Overseas Citizenship of India

Although my site has nothing to do with Politics or Diplomacy, I wanted to share some information about the so-called Dual Citizenship or Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI), which is available to Indians living abroad. Of course there are certain criteria that have to be met by the applicant(s).

Initially I received some overwhelmingly intimidating response and feedback from some people, who tried to downplay the significance of this great opportunity due to all procedural formalities that may have to be fulfilled. On the contrary, everything went smoothly for me and within 4 weeks, my application was processed and approved and couple weeks ago, I received my OCI Card (which looks like a Passport). For those Desi people/NRIs, that are holding themselves back are encouraged to go ahead and avail themselves of this wonderful scheme by Indian Government. I am providing some useful information below.

The information below has been taken from the Indian Embassy. To apply or to find out more about OCI, click here.

Highlights of the Scheme:

The Constitution of India does not allow holding Indian citizenship and citizenship of a foreign country simultaneously. Based on the recommendation of the High Level committee on Indian Diaspora, the Government of India decided to grant Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) commonly known as ‘Dual Citizenship’. Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) of certain category, as has been specified in the Brochure on overseas citizenship of India who migrated from India and acquired citizenship of a foreign country other than Pakistan and Bangladesh, 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.

Persons registered as OCI have not been given any voting rights and are not eligible for election to Lok Sabha/Rajya Sabha/Legislative Assembly/Council or for holding Constitutional posts such as President, Vice President, and Judge of Supreme Court/High Court etc.

To fill up the application:-

1. Visit http://www.mha.nic.in/oci/oci-main.htm

Benefits to OCI:

A registered OCI shall avail the benefits of:

(i) A multiple entry, multi-purpose life long visa for visiting India

(ii) Exemption from registration with local police authority for any length of stay in India

(iii) Parity with Non-resident Indians (NRIs) in respect of economic, financial and educational fields, except in relation to acquisition of agricultural or plantation properties.

Any other benefits extended to OCIs will be notified by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) under Section 7B (1) of the Citizenship Act, 1955 from time to time.

Benefits to which OCI is not entitled to:

The OCI is not entitled to vote, become a member of Legislative Assembly or Legislative Council or Parliament, hold constitutional posts such as President, Vice President, Judge of the Supreme Court or High Court etc. and he/she cannot normally hold employment in the Government.

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