Immigration weekly update: January 16, 2020

India: Changes to OCI Card applications


An Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) Card is issued to foreign nationals, who:

  • Were citizens of India at the time of, or at any time after, January 26, 1950
  • Were eligible to become citizens of India on January 26, 1950
  • Belonged to a territory that became part of India after August 15, 1947
  • Are children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren of such citizens above
  • Are classed as minor children of such citizens above
  • Are minor children whose one or both parents are citizens of India and are eligible for registration as an OCI cardholder

A person of foreign origin whose spouse is a citizen of India or an OCI cardholder is also eligible for registration as an OCI cardholder. However, the following conditions apply:

  • Their marriage must have been registered and subsisted for no less than two years preceding the application
  • No person who, or either of whose parents/grandparents/great-grandparents, is or has been a citizen of Pakistan, Bangladesh or another country the Central Government may outline in the Official Gazette can register for an OCI Card

What’s changed?

In November 2019, the Ministry of Home Affairs announced foreign nationals applying for an OCI Card must have now lived in India or any third-country for six months prior to the application.

Proof of six months’ continuous residency may be requested. And if they leave the country, the six-month period resets.

If OCI cardholders have renewed their passports, an OCI renewal application must be submitted to update the new passport number. Failure to change may result in a travel ban.

Looking ahead

The deadline for Person of India (PIO) cardholders (machine and non-machine-readable) to obtain OCI Cards has been extended to March 31, 2020. Those who fail to convert their PIO cards before March 31 may be denied entry/exit while traveling to and from India.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from the Indian Government.

The above information is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have any further inquiries regarding the applicability of this information, please contact Debra Beynon, Regional Immigration Manager, APAC or Bopanna Nanjappa, Immigration Manager for South Asia.

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