The Overseas citizenship of India (OCI)
It is possible for someone to be considered a citizen under the laws of two or more countries at the same time. This is known as dual citizenship. The Indian Parliament passed a Bill to grant dual citizenship to the people of Indian origin on December 22, 2003. The Bill received the President's approval on January 7, 2004, and became operational from 2nd December 2005. The Bill will help grant dual citizenship to Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) belonging to, or having citizenship of other countries subject to certain conditions. The grant of dual citizenship was intended to remove for those who have taken foreign passports, the obstacle in travel to and from India, permit investment in business ventures and foster a greater sense of belonging.
The Overseas citizenship of India (OCI) is granted to persons who migrated from India and acquired citizenship of a foreign country other than Pakistan and Bangladesh. They are eligible for grant of OCI as long as their home countries allow dual citizenship in some form or the other under their local laws. However persons registered as OCI shall not have any voting rights and rights for public employment.
Every registered OCI will be issued a registration certificate which is printed like an Indian passport in different colour and an OCI visa sticker will be pasted in the personís foreign passport. These two documents will have the photograph of the individual and all necessary security features.
A foreign national, who was eligible to become citizen of India on 26.01.1950 or was a citizen of India on or at anytime after 26.01.1950 or belonged to a territory that became part of India after 15.08.1947 such as Sikkim, Pondicherry, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Goa, Daman and Diu and his/her children and grand children, provided his/her country of citizenship allows dual citizenship in some form or the other under the local laws, is eligible for registration as Overseas Citizen of India (OCI). Minor children of such persons are also eligible for OCI. However, if the applicant had ever been a citizen of Pakistan or Bangladesh, he/she will not be eligible for OCI. A person registered as OCI is eligible to apply for grant of Indian citizenship under section 5(1)(g) of the Citizenship Act, 1955 if he/she is registered as OCI for five years and has been residing in India for one year out of the five years before making the application.
Once you are accepted and registered as an Indian citizen, you will receive the following benefits:
A registration certificate to prove your dual status
Overseas citizen passport in addition to the passport of the country of which you are already a citizen
You will no longer need to apply for a visa to travel to India. You have rights for multiple entry and a multipurpose life long visa to visit India. However, you must carry and present both passports at the time of travel.
You will not have to go through any registration formalities for staying in the country for any length of time.
You will no longer have to provide separate documentation for admission to any college/institution or for employment.
You will be treated the same as a non-resident Indian with respect to the facilities available to the latter in the economic, financial and educational field, except in the acquisition of agricultural or plantation properties.
Your children will be eligible for facilities as available to children of NRIs for obtaining admission to educational institutions in India, including medical colleges, engineering colleges, institute of technology, institute of management etc. under the general category
You can make the most of facilities under the various housing schemes of LIC, State Government and other government agencies
The application of registration for Overseas Citizenship of India can be made in the prescribed form in India or the Indian Missions abroad. All application will be processed in India. This Registration Certificate once received is valid for life unless renounced or cancelled.
The registration form should be completed and submitted in triplicate by the applicant himself;
i) In India
To the Collector within whose jurisdiction the applicant is ordinary resident for transmission to the Central Government through the State Government or Union Territory Administration, as the case may be.
To the Indian Consulate/Embassy whose jurisdiction the country of which an applicant is a citizen for this for transmission to the Central Government.
Applications for grant of OCI will be received by all Indian Missions/Posts outside India and by FRROs/CHIO and OCI Cell in Foreigners Division of MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs) in India. An eligible person may apply in the Indian Mission/Post of the country of his/her nationality or in the Indian Mission/Post of any other country if he/she is ordinarily residing in that country. He/she will have to submit proof for his/her parents/grand parents having migrated from India after 26 th January, 1950 or having been eligible to be granted Indian citizenship on that date or having been resident of such territories like Goa, Pondicherry, Sikkim.
For applications to be filed in India, an amount of Rs. 12,650 has to be paid for each applicant by Demand Draft in favour of "Pay and Accounts Officer (Secretariat), Ministry of Home Affairs" payable at New Delhi. In case of PIO Card holders, an amount of Rs. 1,150 has to be paid. In case of applications to be filed outside India, the amount of fee has to be paid in local currency.