Can OCI card holders become Indian citizens?

Yes, OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) cardholders can apply for Indian citizenship under certain conditions. According to section 5(1)(g) of the Citizenship Act, 1955, an OCI who has been registered for at least five years and has spent one (1) year residing in India out of those five (5) years can apply for Indian citizenship. It is important to note that specific requirements and procedures outlined in the Citizenship Act of 1955 must be followed. This includes either naturalization or registration, depending on the relevant laws. The OCI card grants foreign nationals of Indian origin a lifelong visa to enter and stay in India. In this article, we'll explain how OCI cardholders can apply for Indian citizenship. We can assist if you need help getting your India OCI card easily.

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The rules about OCI cardholders becoming Indian citizens are not directly mentioned in the Indian Citizenship Act of 1955. However, a specific section, Section 5(1)(g) of the Act, outlines that a person who is not an Indian citizen can be granted citizenship if they have been registered as an OCI cardholder for five years and have lived in India for at least one year during that period.

In 2016, the Indian government introduced a new policy allowing OCI cardholders to apply for Indian citizenship after living in India for five years, and the good news is they don’t have to give up their foreign citizenship. This policy is a significant development for OCI cardholders, offering them the chance to become Indian citizens while keeping their existing citizenship.

However, if you need an OCI card, you can easily obtain one by applying through our streamlined Indian OCI processing service here at Visas for Future.

What We’re Offering

If you are a foreign national of Indian origin, you may want to consider applying for an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card, our service will process your application within two business days, after which you will receive your OCI card within seven to eleven weeks.

  • Unlimited stay.1
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Process of becoming an Indian citizen as an OCI card holder

A person who has been an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) for five years and has lived in India for about one year can apply for Indian citizenship.


  1. Online application: Submit an online application through the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) website.
  2. Documents: Prepare and submit all required documents, including proof of residence in India, proof of income, educational qualifications, police clearance certificates, etc.
  3. Local police verification: The Indian authorities will conduct a local police verification in your place of residence in India.
  4. Interview: You may be called for an interview at the Regional Registration Office (RRO) or the Indian Mission abroad.
  5. Decision: The MHA will review your application and documents and make a final decision on your citizenship application.
  6. Renunciation of other citizenship: Upon approval of your Indian citizenship, you will need to renounce your existing citizenship(s) as per the legal requirements of that country.
  7. Registration as an Indian citizen: Once you have renounced your other citizenship(s), you will be registered as an Indian citizen and issued a passport.

What are the requirements for OCI card holders to apply for Indian citizenship?

OCI Requirements for Indian Citizenship


  • To qualify, you must have accumulated a total of five years of physical presence in India within the last ten years

OCI Card Tenure:

  • Registered OCI card holder for five years and have resided in India for one year during that period.
  • You must renounce your foreign citizenship, as India does not allow dual citizenship.
  • You must abide by the rules and regulations of India, such as respecting the local culture, dressing modestly, and avoiding illegal activities

Additional Requirements:

  • Valid Passport: At least 6 months remaining from the application date.
  • Proof of Indian Residency: Documents like rental agreements, utility bills, and bank statements.
  • Proof of Income: Income tax returns, salary slips, etc.
  • Educational Qualifications: Academic certificates and degrees.
  • Police Clearance Certificates: From current residence and any countries of significant stay.
  • Character References: Letters vouching for your good character.
  • Other Documents: As specified by your applying embassy.

How long does it take for an OCI card holder to become an Indian citizen?

The timeline for an OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) cardholder to become an Indian citizen can vary based on individual circumstances, the processing speed of the Indian government, and the specific procedures followed by the Indian Embassy or Consulate where the application is submitted.

How to apply for an Indian citizen as an OCI card holder?

To initiate the process of obtaining Indian citizenship as an OCI cardholder, follow these steps:

Step 1. Ensure eligibility criteria are met before proceeding.

Step 2. Apply through the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

Step 3. Complete the application form and include the necessary documents: OCI card, passport, proof of residence in India, and any required paperwork.

Step 4. The MHA will review your application.

Step 5. There is a possibility of being called for an interview during the review process.

Step 6. Upon approval, you will be granted Indian citizenship.

Step 7. An Indian passport will be issued to you as part of the approval process.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are OCI holders citizens of India?

No, OCI holders are not citizens of India.

Can OCI card holders live permanently in India?

Yes, OCI cardholders can live permanently in India under certain conditions, but they are not automatically entitled to permanent residency like Indian citizens.

Is the OCI card a dual citizenship of India?

No, the OCI card is not considered a form of dual citizenship in India.

Can I buy property in India with OCI?

Yes, OCI cardholders can buy property in India, but with some restrictions.

What is the proof of citizenship in India?

Some of the common documents that can prove citizenship in India are the Birth Certificate, Parents’ Citizenship Documents, voter ID cards, ration cards, or Aadhaar cards.

  1. Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. (n.d). Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), Retrieved January 24, 2024, <https://www.mha.gov.in/sites/default/files/2022-07/oci-faq.pdf> [] []

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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. "Can OCI card holders become Indian citizens?." Visas For Future, https://www.visasforfuture.com/indian-citizenship-for-oci-card-holders/. Accessed on 8 October 2023.

Chicago Style

Miguel, Charlyn. "Can OCI card holders become Indian citizens?." Visas For Future. October 8, 2023. https://www.visasforfuture.com/indian-citizenship-for-oci-card-holders/.

Published: 8 Oct 2023 12:29 UTC

Last modified: 23 Mar 2024 7:52 UTC

Reading time: 5 minutes

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