Overseas Citizenship of India offers a lifelong visa, allowing individuals of Indian origin residing abroad to live and work in India. This visa allows for multiple entries, allowing individuals to visit India as often as they wish without a separate visa for each entry. 1
A foreign national is eligible for registration as an OCI cardholder if he/she:
- An individual from another country who held Indian citizenship on or after January 26, 1950; or
- An overseas resident who met the criteria to acquire Indian citizenship on January 26, 1950; or
- An overseas resident from a region that joined India after August 15, 1947; or
- The offspring, grandchild, or great-grandchild of such a citizen; or
- A minor child of the aforementioned individuals; or
- A child with both parents as Indian citizens or at least one parent being an Indian citizen.
Exceptions: OCI is not conferred upon individuals who are/were, or if their parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents are/were citizens of Pakistan or Bangladesh.
If you don’t have an OCI card for India yet, Visas for Future can assist you. By choosing our service, we will help you easily obtain it. We offer a service to guide you in correctly filling out the OCI card application form. After your application is approved, you will receive your OCI card within seven to eleven weeks. With our help, you can experience a smooth application process and receive all the support you need.
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We offer a processing service for 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.
- Grants unlimited stay in India.
- Multiple entries.
- $368 fee (Including Government fee).
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OCI Cardholders Advantages compared to PIO Cardholders
- OCI cardholders enjoy the advantage of multiple entries and exits to and from India. In contrast, while PIO cards allowed multiple entries, they required permission for visits lasting beyond 180 days.
- For OCI cardholders, there is no mandatory requirement for Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) registration, regardless of the duration of their stay in India. On the other hand, PIO cardholders were obligated to undergo FRRO registration for stays surpassing 180 days.
- OCI cardholders possess rights and privileges akin to Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), especially in terms of property ownership. In contrast, PIO cardholders faced limitations on property rights and did not share the same privileges as OCI cardholders.
- Regarding employment, OCI cardholders have the ability to work in India without needing an employment visa, although certain sector-specific restrictions may apply. In contrast, PIO cardholders (prior to conversion) could work without an employment visa but required FRRO registration for stays lasting beyond 180 days.
- The OCI application process is often perceived as more straightforward and streamlined when compared to the procedure for obtaining a PIO card.
Disadvantages of the OCI Card
- Voting Rights: OCI cardholders cannot cast their votes in Indian elections.
- Political Office: OCI cardholders are not eligible to hold positions in the Indian Legislative Assembly, Legislative Council, or Parliament.
- Constitutional Positions: OCI cardholders cannot hold constitutional offices such as the President, Vice President, Judge of the Supreme Court, or High Court, etc.
- Government Employment: OCI cardholders are generally not eligible for employment in the Indian government.
- Certain Activities: OCI card holders require prior permission from the Indian government to engage in missionary work, mountaineering, or journalism.
- Restricted Areas: OCI cardholders, like other foreign nationals, need Protected Area Permits (PAP) or Restricted Area Permits (RAP) to visit areas designated as Protected or Restricted by the Indian government.
- Dual Citizenship Issues: India does not allow dual citizenship, necessitating the surrender of existing citizenship to obtain Indian citizenship, which may not be desirable for some.
- Property Ownership Restrictions: OCI cardholders are free to own residential property in India, but owning agricultural land is off-limits for them.
Benefits of an OCI Cardholder
An OCI cardholder enjoys the following advantages: 2
- The Citizenship Act (Section 7 B) offers a person multi-purpose, multiple entries, and a lifelong visa to visit India.
- A person who has the OCI card does not have to report to Police authorities for any length of stay in India.
- Parity with NRIs in educational, economic, and financial fields except in the acquisition of plantation or agricultural properties.
- The MOIA (Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs) will inform Overseas Citizens of India (OCIs) about additional benefits periodically within the framework of the Citizenship Act, 1955 (section 7B(1)).
- An individual registered as OCI can apply for a grant of Indian citizenship under the Citizenship Act, 1955 (section 5(1)(g)) if they are registered as OCI for five years and are ordinarily resident in India for 12 months out of the five years before making the application.
- 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.
New rules for OCI card holders
OCI cardholders must renew their OCI card whenever they renew their passport, usually at the ages of 20 and 50.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can OCI live in India permanently?
Yes, OCI card holders can live in India permanently.
What are the limitations of OCI in India?
OCI limitations in India include restricted political rights, property ownership constraints, taxation implications, dual citizenship issues, bureaucratic challenges, and limited social stigma in some instances.
How long is OCI valid for travel to India?
There is no limit on the duration of stay for OCI cardholders in India.
Can an OCI card holder stay in India for more than 6 months?
OCI cardholders can enter and stay in India for up to 180 days per visit without obtaining any additional visa.
What is the OCI card validity for minor?
Generally, the OCI card issued to a minor is valid for 20 years or until the minor turns 20, whichever comes first. After turning 20, the OCI cardholder needs to renew the card and obtain a new OCI card with a standard 20-year validity.
- “OVERSEAS CITIZENSHIP of INDIA (OCI) CARDHOLDER FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)” (2021), Retrieved December 18, 2023,< https://www.mha.gov.in/sites/default/files/OCIFAQs_23072021.pdf>
- “OVERSEAS CITIZENSHIP of INDIA (OCI) CARDHOLDER FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)” (2021), Retrieved December 18, 2023, <https://www.mha.gov.in/sites/default/files/OCIFAQs_23072021.pdf>
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Cite this article
Samortin, Jenilyn. "Maximum Stay of an OCI Card Holder in India." Visas For Future, https://www.visasforfuture.com/oci-card-maximum-stay-in-india/. Accessed on 10 October 2023.
Samortin, Jenilyn. "Maximum Stay of an OCI Card Holder in India." Visas For Future. October 10, 2023. https://www.visasforfuture.com/oci-card-maximum-stay-in-india/.