The Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card is issued to a foreign national of Indian origin. It is an immigration status permitting them to live and work in the country indefinitely. The OCI card was introduced in August 2005 in response to demands for dual citizenship by the Indian diaspora who were residing in the developed countries.
It was introduced under the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2005 and was launched during the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas convention held in Hyderabad in 2006. It needs to be mentioned that the constitution of India prevents the citizens of the country from holding dual citizenship. OCI is not actual citizenship of India according to the law as it has many limitations such as no right to vote, no right to hold constitutional offices, and no right to buy agricultural properties.
What is required to apply for an OCI card?
To apply for an OCI card, the applicant must be a citizen of another country and hold its passport. The OCI document is not issued to citizens who reside in Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Eligibility required in order to register for OCI card
To apply for an OCI card, the applicant must fulfil the following criteria:
- The person was a citizen of India at the time of or any time after 26 January 1950.
- The person was eligible to become a citizen of India on 26 January 1950.
- The person belonged to a territory that became part of India after 15 August 1947.
- The person is a minor or a child or a grandchild or a great-grandchild of such a person mentioned in the first three points.
- The person is a minor child and whose parents are citizens of India or one of the parents is a citizen of India.
- The person is the spouse of foreign origin of a citizen of India or spouse of foreign origin of an overseas citizen of India cardholder 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.
Registration for OCI card
All eligible persons can file their application for registration as OCI online. Before the registration process could be started, there are certain things that eligible persons need to know. They are mentioned below:
- The person must first check the eligibility before the starting the registration process.
- If the applicant is already an OCI card holder, he/she needs to use OCI miscellaneous services.
- The person needs to register through OCI registration even if he/she is a PIO card holder or the card is in the lost state.
- To reprint the already registered application, the ‘Reprint Submitted Application’ service must be used.
- The applicant must be ready with his/her photo and the image of the signature. The size of both the photo and the signature must not exceed 200 KB.
- The supporting documents must be ready in PDF format whose size must not exceed 1,000 KB.
Apart from these, there are certain prerequisites as well which needs to be addressed. They are:
Note: The height and width of the photo must be equal. The minimum and maximum dimensions are 200 pixels x 200 pixels and 900 pixels x 900 pixels (width x height). The height and width of the signature’s image must have an aspect ratio of 1:3. The minimum and maximum dimensions are 200 pixels x 67 pixels and 900 pixels x 300 pixels (width x height).
To register as OCI, eligible persons need to follow the steps mentioned below:
- The applicant must first visit www.ociservices.gov.in
- Next, he/she needs to click on ‘OCI Registration’
- In doing so, the applicant is redirected to a new page where he/she needs to click on the link that reads ‘Click Here to Proceed’.
- In the next page, the applicant is required to click on ‘Proceed’.
- In the corresponding page, the applicant needs to key in the captcha code and click on ‘Enter’.
- Next, the appropriate option from among ‘Fresh Application’ and ‘Complete Partially-Filled Application’ needs to be selected.
- On selecting ‘Fresh Application’, a new page is opened where the applicant’s information, passport details, and family details need to be provided.
- In the next page, the applicant’s photo and signature needs to be uploaded
- Once the photo and signature are successfully uploaded, the supporting documents need to be uploaded and the application is needed to be submitted.
- After the submission of the online application, a copy of the application form which contains the online registration number needs to be printed.
- The printout along with all the relevant enclosures and requisite fees needs to be submitted to the Indian Mission/Post/Office under whose jurisdiction the applicant is ordinarily residing.
OCI Registration Fees
The fees required to be paid by applicants who register as OCI depends on the factor as to where the application is being submitted. If the application is submitted outside India, US$275 or its equivalent in local currency for each applicant needs to be paid through demand draft. If the application is submitted in India itself, an amount of Rs.15,000 needs to be paid through Demand Draft. The Demand Draft needs to be in favor of ‘Pay and Accounts Officer (Secretariat), Ministry of Home Affairs’ payable at New Delhi.
How to check the status of the OCI application?
After the OCI application is filed, the status of the application can be checked by the applicants. This can be done by following the steps mentioned below:
- Visit www.ociservices.gov.in
- Next, click on ‘OCI-Enquiry’
- Thereafter click on ‘Click Here to Proceed’.
- After that, click on ‘Status Enquiry’ from among the various options.
- Next, click on ‘Proceed’.
- In doing so, a new page opens where the applicant needs to enter the passport number and one of either online registration number or acknowledgement number.
- Following that, the applicant needs to enter the captcha code and click on ‘Get Status’.
- The status of the application is displayed on the corresponding screen.