Centre Releases New Guidelines for “OCI Cardholders”

What is the News?

The Central Government released new guidelines related to the Overseas Citizen of India(OCI).

What is the current Procedure for the OCI card?

  • Currently, the Overseas Citizen of India(OCI) card is required to be re-issued each time. Generally, the re-issue will occur two times.
    1. One, when issuing a new passport after 20 years of age.
    2. Other, when issuing a new passport after completing 50 years of age.
  • This is in view of capturing the biological changes in the face of the applicant.

What are the New Guidelines?

  • A person who is registered as an OCI cardholder prior to attaining the age of 20 years will get the card re-issued only once. (after completing his or her 20 years of age). This is to capture his or her facial features on attaining adulthood.
  • If a person has obtained an OCI card after attaining the age of 20 years, then there will be no requirement of re-issue of an OCI card.

Other New Guidelines: To update the data regarding new passports obtained by the OCI cardholder, it has been decided that:

  • OCI Cardholder shall upload a copy of the new passport containing along with the latest photo on the online OCI portal. He/She has to do this each time a new passport is issued up to 20 years of age and once after completing 50 years of age.
  • OCI cardholder shall upload the documents within three months of receipt of the new passport.
  • However, the spouses of the OCI cardholders will have to upload a copy of their passport along with a declaration whenever a new passport is issued. The declaration has to include that their marriage is still subsisting.

Who can apply for an OCI Card? :

  1. A foreign national who was a citizen of India at the time of, or at any time after 26th January 1950; or
  2. Foreign national eligible to become a citizen of India on 26th January 1950; or
  3. A foreigner who belonged to a territory that became part of India after 15th August 1947; or
  4. A foreign national who is a child or a grandchild or a great-grandchild of such a citizen; or
  5. A foreigner who is a minor child and whose both parents are citizens of India or one of the parents is a citizen of India
  6. Besides, a spouse of foreign origin of a citizen of India or a spouse of foreign origin of an OCI Cardholder is also eligible. But their marriage has to be registered and has a continuous period of not less than two years.

Note: If the applicant had ever been a citizen of Pakistan or Bangladesh, he/she will not be eligible to be registered as OCI.

Benefits to OCI Cardholders

  • OCI cardholders can enter India multiple times, get a multi-purpose lifelong visa to visit India. Further, they are also exempt from registering with Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO).
  • If an individual is registered as an OCI for a period of five years, he/she is eligible to apply for Indian citizenship.
  • OCI cardholders can open special bank accounts in India, buy a non-farm property and exercise ownership rights. They can also apply for a Permanent Account Number (PAN) card.

Restrictions:

  • OCI cardholders do not get voting rights, cannot hold a government job. They also cannot purchase agricultural or farmland.

Source: The Hindu

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