Overseas Citizens of India (OCI)

According to a recently released government notification, peoples of Indian Origin and Indian migrants holding the “Overseas Citizen of India” (OCI) card will not have to bring their old, expired passports with them to travel to India. It should be known that earlier OCI card holders were required to show their old passports for their travel to India.

Who are the “Overseas Indian Citizens” (OCI) card holders?

1. The Overseas Citizenship of India-OCI scheme was launched by the Government of India in August 2005, amending the Citizenship Act, 1955.

2. On 09 January 2015 by the Government of India, the Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) card was abolished and combined with the “Overseas Citizen of India” (OCI) card.

Overseas Citizen of India

Eligibility:

The following categories of foreign nationals have been allowed by the Government of India to apply for the Overseas Citizenship of India:

1. One who is a citizen of another country, but at the time of enactment of the Constitution, was a citizen of India on or after 26 January 1950; or

2. who is a citizen of another country, but was eligible to become a citizen of India on 26 January 1950; or

3. One who is a citizen of another country, but was associated with a territory that became part of India after August 5, 1947; or

4. who is the son / daughter or grandson / grand-daughter, grand-son / grand-daughter or great-great-grand-daughter / grand-son / grand-daughter of any such citizen; or

5. To any person who is the non-attainable son / daughter of a person mentioned in clause (a).

Exception:

1. A person applying for “Overseas Citizen of India” (OCI) card must have a valid passport from another country.

2. Those persons who do not have citizenship of any other country are not eligible to obtain the status of ‘Overseas Citizen of India’.

3. Individuals whose parents or grandparents are citizens of Pakistan and Bangladesh are not eligible to apply for the Overseas Citizenship of India card.

Benefits for OCI card holders:

1. Life-long visa to visit India.

2. There is no need to register with the Foreigners Regional Registration Officer (FRRO) or Foreign Registration Officer (FRO)during the stay.

3. Non-resident Indians (NRIs) have access to economic, financial, educational, facilities, but are not allowed to buy agriculture, property or plantations.

4. Similar treatment of NRIs in relation to inter-country adoption of Indian children.

5. Entry fees in national monuments, treatment of NRIs on adoption of occupations like doctors, dentists, nurses, advocates, architects, chartered accountants and pharmacists.

6. Non-Resident Indians behave similarly for participating in All India Pre-Medical Examinations and other such examinations.

7. Equal treatment of Indian citizens in air-traffic matters in Indian domestic areas.

8. Equal entry fee for Indians for entry into India’s national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. 9. Overseas Indian Citizen (OCI) booklets can be used as identification to avail services. The OCI card can be attached as a residential proof by affixing the local address

Overseas Citizen of India

Restrictions on OCI card holders:

 1. There is no right to vote.

2. Not eligible to apply for any public service / government job.

3. The Prime Minister, the President, the Deputy Chief, the Judge of the Supreme Court and the High Court, Member of Parliament or Member of the State Legislative Assembly or Council – do not have the authority to appoint to the post.

4. Cannot buy agricultural property.

Prelims Based Questions:

1. Definition of citizen.

2. Difference : POI vs OCI vs NRI

3. Power to grant and revoke citizenship?

4. Dual citizenship in India.

5. Right for OCI card holders to vote in elections and contest elections.

6. Can OCI holders purchase agricultural land?

7. To whom can an OCI card be issued?

Mains Based Questions:

Who are Overseas Citizens of India? What benefits are available to OCI cardholders?

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