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OCI Card VS Indian Visa: A Comparative Overview

If you are a foreigner planning to visit India for tourism purposes, you must apply for the India Tourist visa. On the other hand, if you wish to live and work in India and are eligible for an OCI Card, you can apply for one Card. It is important to note that both documents have specific eligibility criteria and requirements that you must fulfill. To make the application process hassle-free and stress-free, Visas for the Future offers purely online OCI and Indian visa processing services. You can trust us to handle your application with utmost care and attention. To get started and experience our top-notch services, click the button below to begin your application.

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The Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) is a type of permanent residency available to people of Indian origin and their spouses coming to India that allows them to live and work in India indefinitely. The OCI status is not citizenship and does not grant the right to vote in Indian elections or hold public office. OCI status is not available to anyone who has ever been a Pakistani or Bangladeshi citizen or who is the child, grandchild, or great-grandchild of such a person.1

An Indian Visa is an official document issued by the Indian government that allows you to enter and stay in India for a specific purpose and duration. It’s essentially a permit granted to foreign nationals who wish to visit the country. There are various types of Indian visas, each with its eligibility criteria and requirements.2

If you plan to apply for your Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card, Visas for Future offers a straightforward solution for acquiring your India OCI, and we provide continuous support throughout the application process. We also offer the following Indian visa processing services:

1. Tourist Visa: Our India eTourist Visa processing service will give you your India eTourist Visa in your mailbox within four (4) days. We offer 30 days, one (1) year, and five (5) year India eTourist visas.

2. Business Visa: Our India eBusiness Visa processing service will mail you your India eBusiness Visa within four days. We offer a multiple-entry eBusiness visa valid for one year. It is suitable for attending business meetings and conferences or exploring potential business partnerships.

3. Medical Visa: Our India eMedical Visa processing service will give you your India eMedical Visa in your mailbox within four days. We offer a triple-entry eMedical visa valid for 60 days from arrival. It is meant for those traveling to India for medical procedures, surgeries, or consultations.

4. Medical Attendant Visa: Our India eMedical Attendant Visa processing service will give you your India eMedical Attendant Visa in your mailbox within four days. We offer a triple-entry eMedical Attendant visa valid for 60 days. It allows the attendant to provide care and support to the patient during their stay in India.

5. Conference Visa: Our India eConference Visa processing service will give you your India eConference Visa in your mailbox within four days. We offer a single-entry eConference visa valid for 30 days. It is not meant for general tourism or business activities.


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.

  • It is multiple entries.3
  • It costs $368 fee, including the Government fee.

An OCI card is a document that grants you many benefits and privileges in India, such as:

  • You can travel to India without requiring a visa multiple times without any limits and stay there for as long as you want.
  • You can live and work in India indefinitely and enjoy the same economic, financial, and educational rights as Non-resident Indians.
  • You do not have to register with the local police authorities (FRRO/FRO) in India every time you stay there for more than 180 days.4

Our India eTourist Visa processing service will give you your India eTourist Visa in your mailbox within four (4) days.

  • 30-day duration
    • Double entry.
    • Costs $68.14.
  • One-year validity
    • Multiple entries.
    • Costs $96.54.
  • Five-year validity2
    • Multiple entries.
    • Costs $144.64.

Why choose us

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What is an OCI card and an Indian visa?

The Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) Card and the Indian Visa serve different purposes. They’re tailored for individuals with different needs and circumstances concerning their travel or stay in India. Here’s a breakdown of their primary distinctions:5 6

The lifelong validity of the OCI Card allows for indefinite travel and stay in India.OCI CARDINDIAN VISA
Purpose and EligibilityIssued to Indian citizens and their spouses to maintain a lifelong connection with India.Designed for foreign nationals visiting India for short-term purposes such as tourism, business, and medical reasons.
Duration and validityLifelong validity of the OCI Card allows for indefinite travel and stay in India.Depends on its type, ranging from a few days to six months or more.
Rights and privilegesCan enjoy broader rights such as a lifelong multi-entry, multi-purpose visa for visiting India.Limited based on the purpose and duration of their visa.
Application processRequires proof of Indian origin.Straightforward and can often be completed online.
Employment and residential rightsIndefinite travel and stay in India.Have the right to live and work in India.”

Key features of OCI cards and Indian visas

Both OCI (Overseas Citizenship of India) cards and Indian visas offer foreigners different ways to access India, but they come with distinct benefits:

OCI Card

  • Multiple entries: Allows cardholders to enter and exit India multiple times without needing a separate visa for each visit.7
  • Long-term stay: Grants indefinite stay rights in India, enabling cardholders to establish a base in the country without restrictions on duration.7
  • Employment and business: Freedom to work, invest, and engage in entrepreneurial activities in India, just like Indian citizens (except for certain government positions).7
  • Educational benefits: Access to colleges, universities, and professional courses in India with equal rights as Indian citizens.
  • Financial and property rights: Ownership and acquisition of immovable properties in India, except for agricultural land.
  • Travel within India: Freedom to travel anywhere within India without restrictions.
  • Similarities to Indian citizens: Enjoy most rights and privileges except for voting rights and holding certain constitutional posts.
  • Application process: This can be more complex and time-consuming than a visa application.

Indian Visa

  • Variety of types: Available for different purposes like tourism, business, employment, study, and medical treatment.
  • Specific duration: Validity depends on the visa type, ranging from short-term stays to longer-term multi-year visas.
  • Limited rights: Visa type determines the permitted activities and stay duration within India.
  • Travel restrictions: Some visa types may restrict travel within India to specific regions or cities.
  • Renewal process: Some visas require renewal for extended stays, while others are valid for the initially granted duration.
  • Easier application process: Generally easier and quicker to apply for than an OCI card.

Benefits and limitations of an OCI card and an Indian Visa

OCI Card Benefits7

  • Multiple entries and long-term stay: Stay in India for as long as you want without visa renewal.
  • Employment and business: Work, invest, and own businesses in India, just like Indian citizens (except for certain government positions).
  • Educational benefits: Attend schools, colleges, and universities in India on par with Indian citizens.
  • Financial and property rights: Own immovable property in India (except agricultural land).
  • Travel within India: Explore the entire country without restrictions.
  • Similarities to Indian citizens: Enjoy most rights and privileges, except for voting and holding certain constitutional posts.

OCI Card Limitations

  • Application Process: The process is lengthy due to detailed documentation.
  • Surrender of Indian Passport: Surrendering your Indian passport and maintaining a single nationality may be a major consideration for those with strong ties to their original country.
  • Limited Political Rights: You cannot vote or hold certain constitutional positions in India.
  • Inconsistent Recognition: While OCI cards offer many benefits, their recognition and acceptance might vary slightly depending on the specific situation or institution involved.
  • Potential for Change: The Indian government can modify OCI card regulations and benefits over time, impacting cardholders.

Indian Visa Benefits2

  • Variety of types: Choose from different visas tailored to specific purposes like tourism, business, employment, and education.
  • Shorter application process: Generally quicker and easier to apply for than an OCI card.
  • Flexibility for short-term stays: Ideal for shorter visits or specific travel goals.
  • There is no requirement to surrender your passport: You can retain your original nationality.

Indian Visa Limitations

  • Limited Stay Duration: Visa duration varies depending on the type, with some requiring renewal for extended stays, creating uncertainty and inconvenience.
  • Restrictions on Activities: Certain visas limit work, business activities, or travel within India, restricting your freedom and opportunities.
  • Less Freedom: Visa holders have limited rights and privileges, which hinders their full integration into Indian life.
  • Renewal Requirements: Some visas require renewal, adding another layer to the process and potential delays or complications.
  • Specific Purpose: Indian visas are tailored for specific purposes like tourism or business, limiting flexibility and adaptability if your plans change.

The application process for an OCI card and an Indian Visa

India OIC Application process:

  • Visit Visas for Future.
  • Choose India OCI and click the button ‘‘Get India OCI Now
  • Fill out the order form with your name, email, and place of submission.
  • Click ”Complete Purchase” to make payment via credit or debit card.
  • Fill out the intake form, and ensure correct and complete details.
  • Review your input details and then submit.
  • Once approved, you’ll receive your OIC card in your email.

Indian Visa application process:

  • Visit Visas for Future.
  • Choose India ETourist Visa and click the button ”Get India ETourist Visa Now
  • Fill out the order form with your name, email address, telephone number, nationality, and travel details.
  • Click ”Complete Purchase’‘ to make payment via credit or debit card.
  • Fill out the intake form and ensure correct and complete details.
  • Review your input details and then submit.
  • Once approved, you’ll receive your Indian eTourist visa in your email within four (4) days.

Cost and processing time for an OCI card and an Indian Visa

The India OIC is $368, which includes the Government fee. The card allows for multiple entries. The application processing time is two business days, but it may take seven (7) to eleven (11) weeks to receive the card.

The costs of Indian Visas are the following:

India eTourist Visa

  • Single Entry: costs $68.14 for 30 days.8
  • Multiple Entry: costs $96.54 for a one-year validity.8
  • Multiple Entry: costs $144.64 for five years of validity.9
  • The processing time is four (4) days.

India eBusiness Visa

  • Multiple Entry: costs $144.64, valid for one (1) year.
  • The processing time is four (4) days.

The India eConference visa

  • Single entry: costs $144.64, valid for 30 days.
  • The processing time is four (4) days.

India eMedical visa and India eMedical Attendant visa

  • Triple Entry: costs $144.64 for 60 days’ validity from arrival.
  • The processing time is four (4) days.

Which should you choose?

The best option for you depends on your individual needs and goals. If you plan to live and work in India for an extended period, an OCI card would be a better choice as it offers greater flexibility and freedom. However, if you are only visiting for a shorter duration or have specific travel purposes, then an Indian visa might be sufficient.


Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need an Indian visa if I have OCI?

You do not need an Indian visa if you have an Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) card. The OCI card itself grants you lifelong multiple entries and stays in India without needing a separate visa.

Is OCI the same as a visa?

The OCI card is often mistaken for a visa but not a visa. Instead, it is a document that grants you the right to work and reside in India. Most visas only permit you to enter a country for a limited time. However, the OCI card differs from your current one.

Can we apply for an Indian visa and OCI together?

Applying for an Indian visa and an OCI card simultaneously is not feasible for two main reasons:
1. Duplication of Purpose: Both serve the same purpose, making simultaneous applications unnecessary.
2. Conflicting Processes: Simultaneous submission is impossible, as they are reviewed independently.

Can I apply for an Indian visa while waiting for OCI?

If you need to travel to India in an emergency, applying for an appropriate visa is advised, even if your OCI application is still being processed.


References

  1. Embassy of India, Manila, Philippines. (2022, June 12). www.eoimanila.gov.in. https://www.eoimanila.gov.in/eoi.php?id=oci/[]
  2. Details of visas granted by India. (2018). <https://www.mha.gov.in/PDF_Other/AnnexIII_01022018.pdf>[][][]
  3. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). (n.d.). Retrieved December 5, 2023,<https://www.mha.gov.in/sites/default/files/2022-07/oci-faq.pdf>[]
  4. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). (n.d.).Retrieved December 5, 2023<https://www.mha.gov.in/sites/default/files/2022-07/oci-faq.pdf>[]
  5. Embassy of India, Manila, Philippines. (2022, June 12). www.eoimanila.gov.in. https://www.eoimanila.gov.in/eoi.php?id=oci/[]
  6. General policy guidelines relating to Indian visa (2018)1 Possession of travel documents.<https://www.mha.gov.in/PDF_Other/AnnexI_01022018.pdf>[]
  7. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). (n.d.).from https://www.mha.gov.in/sites/default/files/2022-07/oci-faq.pdf[][][][]
  8. General policy guidelines relating to Indian visa. (2018). 1 Possession of travel documents.<https://www.mha.gov.in/PDF_Other/AnnexI_01022018.pdf>[][]
  9. General policy guidelines relating to Indian visa (2018). 1 Possession of travel documents.<https://www.mha.gov.in/PDF_Other/AnnexI_01022018.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. "OCI Card VS Indian Visa: A Comparative Overview." Visas For Future, https://www.visasforfuture.com/oci-card-vs-indian-visa/. Accessed on 10 October 2023.

Chicago Style

Samortin, Jenilyn. "OCI Card VS Indian Visa: A Comparative Overview." Visas For Future. October 10, 2023. https://www.visasforfuture.com/oci-card-vs-indian-visa/.

Published: 10 Oct 2023 7:56 UTC

Last modified: 4 Feb 2024 14:08 UTC

Reading time: 12 minutes

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