What is Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI)

Thousands of Citizen (OCI) cardholders of India have been forced to cancel trips due to the recent ban on entry by the Government of India and are apprehensive that they will not be able to return in case of emergency.

Who are OCI cardholders?

The Government of India launched the ‘Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) Scheme by amending the Citizenship Act, 1955 in 2005.

On 09 January 2015, the Government of India merged with closed PIO cards and OCI cards.


The Government of India allows the OCI card to be applied to the following categories of foreign nationals.

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Anyone applying for an OCI card must have a valid passport from another country.

  • Persons who do not have citizenship of another country are not eligible to obtain OCI status.
  • Persons whose parents or grandparents have citizenship of Pakistan and Bangladesh are not eligible to apply.

Benefits for OCI Cardholders:

  1. Life visa to come to India several times. (Special permission required for research work in India).
  2. No length of stay requires registration with Foreigners Regional Registration Officer (FRRO) or Foreigners Registration Officer (FRO).
  3. Excluding the acquisition of agricultural and plantation properties, OCI cardholders have similar facilities that are extended to NRIs in economic, financial and educational sectors.
  4. Equal treatment of NRIs regarding inter-country adoption of Indian children.
  5. NRIs are also treated about entry fees for national monuments, admission fees of businesses such as doctors, dentists, nurses, advocates, architects, chartered accountants, and pharmacists.
  6. To participate in all India pre-medical tests with NRIs and such.
  7. Indian nationals are treated equally in cases of air traffic in Indian domestic areas.
  8. Equal entry fee for Indians for admission to national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in India.
  9. OCI booklets can be used as identities to avail of the Services. An affidavit can be attached to residential proof with the local address.

There are some restrictions on OCI cardholders:

  1. There is no right to vote.
  2. Any Public Service/Public Service Government does not have job rights
  3. The Prime Minister cannot hold the office of the President, the Deputy Head, the Supreme Court Judge and the High Court, the Members of Parliament or the Members of the State Legislative Assembly or the Council.
  4. It cannot own agricultural property.
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