Overseas Citizen of India:

Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) of certain categories who migrated from India and acquired citizenship of a foreign country, other than Pakistan and Bangladesh, are eligible to be granted an OCI as long as their home countries allow dual citizenship in some form or the other under their local laws.

Eligibility: 

The Government of India, on application, may register any person as an Overseas Citizen of India, if the person:

· was a citizen of India on 26 January 1950 or at any time thereafter; or

· belonged to a territory that became part of India after 15 August 1947; or

· was eligible to become a citizen of India on 26 January 1950; or

· is a child or a grandchild or a great grandchild of such a citizen; or

· is a minor child of such persons mentioned above; or

· is a minor child and whose both parents are citizens of India or one of the parents is a citizen of India; or

· is a spouse of foreign origin of a citizen of India or spouse of foreign origin of an Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder registered under section 7A of the Citizenship Act, 1955 and whose marriage has been registered and subsisted for a continuous period of not less than two years immediately preceding the presentation of the application.

Application: Applications for OCI can only be made online at passport.gov.in. A person making an application is required to submit a photograph and several identification documents and must also pay an application fee. Applications made from outside India are charged a fee of US$275 and those submitted in India are charged a fee of ₹15,000 (US$230).

The applicant must provide proof of their current citizenship by presenting a copy of their current passport that has a minimum validity of at least 6 months. If the applicant is making their application while within Indian jurisdiction, they must submit a copy of any type of Indian visa (other than missionary and mountaineering visa), or a residential permit with at least 3 months validity. Applicants must provide evidence that either they or their parents or grandparents or great grandparents meet the eligibility criteria described above by presenting a copy of an Indian passport, a copy of the Domicile Certificate issued by the competent authority, a copy of Nativity Certificate from the competent authority, or an OCI Card/PIO Card of parents or spouse along with the base papers/ documents upon which the OCI/ PIO card was issued. Applicants may also submit any other evidence that may substantiate their claim. Usually applicants are able to submit a certificate of residence or place of birth of self/parents/grandparents from First Class Magistrate/District Magistrate (DM) of the concerned place.

If the applicant cites their Indian origin as basis for registration as OCI Cardholder, they must provide evidence of their relationship with the person cited as parent/grandparent/great grandparent. The document of relationship could be a birth certificate.

Evidence as spouse of foreign origin of a citizen of India or spouse of foreign origin of an OCI Cardholder can be provided in the form of a registered marriage certificate. In the case of spouse of an Indian citizen, a copy of the Indian Passport of the spouse or copy of the Domicile Certificate or Nativity Certificate issued by the Competent Authority in respect of the Indian spouse or any other

proof substantiating the status of the spouse as being an Indian citizen. In the case of spouse of an OCI Cardholder, a copy of the present valid Passport of the spouse and copy of the OCI Card of the spouse and copies of the documents upon which the OCI Card was issued to the spouse.

PIO to OCI:  

The difference between PIO and OCI is the eligibility criteria. The PIO scheme covers up to four generations and the foreign spouse of an Indian national or a PIO/OCI card holder. But, for the OCI card it is mandatory to be eligible in your own terms i.e. a foreign national is not eligible for the OCI card even if he/she is married to a valid OCI card holder. However, their children are eligible.

How does one become/convert to an OCI ?

You can apply through the Indian embassy in your country of residence or within India at the local FRRO.

Below mentioned is the sample documentation you will need

· Proof of present citizenship

· Proof of former Indian citizenship (for you or your relative)

· Proof of renunciation of Indian citizenship (if applicable)

· Proof of relationship to an Indian citizen

The entire process can take several months in some cases. Fees vary from nationality to nationality. If you apply in India, the fee is Rs. 15,000 for an adult or Rs. 8,000 for a minor. You can convert a PIO card to an OCI card if you qualify, and the fees are very nominal.

If you get an OCI, it is NOT the same as being a regular Indian citizen:

· You do not get an Indian passport. There is no such thing as an OCI passport.

· You have no voting rights.

· You cannot be a candidate for Lok Sabha/Rajya Sabha/ Legislative Assembly/ Council or a member of the House of the People or of the Council of States.

· You cannot hold constitutional posts such as President, Vice President, Judge of Supreme Court/High Court, etc.

· You cannot normally hold employment on the Government on India.

· Cannot acquire agricultural or plantation properties in India. However, such a person can inherit such properties.

Benefits:

· Multiple entry, multiple purpose lifelong visa to visit India

· Exemption from reporting to Police authorities for any length of stay in India and

· Parity with NRIs in financial, economic and educational fields except in the acquisition of agricultural or plantation properties.