Rules and Regulations for India OCI Card

The India OCI Card Rules are the guidelines that manage the Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) card program. These rules are created by the Ministry of Home Affairs, and the Government of India. They explain who is eligible, application process, limitations, and the advantages given to OCI cardholders. Keep reading to find out more details of the Rules and Regulations for the India OCI Card.

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The Indian government has established guidelines regarding OCI (Overseas Citizenship of India) cards, which outline the permissible and restricted actions for individuals who possess them.

Some of the main India OCI Card Regulations are:

  • They must surrender their Indian passport, as India does not allow dual citizenship. This means they lose their right to vote in Indian elections, hold public office or government jobs, and buy agricultural land in India.
  • They need prior approval from the Indian government for certain activities, such as journalism, filming documentaries, missionary work, mountaineering, and research.
  • They have to renew their OCI card online each time they get a new passport until age 20 and once after reaching 50. This is to update their photo and personal details on the OCI card.
  • They may face difficulties or delays in getting consular services from the Indian missions abroad, as OCI card holders are not considered Indian citizens.
  • They may not be eligible for benefits or schemes available only for Indian citizens, such as an Aadhaar card, PAN card, or subsidized education.

If you are a foreign national of Indian origin, you may want to consider applying for an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card with us. It is the fastest and most convenient way to visit India. To start, visit the Visas for Future and complete the online application form. Our service ensures your application is processed within two business days, and you can expect to receive your OCI card within seven to eleven weeks.

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We offer India OCI processing service. Our service will process your application within two business days, after which you will receive your OCI card within seven to eleven weeks.

  • Grants unlimited stay in India.
  • Multiple entries.
  • The $368 fee is (Including the Government fee).

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India OCI Card Rules and Regulations

In recent years, the Indian government has implemented new rules for Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) cardholders. These updates aim to simplify the application process, facilitate living and working for OCI cardholders in India.

Here are some of the key new rules for OCI cardholders:

  • Re-issuance of OCI cards: OCI card holders who obtained their OCI cards before the age of 20 must re-issue their OCI cards once they reach the age of 20. This re-issuance is necessary to capture the facial features of the OCI card holder on attaining adulthood.
  • Opening bank accounts: OCI card holders can now open bank accounts in India without restrictions. This means that they can open bank accounts at any bank in India and are not required to obtain permission from the RBI.
  • Purchasing non-agricultural immovable property: OCI card holders can now purchase non-agricultural immovable property in India without any restrictions. This means that they can purchase non-agricultural immovable property in both urban and rural areas.
  • Applying for a PAN card: OCI card holders are now allowed to apply for a PAN card in India. A PAN card is a 10-digit alphanumeric number that is issued by the Income Tax Department of India. It is required for opening bank accounts, filing taxes, and making investments in India.
  • Registering with the FRRO: OCI card holders must now register with the local FRRO within 30 days of their arrival in India. This registration can be done online or in person at the FRRO.

The Indian government has also introduced several new measures to prevent misuse of the OCI card. For example, the government has increased the penalties for fraudulently obtaining or using an OCI card. The government has also made it easier to cancel the OCI card of a person who is found to have violated the OCI card rules.

Overall, the new rules for OCI card holders aim to make it easier for OCI card holders to live and work in India while also preventing misuse of the OCI card.

India Travel Restrictions for OCI Card Holders

OCI card holders are persons of Indian origin who are citizens of another country. They are eligible to live and work in India indefinitely, and they do not need a visa to enter or exit the country. However, there are some restrictions on travel for OCI card holders.

The Indian government has imposed several travel restrictions on OCI card holders. These restrictions are in place to ensure that OCI card holders are not using their cards to work in India illegally, to engage in political activities, or to pose a threat to national security. While the restrictions can have a significant impact on OCI card holders, they are necessary to protect the interests of India and its citizens.

The following travel restrictions apply to OCI cardholders:

  • OCI cardholders are not allowed to enter or exit India on an e-Visa. They must have a valid OCI card and a valid passport.
  • OCI cardholders are not allowed to travel to India on a tourist visa. They can only travel on an OCI card.
  • OCI cardholders are not allowed to work in India for foreign governments or companies.
  • OCI cardholders are not allowed to hold public office in India.

Additional Restrictions

In addition to the current travel restrictions, there are a few other things that OCI cardholders should keep in mind:

  • OCI cardholders must keep their OCI cards up to date. If they get a new passport, they must update their OCI card within three months.
  • OCI cardholders must report any changes in their circumstances to the Indian government. This includes changes in marital status, address, and nationality.
  • OCI cardholders may be denied entry to India if they are involved in any criminal activity or if they pose a threat to national security.

Criteria for applying for an OCI card and the exceptions for certain countries or groups 

A foreign national is eligible for registration as an OCI cardholder if he/she:1

  • A citizen of India at the time of, or at any time after 26th January 1950.
  • Eligible to become a citizen of India on 26th January 1950.
  • Belonged to a territory that became part of India after 15th August 1947.
  • A child or a grandchild or a great-grandchild of such a citizen.
  • A minor child of such persons mentioned above.
  • A minor child whose both parents are citizens of India or one of the parents is a citizen of India.
  • A spouse of foreign origin of a citizen of India or spouse of foreign origin of an Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder whose marriage has been registered and subsisted for a continuous period of not less than two years immediately preceding the presentation of the application.

Exceptions: OCI is not conferred upon individuals who are/were, or if their parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents are/were citizens of Pakistan, Bangladesh, or any other country specified by the Central Government in an official Gazette notification.

Restrictions of having an OCI card

  1. Voting Rights: OCI cardholders are not entitled to participate in the electoral process and cannot exercise their right to vote in Indian elections.
  2. Legislative Membership: They are ineligible to become members of any Legislative Assembly, Legislative Council, or Parliament, restricting their involvement in the legislative and policymaking processes.
  3. Constitutional Positions: OCI cardholders are barred from holding key constitutional positions such as President, Vice President, or serving as a Judge in the Supreme Court or High Court.
  4. Government Employment: The privilege of seeking employment in the Indian government is not extended to OCI cardholders. They are excluded from pursuing official roles within the government structure.
  5. Indian Passport: OCI cardholders are not permitted to hold an Indian passport. Their travel documents are limited to the OCI card and the passport of their current nationality.
  6. Property Ownership Restrictions: Acquisition of agricultural or plantation properties in India is restricted for OCI cardholders. They are not allowed to own such properties in the country.

Benefits of having an OCI card 

An OCI cardholder enjoys the following advantages:2

  1. The OCI card offers a person multi-purpose, multiple entries, and a lifelong visa to visit India.
  2. A person who has the OCI card does not have to report to Police authorities for any length of stay in India.
  3. Parity with NRIs in educational, economic, and financial fields except in the acquisition of plantation or agricultural properties.
  4. The OCI can serve as valid identity proof for applying for a PAN Card and a driving license, and for opening a bank account if the OCI cardholder resides in India. 

Obligations of having an OCI card

OCI cardholders are required to fulfill certain obligations, which include:

Reporting Changes: OCI cardholders are required to promptly notify the nearest Foreigners Regional Registration Officer (FRRO) or Foreigners Registration Officer (FRO) in India of any alterations in their address or occupation.

Reissue of Passport Renewal: OCI cardholders must ensure the re-issuance of their OCI card each time their passport is renewed before the age of 20 and once more after reaching the age of 50.

Update of Personal Particulars: In the event of changes in personal details such as name, date of birth, nationality, or marital status, OCI cardholders are obligated to have their OCI card reissued.

Special Permissions for Certain Activities: Special permission or a visa is required for OCI cardholders to engage in activities like research, missionary work, mountaineering, journalism, or Tabligh activities in India.

Work with Foreign Diplomatic Mission or Government Organization: OCI cardholders intending to work or intern with a foreign diplomatic mission or government organization in India must obtain special permission or a visa.

Adherence to Indian Laws: OCI cardholders are obligated to comply with the laws of India and show respect for its sovereignty, integrity, and national symbols.

Limitation of Rights and Privileges: OCI cardholders must refrain from claiming rights or privileges not granted under the OCI scheme, such as voting, holding public office, or acquiring agricultural or plantation properties.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the travel requirements to India with OCI?

When traveling to India, make sure your OCI card is valid for your intended stay, and carry the passport linked to your OCI card with a visa sticker, ensuring the passport remains valid for at least six months.

What can an OCI holder do in India?

Overseas Citizenship of India allows individuals of Indian origin residing abroad to live and work in India.

How many days OCI cardholders can stay in India?

There is no limit on the duration of stay for OCI cardholders in India. However, they have to report to the local Foreigners Regional Registration Officer (FRRO) if they intend to stay for more than 180 days continuously.

Can OCI holders travel to India right now?

Yes, OCI holders can travel to India right now.

Can I stay in India with an OCI card?

Yes, you can stay in India with an OCI card.

  1. “OVERSEAS CITIZENSHIP of INDIA (OCI) CARDHOLDER FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)” (2021), Retrieved December 19, 2023, <https://www.mha.gov.in/sites/default/files/OCIFAQs_23072021.pdf> []
  2. MEA | FAQ on Overseas Indians (2015) Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, Retrieved December 19, 2023, <https://www.mea.gov.in/faq-overseas-indians.htm> []

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Charlyn Miguel
Written by

Charlyn is a science researcher and a content writer at Visas for Future. She is trained to write informatively, engaging her contents about visas for Turkey, India, Colombia, Egypt, and Aruba. She also does and manages client orders for efficient customer service. She had published academic articles and co-authored a book. She handles actual visa orders once every three months to preserve his knowledge and communication with the factual visa processing system.

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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.

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MLA Style

Miguel, Charlyn. "Rules and Regulations for India OCI Card." Visas For Future, https://www.visasforfuture.com/india-oci-card-regulations/. Accessed on 5 October 2023.

Chicago Style

Miguel, Charlyn. "Rules and Regulations for India OCI Card." Visas For Future. October 5, 2023. https://www.visasforfuture.com/india-oci-card-regulations/.

Published: 5 Oct 2023 11:48 UTC

Last modified: 12 Jan 2024 15:37 UTC

Reading time: 10 minutes

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