Recent update – New OCI application process is effective from Jan 25, 2016.
I recently applied for OCI card for my son. There is some confusion around the process and who should apply. I will try to clear some of them in my post today.Lets see first what is OCI and who are eligible to apply. What is OCI? OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) is a lifelong visa for Non-resident Indian.It gives you unlimited entry to India and you do not need to apply visa ever in your lifetime.
You can get it if yours spouse, parents or grandparent stay in India or have an Indian passport.With OCI card, you can get your education and employment in India without any visa. Though you may not have a right which a normal citizen have like Voting, participate in election etc. Remember India does not have dual citizen concept and you cannot carry Indian citizenship with other any other citizenship. Who can apply? So if you are of India origin and is a citizen of any other country, you can apply for OCI. A newborn child in other country but if their parents are from India, they can apply for this card.Also, if you give up Indian citizen and passport and become a citizen of other country, you can apply for OCI.There is some exception for citizen belonging to selected country, please find it here: http://www.in.ckgs.us/general-information/faq.shtml
Benefits of OCI?
- Lifelong visa to India
- Lifelong validity (You still need to update passport number on OCI every time you renew passport)
- No need to appear before police or any authority during your stay in India
- Can be submitted as proof when NRI quota is used at India
- You can study and work in India with this card
How to Apply?
I will explain the process to apply OCI in the US, for another country more or less process is same.There is two way to apply, in person or by post.I will highly recommend applying by post as the duration for both will be same. Also in person will create more hassle for you.Before applying you must check nearest Indian embassy website to make sure you are applying at your jurisdiction.
- By Post – There are 2 stages for this; Submission and match up the passport. At submission, you will submit a form online, take a printout of it and submit with all relevant document.Here is a link to start: http://passport.gov.in/oci/index.html. There are two part A and B, you need to fill both.
What you need to take care:
Know correct category you are applying and submit document as mentioned:
- OCI Card – Adult –
- OCI Card – Minor –
- OCI card for Foreign Spouse of Person of Indian Origin – Adult
- OCI in lieu of PIO card –
- Miscellaneous Changes – Change of Particulars –
- OCI Card Re-Issue of New Passport –
- Renunciation of OCI Card –
Make sure your notarized document as per the instruction and use courier method as mentioned in the website. Use mode of sending courier as Fedex document. You can make online payment for fees and courier through the website. Yoy can make both incoming and outgoing courier payment by the website. Do not use the prepaid envelope as it is confusing. You can also use USPS to send your document. One thing which is required but not mentioned in the website is marriage certificate of the parent in case the child is minor. Once you have all the document, use the checklist to make sure they are in order and send it by 2 or 3 days delivery with tracking.
Once you submit the document, you can track the document on CKGS (Third party vendor manages visa application for Indian embassy) website using your web tracking number which was generated after submitting the form online. Once your document is verified CKGS will send your application to New Delhi to get your OCI card. Remember to keep checking the status on website or email with sender firstname.lastname@example.org to make sure you get updates. They send email only for notification.It will take roughly 3 weeks to get your OCI card from New Delhi to the respective Indian embassy. After that, the process of match up passport will start.
Passport match up process –
Once your OCI card arrives from Delhi, the next step is to send your original passport and PIO card(If applicable) to CKGS for verification. This process will take approx 10 days to complete.Embassy will ask you to send the original passport to match up with the application.Make sure you send it by 2 days delivery with tracking.Once the process is complete, you will receive your OCI card with your original passport. You can see below status in tracking once you receive OCI card.
- Send application by person – In-person appearance will have very much the same process except you need to book the appointment after submitting the form online. You need to appear in person and show all original document at submission. My recommendation is to submit your application by post. Also, you have to send your passport for the match up the process.
Important updates to remember –
- PIO (Person of India origin) card is withdrawn as per Jan 9, 2015. So going forward you cannot apply for PIO card. You have to apply for OCI card. PIO card was earlier applied for Kids under 19.
- Mar 31, 2016, is the last date to apply for OCI card in lieu of PIO. That means if you will not apply for OCI (If you have already PIO card) you have to pay full fees for OCI. The current fee for OCI card is $295. If you apply before Mar 2016, you only have to pay $20 to replace PIO to OCI card. Please find price chart below.
- Indian embassy is not accepting any changes in PIO card. If you want to make any modification like citizenship changes, name changes etc you have to apply for OCI card
- In case of lost PIO card, apply for a fresh OCI card
- What will happen after Mar 2016 is still not clear whether PIO card is valid after that? But it is strongly recommended to apply for OCI in lieu of PIO card before Mar 2016.
- Always keep all receipt safe as most of H1 or other visa sponsored company reimbursed fees charged for OCI
I hope I have cleared some of your doubt regarding OCI card, their process, and the recent update. Please do write to me in case you have any confusion.I would love to help you.