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OCI (Overseas Citizenship of India) – A Detailed View

The Overseas Citizenship (OCI) has to do a lot with the history and people. From centuries and centuries, people have been migrating from one country to another country in search of shelter, food, study, and work. In early years there were people called Nomads and Hippie traveled from place to place in search of food and shelter. Countries like Bali, Indonesia, Fiji etc still have that Indian touch in their facial features and behaviors and they still listen to Amitabh Bachchan’s songs.

Indian Diaspora-

People with Indian origin had begun to migrate overseas since the 19th century. Indians had spread initially in the countries like Africa, Fiji, Caribbean and a lot more due to the cheap and massive labor that arose immediately due to the British slavery in 1833-1834. Today the Indian Diaspora constitutes around 20 million of population reflecting a rich diversity and potpourri of culture, heritage, religion, socialism, and ethnicity. According to the current census, the maximum of the Indian population is present in the United Arab Emirates, constituting an approx of 75% of the total population, 68.3% of the population in Mauritius is covered by the Indians. The Indian Community maximum holds in the countries like Kazakhstan,  Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and much more. It consists of students, entrepreneurs, managers, hotels, managers, traders, bankers, multinational corporations, and workers.

There are many famous personalities and celebrities who hold an Indian Origin and has set their mark in the other countries.

  • Shri Krishna Pandit Bhanji – having an Indian-Kenyan descent is a well know Oscar winning actor.
  • Kalpana Chawla – First Notable Indian- American astronaut.
  • Anand Satyanand- Former Governor General of New Zealand.
  • Lily Singh- Also called as “Superwoman” having an Indo-Canadian descent is the most famous Indian YouTube Personality.”
  • Rudranath Capildeo- Having an Indo-Trinidadian is a famous Mathematician and Politician.
  • Satya Nadela- Having an Indian- American descent is the Microsoft’s CEO.
  • Sundar Pichai- Having an Indian- American descent, he is a famous business executive who is the CEO of Google.

These people are an inspiration to all. Nowadays, moving out of a country and settling down in abroad is like a dream of every Indian. Many of our parents feel proud saying that their son and daughter are studying or working in abroad. However, the Indians who settle down in abroad work a lot hard and study just to keep and maintain a strong connection to India.

This creates a lot of trouble for the Indian Government in figuring out how to deal with 30 million of the Indians living in another country. There are so many issues residing like. What about the land ownership? Voting? Taxation process? Passport, Visa and much more. One of such major moot point is the Overseas Citizenship India. 

Overseas Citizenship of India

There’s a famous quote by Jawaharlal Nehru stating-

Citizenship consists in the service of the country

Same goes with the Overseas Citizenship.


These are citizens of India who hold a lifetime Visa status. These are the citizens of India who have migrated from India for purposes like education and employment and achieved a citizenship of a foreign country.

Eligibility Criteria to apply for OCI

The applicants who come under the OCI umbrella satisfies certain criteria and conditions. This criteria and conditions are registered under the Section 7A Citizenship Act, 1955. Some of its criteria are as follows-

Hemust be a citizen of India or at any time after 26th January 1950.

  • If the applicant belongs to a territory, which became a part of India after 15th August 1947.
  • If he/she is the child/grandchild/great grandchild of the citizen who is eligible for all the above conditions mentioned, can also hold an OCI status.
  •  A minor child whose parents fall under the above criteria or anyone of the parent is a citizen of India is also eligible for an OCI status.
  • If the person is a spouse of the foreign origin of a citizen of India or a spouse of a foreign origin of an Overseas Citizen of India cardholder registered under the Section 7A Citizenship Act 1955. They must be legally registered and married for a continuous period of time not less than 2 years.

Who Are Not Eligible For The OCI Status

These are the following people who don’t satisfy the eligibility for OCI

  • If anyone has ever been a citizen of Pakistan or Bangladesh.
  • If anyone having their parents or grandparents as a citizen of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, China or Sri Lanka FRRO.
  • Any person who had or has served the foreign military or worked under the foreign defense department.

Any person who had or has served the foreign military or worked under the foreign defense department.

How To Apply For An Overseas Citizenship of India:

Application for the registration of an OCI can be done online.

Follow The Following Instructions:

  • Make sure you fill in the correct details.
  • Go through the complete form before clicking the submission button.

Using Internet Explorer browser is recommended as other web browsers may have a difficulty in saving the dates in the application form.

The official site through which you can apply for an OCI card is https://passport.gov.in/oci/ The process of registration is divided in Two Parts- PART ‘A’ and PART ‘B’.

 Detailed Steps To Follow For The Registration of an OCI Application:

  • Part “A” Registration:
  • Visit the official website and click on the “New Registration”.
  • After clicking the “New Registration” option, a box of instructions pops out. The instructions are as follows-
    • It is compulsory to upload the applicant’s photo and signature during the time of the OCI registration.
    • The Height and the Width of the signature and the photo must satisfy the aspect ratio of 1:3.
    • Make sure that you have the Photo and the signature ready before filling up the registration form.
    • After reading the instruction, click OK.
  • You’ll be given a Captcha question before getting started up. For example-
    “What is the color of the Apple?”.
  • After answering the above question, you’ll be given two Options saying-
    • You want to start a Fresh Application or
    • Continue with the Partially filled application
  • Choose the desired option, but for now, let us consider registering for a fresh passport-
  • In the OCI registration form, submit the following details
    • Place of Submission- In this part, you need to mention the place where you are applying.
    • Mission- This denotes the FRRO office which is nearest to your residential location. The FRRO office is the primary agency to conduct the registration process, stay and departure and also for the recommendation of the extension to stay in India.
    • After filling the above information, fill the Applicant’s details. Under the
    • Applicant’s details-

      • Surname- Mention your surname
      • Required given name- Your first name
      • Then there’s an option that if you have ever changed your name, click inside the box otherwise leave it blank.
      • If you tick the box, then provide the previous name and surname in the required box.
      • Sex- Mention the desired gender, male/female/transgender.
      • Date of Birth- You need to mention your birth date.
      • Country of the Birth- The country where you were born.
      • Birth Place- Your birthplace basically “Your Hometown”
      • Current Nationality- Mention your nationality, ethnicity you belong to Hindu/Christian/Jainism etc..
      • Visible Mark- If you have any sort of scars, scab or flaws. Mention that.
      • Marital Status- This section asks you whether you are married or unmarried or a divorcee.
  • There’s another sub-section called Applicant’s Passport Details where you are required to fill the Passport Details. The Passport Details that are needed are-
    • Passport Number- The Passport Number is 9 digit number which is located at the upper right corner of the page.
    • Date of Issue- It is the date when your Passport was issued.
    • Place of issue-This denotes the place where your Passport was issued.
  • The next sub-section is Applicant’s Family Details. Where you are required to fill the following details-
    • Father’s Name
    • Father’s Nationality
    • Mother’s Name
    • Mother’s Nationality
  • The images must be in JPEG format or jpg format with a maximum size limit of 200kb.
  • The height and the width dimensions of the Applicant’s photo must satisfy the following criteria-
  • The minimum dimensions are 200 pixels (width) * 200 pixels (height).
  • The maximum dimensions are 900 pixels (height).
    • Under the Section 7A of the Citizen Act, 1955, the act states that;
    • This is to certify that the person whose particulars are given in this Certificate has been registered as an Overseas Citizen of India under the provisions of Section 7A of the Citizenship Act, 1955
      • All the details mentioned above are mandatory to fill.
      • Once you are done with the above steps click save next and continue. This will re-direct you to the next page.
    • Page II of the Part “A” form-
      • After clicking on the next button. You will be redirected to the verification page.
      • Crosscheck all the details that you have submitted and select modify if there are corrections to be made. If all the information is correct then click submit.
      • The next page redirects you to the OCI registration image upload page.
      • Here you will see a File Reference number displayed and information regarding the upload of image and signature is displayed.
      • Now, upload the photo and the signature on the desired boxes.
      • The next page will show the applicant’s image and the signature uploaded. if it seems okay then you can further click “I have uploaded successfully” otherwise you can upload it again if it is not proper.
      • The next page is the OCI Registration Confirmation. This page includes a File Reference Number which can be recorded for the future reference.

This completes the Part “A” of the OCI registration process. Click to proceed Part “B” of the Registration Form.

  • This is the last and the final step of the application process. it includes a one-page application form. This application form asks a general question which you need to answer.
  • After answering the question. Click the submit button.
  • The next page will take you to the confirmation page for the successful completion of the application form (both Part A and B).
  • After the completion of both the forms, now click to Generate Registration form and take the printout.
  • Uploading Documents-

    Applicants are required to click upload documents and upload the relevant documents. You will need a Passport Number and the online registration number to further proceed with the documents upload.

    • Select the required documents and upload. The maximum size limit of the documents is 500Kb.
    • After the documents are successfully uploaded it will show that you have successfully completed the registration procedure of the OCI.
    • After the submission of all the document, you are successfully done with the online part of the of the registration.

      Documents Required-

      The documents which are required for an OCI status are-

      • Photocopies of the Passport / a copy of Domicile Certificate issued by the Competent Authority / an Evidence of Relationship as a parent/grandparent if their Indian Origin is claimed as the Basis of Grant of OCI.
      • If the origin of the Parent/Grandparents is claimed then the following documents are necessary-
        • The applicants who are claiming for an OCI card on the basis of their Parents or Grandparents need to show their birth certificate showing their parents name.
        • Submission of the applicant’s birth certificate as well their parent’s birth certificate clearly mentioning their names with the connection established.
        • A copy of their Indian Passport or their Domicile Certificate or land ownership certificate.
        • Including any other proof, that is acceptable to authority as a proof that the applicant has an Indian Origin.
        • Surrender Certificate-

          The Indian Nationals who are applying for an OCI card requires submitting a “Surrender Certificate”.

          What is a Surrender Certificate? How can I avail it? What is the procedure?

          A “Surrender Certificate” is a certificate claiming that the applicant wants to surrender the Indian Citizenship and wants to acquire a Foreign Citizenship and Nationality. You can avail this certificate by applying it online on the official site of the Passport. http://passportindia.gov.in/AppOnlineProject/welcomeLink and later you need to visit the Passport Office along with the required documents for further verification.

        • Fees- If you have acquired for the Foreign Nationality on or after 1st June 2010 then you will have to pay Rs 5000/-. If you have acquired for a Foreign Nationality before 1st June 2010 then you will be charged Rs 500/-.
        • Documents- You need to submit your Original Passport along with the Foreign Nationality.
      • The Applicants can check their application status and track on the official website.
        • OCI Approval Application-

          After the approval of the OCI application, the application and the other documents are sent to the concerned Indian Consulate.

        • After multiple verification procedures, an OCI “U” Visa sticker is pasted on the  Foreign Passport and a registered certificate which is in a form of booklet is issued to the applicant.
      • According to the Indian Citizenship Act 1956 (25C), the applicants who are applying for an OCI card can submit their applications to the following-
        • The Foreigner’s Regional Registration Office (FRRO) in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata or Amritsar.
        • The Chief Immigration Officers (CHIO) in Chennai OR
        • OCI Cell in Foreigners Division of Ministry of Home Affairs at Under Secretary (Foreigner Division)
        • Ministry Home Affairs.
      • Fees: For applications that are filed in India, the current fee is Rs 15,000/- for each applicant. The fees can be paid in the form of a demand draft, payable at New Delhi and made in the favor of the Accounts Officer.

OCI Fee Refund: If in case your application fee is canceled, the processing fee of $25 will be deducted (Rs 1603.11/-) and the rest amount will be refunded back.

Benefits of OCI Citizenship-

  • They can have a life long multiple entry visits to India- The applicants who own an OCI card can visit India multiple times without any termination of their Visa. In short, they own a life long Visa.
  • You can eventually be a citizen of India if you remain an OCI for 5 years and stay in India for at least 1 year.
  • No requirement of a student Visa to study in India- You will not be asked for a Visa to study in India.
  • You don’t require an employment Visa to get a job- You can freely apply for Job without any requirement of an employment Visa.
  • You can also open a Personal Bank Account in India, just like the NRIs do- You can open and create your own Personal Bank Account, anywhere in India.
  • You can also use your OCI card, for applying for a driving license,  to get a PAN card or open a bank account- You can use an OCI card for applying in different identity proof cards like PAN card, Driving License etc.
  • You can buy non – farm properties as well as make investments in India- You can buy and sell the land properties as well.

You pay the Indian resident fee in various places such as visiting parks, wildlife sanctuaries, monuments, museums.

Drawbacks for an OCI citizen:

  • OCI applicants are restricted to purchase agricultural land or farm houses.
  • The OCI applicants cannot vote.
  • The OCI citizens cannot hold a Government Job.
  • The OCI applicants may not travel to some of the restricted areas without permission.
    • The Restricted Areas are-
      • Andaman and Nicobar Islands
      • Arunachal Pradesh
      • Himachal Pradesh
      • Kashmir
      • Lakshadweep Islands
      • Manipur
      • Mizoram
      • Nagaland
      • Rajasthan
      • Sikkim
      • Uttaranchal.


Living abroad is tempting as well as daunting. A lot of people desire and dream of studying and working in the foreign countries and earn a better position. OCI holders are one them. Their application procedure, as well as the documents collected, is not that tuff and complex as compared to the procedures of an Indian Passport but they somewhere loose a lot of privileges and rights. They have benefits as well but still, they have their Indian tags tucked to their hearts.

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