What is OCI and why so lucrative?

By definition, it is a multiple entry lifelong visa granted to eligible persons of Indian origin, who wish to visit India for any purpose (except for research work which needs prior permission from concerned Indian Mission/ Post/ FRRO) with the following facilities:

  • Exemption from registration with Foreigners Regional Registration Officer (FRRO) or Foreigners Registration Officer (FRO) for any length of stay in India.
  • Parity with Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) in respect of all facilities available to them in economic, financial, and educational fields except in matters relating to the acquisition of agricultural or plantation properties.
  • Registered OCI Cardholders is treated at par with Non-Resident-Indians (NRIs) in the matter of inter-country adoption of Indian children.
  • Registered OCI Cardholders are treated at par with resident Indian nationals in the matter of tariffs in air fares in domestic sectors in India.
  • Registered OCI Cardholders are charged the same entry fee as domestic Indian visitors to visit national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in India.
  • Parity with NRIs in respect of:-
    • Entry fee charged for visiting national monuments, historical sites and museums in India;
    • Pursuing the following professions in India, in pursuance of the provisions contained in the relevant Acts, namely:-
      • Doctors, Dentists, Nurses and Pharmacists;
      • Advocates;
      • Architects;
      • Chartered Accountants;
    • To appear for the All India Pre-Medical Test or such other tests to make them eligible for admission in pursuance of the provisions contained in the relevant Acts.
  • State Governments ensure that the OCI Cardholder registration booklets of OCI Cardholders are treated as their identification for any services rendered to them. In case proof of residence is required, Overseas Citizens of India Cardholder may give an affidavit attested by a notary public stating, that a particular/specific address may be treated as their place of residence in India and may also in their affidavit give their overseas residential address as well as e-mail address, if any.

Any other benefits to an OCI Cardholder are notified by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) under section 7B(1) of the Citizenship Act, 1955.


OVERSEAS Service Request

Benefits to which OCI Cardholder is “not entitled to”

The OCI Cardholder is not entitled to

  • Vote
  • Be a member of Legislative Assembly or Legislative Council or Parliament
  • Cannot hold Constitutional posts such as President, Vice President, Judge of Supreme Court or High Court etc.
  • The OCI Cardholder isn’t entitled for appointment to public services and posts in connection with the affairs of the Union or of any State except for appointment in such services and posts as the Central Government may, by special order, in that behalf, specify.
  • OCI Cardholder cannot acquire agricultural or plantation properties in India.

Eligibity Criteria

Following categories of foreign nationals are eligible for registration as Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) Cardholder:-

  • A person who was a citizen of India at the time of, or at any time after the commencement of the Constitution i.e. 26.01.1950;
  • A person who was eligible to become a citizen of India on 26.01.1950;
  • A person who belonged to a territory that became part of India after 15.08.1947;
  • A person who is a child or a grandchild or a great grandchild of such a citizen;
  • A person who is a minor child of such persons mentioned above;
  • A person who is a minor child and whose both parents are citizens of India or one of the parents is a citizen of India;
  • 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.

Note : No person, who or either of whose parents or grandparents or great grandparents is or had been a citizen of Pakistan, Bangladesh or such other country as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify, shall be eligible for registration as an Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder.

Application Form and Procedure

Applications for registration as OCI Cardholder are to be submitted online only. For this purpose, please log on to https://passport.gov.in/oci

Application Fee

Till such time, the online payment facility is introduced,

  • In case of application submitted in Indian Mission/ Post abroad - By way of Demand Draft for US $ 275 for each applicant or equivalent in local currency.
  • In case application is submitted in India - a fee of Rs.15,000/- by way of Demand Draft drawn in favour of “Pay and Accounts Officer (Secretariat), Ministry of Home Affairs” payable at New Delhi.

Procedure for submission of application by erstwhile PIO cardholders

As on date, all Person of Indian Origin (PIO) cardholders with valid PIO cards as on 9.1.2015 are deemed to be Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders in terms of the notification issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs on 9.1.2015. However, all persons having valid PIO cards as on 9th January, 2015 are advised to apply for registration as OCI cardholder in view of the following advantages in possessing an OCI card:-

  • OCI card is a smart card;
  • Possession of an OCI card will facilitate quicker immigration clearance at the Immigration Check Posts;
  • It will help in obtaining various Consular Services from the Indian Missions;
  • For those who are resident in India, it will facilitate in availing various services in India.

The erstwhile PIO cardholder with a valid PIO card as on 9.1.2015 will have to upload only the following documents with his/ her application:-

  • Copy of the valid Passport
  • Copy of the PIO card

The applicants can submit the applications online https://passport.gov.in/oci/ from anywhere. The grant of OCI card in lieu of the PIO card will be on a gratis basis. The OCI card shall be issued by the Indian Mission/ Post/ FRRO concerned within the jurisdiction of the applicant’s place of residence. The applicant will have to approach the Indian Mission/ Post/ FRRO concerned only for collecting the OCI Card by surrendering the PIO card.

Important instructions

  • The OCi Cardholder registration is required to be got re-issued each time a new passport is issued up to the age of 20 years of age and once after completing 50 years of age in view of biological changes in the face of the applicant.
  • Re-issuance of the OCI Cardholder registration is not mandatory each time a new passport is issued between 21 and 50 years of age. However, if the applicant wishes to avail this service, he/she can apply for the same.
  • For OCI Miscellaneous services, guidelines uploaded on this Ministry’s website www.mha.nic.in may please be referred to.

OCI Miscellaneous Services

OCI Miscellaneous Services can be availed only by the registered OCIs for re-issuance/issuance of duplicate OCI documents in the following contingencies:

  • In case of issuance of new passport.
  • In case of change of personal particulars viz. nationality etc.
  • In case of loss/damage of OCI registration certificate/visa.
  • In case of filling of wrong personal particulars while submitting online applications viz. name, father’s name, date of birth etc.
  • In case of manually filled in applications (discontinued now) mistakes have been committed by the Indian Mission/Post/Office while entering the personal particulars.
  • In case of change of address/occupation.

Applicable Fees for OCI Miscellaneous Services

  • US $25 or equivalent in local currency for re-issuance of OCI documents in case of issuance of new passport, change of personal particulars, wrong filing of particulars. In case of applications filed in India, a demand draft for Rs.1,400/- drawn in favour of “Pay and Accounts officer (Secretariat), Ministry of Home Affairs” payable at New Delhi has to be enclosed.
  • US $100 or equivalent in local currency for issuance of duplicate OCI documents in case of loss/damage. In case of application filed in India, an amount of Rs.5,500/- has to be paid. (Both OCI registration certificate and visa shall be issued in respect of any/all service(s)).

For more information, please refer - Gazette Notification of Merger of PIO & OCI Cards: http://mha1.nic.in/pdfs/Merge_PIO_OCI.pdf