Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI)
Based on the recommendations of the High Level Committee on Indian Diaspora, the Government of India grants Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI), also known as ‘Dual Citizenship’. Persons of Indian origins who migrated from India and acquired citizenship of another country (except Bangladesh and Pakistan) are eligible for OCI, provided their home country allows dual citizenship. OCI enables NRIs and PIOs for a number of benefits.
Foreign nationals who fulfill the criteria cited below are entitled for OCI:
- Those who were eligible to become the citizens of India as on 26.01.1950
- Those who were citizens of India on or anytime after 26.01.1950
- Those who belonged to the territory of India that became a part of India after 15.08.1947
- Children or grand children of all mentioned above
- Minor children of those mentioned in point 1, 2 and 3
Applicants who have ever been citizens of Pakistan or Bangladesh are not eligible for OCI.
For applying and registering yourself for the Overseas Citizenship, submit your details online.
*Do go through the instructions prior to filling the form.
Benefits of OCI
Listed below are the benefits of the OCI:
- Multiple entries, multi-purpose life long visa for visiting India.
- Exemption from registration with local police authority for any length of stay in India.
- Parity with Non-resident Indians (NRIs) in respect of economic, financial and educational fields, except in relation to acquisition of agricultural or plantation properties.
- Eligible to apply for grant of Indian citizenship under section 5(1)(g) of the citizenship Act, 1955 if s/he is registered as OCI for five years and has been residing in India for one year out of five years before applying.
Any other benefits to OCIs will be notified by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) under Section 7B(1) of the Citizenship Act, 1955.
However, persons registered for OCI will not be entitle to any voting rights, election to Lok Sabha/Legislative Assembly/Council; holding Constitutional posts such as President, Vice President, Judge of Supreme Court/ High Court etc.
The Government launched PIO card for the benefit of People of Indian Origin. This allows visa free entry to Indian origin people living abroad and gives them all the rights enjoyed by the Non-resident Indians (NRIs). The PIO card is valid up to 15 years from the date of issue, subject to the validity of the passport.
A person can apply for PIO card if s/he:
- At any time held an Indian passport
- Had either of her/his parents or grand parents or great grand parents born in and permanently resident of India as per the Government of India Act, 1935
- Is a spouse of a citizen of India or a person of Indian origin
The PIO card scheme covers up to four generations and also the foreign spouse of a citizen of India or a PIO.
The authority to grant a PIO Card shall be an officer in an Indian Mission notified for the purpose or the Joint Secretary Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India or the Foreigners Regional Registration Officer, New Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta of the Chief Immigration Officer, Chennai.
Benefits of PIO Card
Cited below are the advantages entitled to the PIO Card holders:
- No requirement of visa to visit India
- No requirement to register with the Foreigners Registration Officer if continuous stay does not exceed 180 days. If continuous stay exceeds 180 days, then registration is required to be done within a period of 30 days of the expiry of 180 days
- Parity with Non-Resident Indians in respect of facilities available to the latter in economic, financial, educational fields, etc. These facilities will include:-
- Acquisition, holding, transfer and disposal of immovable properties in India except of agricultural/plantation properties;
- Admission of children in educational institutions in India under the general category quota for NRIs - including medical / engineering college, IITs, IIMs etc.
- Various housing schemes of Life Insurance Corporation of India, State Governments and other Government agencies;
- All future benefits that would be extended to NRIs would also be available to the PIO Card holders;
- However, they shall not enjoy political rights of India.
In case of any grievances during stay in India, NRIs and PIOs can visit the office of the Protector General of Emigrants (PGE) who is available twice a week i.e. on Tuesday and Friday from 11:30 to 12:30. During this hour, the PGE can be met without any prior appointment.
Members of the public, prospective and/or registered recruiting agents or their representatives, aggrieved persons or their representatives or prospective emigrants are welcome to attend the Public Hearings.
Address: Protector General of Emigrants (PGE)
Room No. 105 A
Shram Shakti Bhawan
Rafi Marg, New Delhi.
Queries and grievances can also be addressed at firstname.lastname@example.org
RTI for NRIs and PIOs
Like Indian nationals, NRIs and PIOs too have every right to know their roles, rights, duties, responsibilities and privileges. Section Four of the RTI (Right to Information) Act, 2005 enables the NRIs and PIOs to have access to information imperative for them. The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs defines RTI Rights for NRIs and PIOs. As one of their basic rights, NRIs and PIOs can contact the PGE (Protector General of Emigrants) in case of any grievance or query. The PGE can also be contacted online at email@example.com
RTI enables the NRIs and PIOs to access information of their concern from the respective government departments and ministries. However, as per the RTI Act, any information which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the State, relation with foreign State or lead to incitement of an offence will not be disclosed.