including both direct descendants and adopted children)
    • A minor child with at least one parent who is an Indian citizen, or both parents are Indian citizens, even if born outside of India.
  • No Indian Citizenship
    • You cannot hold Indian citizenship currently.
  • No Previous Indian Passport (except for minors)
    • You cannot have ever held an Indian passport, except for minors born in India to Indian parents.

Benefits and limitations of having an OCI card

The OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) card offers advantages and limitations for holders of Indian origin living abroad3

Benefits

  • Lifetime visa-free travel to India: No need to apply for visas repeatedly. OCI cardholders can stay in India indefinitely as long as they maintain a valid passport.
  • Right to work and study: OCI cardholders can pursue employment in most sectors (excluding government jobs) and enroll in educational institutions throughout India.
  • Investment and property ownership: Owning property in India is permissible, including residential and commercial buildings. Inherited agricultural land can also be held, though purchasing it directly is restricted.
  • Social and cultural integration: OCI cardholders can access most public services and amenities available to Indian citizens, like bank accounts, driving licenses, and healthcare.
  • Emotional connection to India: OCI card provides a strong link to Indian roots and facilitates closer connections with family and friends in the country.

Limitations

  • No voting rights and political participation: OCI cardholders cannot vote in Indian elections or hold elected office.
  • Restriction on holding certain government jobs: Some sensitive government positions are inaccessible to OCI cardholders.
  • Tax implications: Income generated in India will be subject to taxation based on residential status.
  • Surrender of Indian passport: India does not allow dual citizenship. Obtaining an OCI card requires surrendering your Indian passport, and relinquishing Indian citizenship.
  • Potential bureaucratic hurdles: Navigating administrative procedures like registering with local authorities and renewing Indian documents can be time-consuming.

Cost and processing time for an Indian OCI card

To apply for an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) Card, there is a fee of $368, which includes the government fee. This fee applies to both new applications and re-issuance of OCI Cards. You can pay the fee online using credit card and debit card methods.

The processing time for an OCI Card is usually two (2) business days from the time the application is received. However, the processing time may vary depending on the volume of applications received and the time required for additional document verification or clearance. It may take approximately seven to eleven weeks to receive the final card.

Tips for applying for an Indian OCI card

Obtaining an OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) card can be a rewarding process, granting visa-free travel and various other benefits in India. Here are some helpful tips to guide you through the application:

Preparation is key

  • Start early: Gather required documents well in advance. These typically include proof of Indian origin, valid passport, address proof, and passport-sized photographs. Refer to official sources for complete details.
  • Choose the right application form: Different forms exist for different categories like adult, minor, or renunciation of Indian citizenship. Ensure you select the correct one.
  • Organize documents meticulously: Arrange documents in the specified order and ensure they are clear, complete, and valid.

Streamlining the process

  • Consider online application: You can get your OCI Card with Visas for Future, this can save time and streamline the process.
  • Seek professional guidance: If unsure about any aspect, consult immigration consultants or lawyers specializing in OCI applications. They can offer valuable advice and assistance.
  • Stay updated: Check for any updates or changes in application requirements through official government websites or reliable news sources.

Additional tips

  • Pay close attention to fees: Application fees may vary depending on location and application category. Ensure you pay the correct amount through authorized channels.
  • Track your application: Most online platforms allow you to track the status of your application. Utilize this feature to stay informed.
  • Be patient: Processing times can vary depending on workload and individual circumstances. Allow sufficient time for your application to be reviewed.

Remember

  • Honesty and accuracy are crucial. Providing false information can lead to application rejection or even legal consequences.
  • Maintain copies of all documents. Keep photocopies of submitted documents for your records.
  • Be respectful and courteous throughout the process.

Following these tips and adhering to proper procedures, can increase your chances of obtaining your OCI card smoothly and efficiently. Don’t hesitate to reach out to official sources or qualified professionals for further guidance as needed.


Frequently Asked Questions

Can I travel to India without an OCI card?

Yes, you can travel to India without an OCI card, but whether you need a visa depends on your nationality and the purpose of your visit.

Is it better to get an OCI or an Indian visa?

Choose an OCI card if: You plan to travel to India frequently or for extended periods.
You want to live, work, or study in India.
You want to invest in property or own a business in India.
You value maintaining a strong legal connection to India.

Choose an Indian visa if: You have a specific short-term purpose for visiting India, like tourism or a business trip.
You want a quicker and less expensive application process.
You prefer to retain your Indian citizenship.
You don’t have significant needs beyond your specific travel/activity purpose.

Remember, this is just a general overview. You should consider your circumstances and preferences when making your decision. It’s recommended to consult with immigration specialists or legal professionals for tailored advice based on your specific situation.

Can I travel to India while waiting for OCI?

Yes, you can travel to India while waiting for your OCI application to be processed! However, whether you need a visa depends on your nationality and the purpose of your visit.1

Which is better OCI or NRI?

Comparing OCI and NRI isn’t about which is “better,” as both offer different benefits and cater to distinct situations. Choosing between them depends on your circumstances and goals.

Overseas Citizen of India
Pros: Visa-free travel to India for any length of time.
-Right to work and study in most sectors.
-Invest in property and own a business (restrictions apply).
-Maintain a strong legal connection to India and access public services.

Cons: Requires surrendering Indian passport.
-Income generated in India will be subject to taxation.
-Potentially lengthy application process and high fees.

Non-Resident Indian
Pros: Retain Indian citizenship and enjoy voting rights.
-No application process or fees.
-Invest in specific types of property (residential and commercial).
-Tax benefits on income earned outside India.

Cons: Requires a visa for staying in India beyond permitted short-term periods.
-Limited work and study rights depending on visa type.
-Cannot own agricultural land or farmhouses.

Here’s a quick guide to help you decide:
Choose OCI if: You plan to live, work, or study in India for extended periods.
You value investment opportunities and property ownership in India.
You prioritize a stronger legal connection with your Indian origin.

Choose NRI if: You prefer retaining Indian citizenship and voting rights.
You have short-term travel plans or temporary work visits to India.
You wish to invest in specific property types without hassle.
You benefit from tax advantages on foreign income.


References

  1. Embassy of India, Manila, Philippines. (2022, June 12). Www.eoimanila.gov.in. https://www.eoimanila.gov.in/eoi.php?id=oci/[][]
  2. Online OCI Services. (2021). <Ociservices.gov.in. https://ociservices.gov.in/>[]
  3. OVERSEAS CITIZENSHIP OF INDIA (OCI) CARDHOLDER FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs). (2021). <https://www.mha.gov.in/sites/default/files/OCIFAQs_23072021.pdf>[][][]

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Jenilyn Samortin
Written by

Jenilyn Samortin is an Environmental Science graduate and a content writer at Visas for Future, a company that supports reforestation and urban forestry projects. She is an expert at e-visas and travel documents, such as India e-visa and Turkey e-visa, which she handles and assists customers every quarter. She loves helping people with their international travel needs and providing them with the latest information, tips, and guidance on how to apply online.

Glen Vidania
Managed by Glen Vidania

Glen Vidania is the Content Manager at Visas for Future, a company that offers online visa services for eco-friendly travelers. He is a certified Content Marketer and an experienced academic writer. He writes and promotes content that is informative, engaging, and relevant to the readers. He had work experience and gained skills in writing articles, data entry, SEO email marketing, and guest posting. He is also an expert in applying for visas for Turkey and India.

Glen Vidania
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MLA Style

Samortin, Jenilyn. "How to Apply for an Indian OCI Card?." Visas For Future, https://www.visasforfuture.com/how-to-apply-for-indian-oci-card/. Accessed on 4 October 2023.

Chicago Style

Samortin, Jenilyn. "How to Apply for an Indian OCI Card?." Visas For Future. October 4, 2023. https://www.visasforfuture.com/how-to-apply-for-indian-oci-card/.

Published: 4 Oct 2023 5:32 UTC

Last modified: 12 Jan 2024 7:08 UTC

Reading time: 12 minutes

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