In response to persistent demands for “dual citizenship” particularly from the Diaspora in North America and other developed countries and keeping in view the Government’s deep commitment towards fulfilling the aspirations and expectations of Overseas Indians, the Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) Scheme was introduced by amending the Citizenship Act, 1955 in August 2005. The Scheme was launched during the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas convention 2006 at Hyderabad. The Scheme provides for registration as Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) of all Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) who were citizens of India on 26th January, 1950 or there after or were eligible to become citizens of India on 26th January, 1950 except who is or had been a citizen of Pakistan, Bangladesh or such other country as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify.
OCI is not to be misconstrued as ‘dual citizenship’. OCI does not confer political rights. The registered Overseas Citizens of India shall not be entitled to the rights conferred on a citizen of India under article 16 of the Constitution with regard to equality of opportunity in matters of public employment. Detailed instructions and procedures on the OCI Scheme are available on the MHA’s website: www.mha.nic.in.
The OCI documents consist of OCI Registration Booklet and a Universal visa sticker. It is mandatory for registered OCIs to carry their passports which carry the Universal visa sticker for entry into / exit from India.
A registered Overseas Citizen of India is granted multiple entry, multi purpose, life-long visa for visiting India, he/she is exempted from registration with Foreign Regional Registration Officer or Foreign Registration Officer for any length of stay in India, and is entitled to general ‘parity with Non-Resident Indians in respect of all facilities available to them in economic, financial and educational fields except in matters relating to the acquisition of agricultural or plantation properties’. Specific benefits/parity is notified by the Ministry from time to time.
The Ministry has issued notifications granting registered OCIs further benefits as under:
- Parity with Non-Resident Indians in the matter of inter-country adoption of Indian children.
- Parity with resident Indian nationals in matters of tariffs in domestic air fares.
- Parity with domestic Indian visitors in respect of entry fee for visiting national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in India.
- Parity with non-resident Indians in respect of
- Entry fees for visiting the national monuments, historical sites and museums in India.
- Practicing the following professions in India, in pursuance of the provisions contained in the relevant Acts, namely:
- Doctors, dentists, nurses and pharmacists
- Architects and
- Chartered Accountants
- Entitlement to appear for the All India Pre-Medical Test or such other tests to make them eligible for admission in pursuance of the provisions contained in the relevant Acts.
An on-line OCI miscellaneous service is now available for re-issuance /issuance of duplicate OCI documents, in case of issuance of new passport, change of personal particulars, viz, nationality, name, change of address/occupation, etc. and loss/damage of OCI registration certificate/visa.
As on 31st May, 2013 13.25 lakh OCI registration booklets and visa stickers have been issued.
Act Governing the Scheme
An Extract from the Citizenship Act, 1955 is provided below to specify the rules related to Overseas Citizenship of India. (15 KB)
Registration of overseas citizens of India
The Central Government may, subject to such conditions and restrictions as may be prescribed, on an application made in this behalf, register as an overseas citizen of India
- any person of full age and capacity
- who is citizen of another country, but was a citizen of India at the time of, or at any time after, the commencement of the Constitution
- who is citizen of another country, but was eligible to become a citizen of India at the time of the commencement of the Constitution
- who is citizen of another country, but belonged to a territory that become part of India after the 15th day of August, 1947
- who is a child or a grand-child of such a citizen
- a person, who is a minor child of a person mentioned in clause (a): Provided that no person, who is or had been a citizen of Pakistan, Bangladesh or such other country as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify, shall be eligible for registration as an overseas citizen of India.
Conferment of rights on overseas citizens of India
- Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, an overseas citizen of India shall be entitled to such rights other than the rights specified under sub-section(2) as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify in this behalf.
- An overseas citizen of India shall not be entitled to the rights conferred on a citizen of India.
- under article 16 of the Constitution with regard to equality of opportunity in matters of public employment.
- under article 58 of the Constitution for election as President.
- under article 66 of the Constitution for election of Vice-President.
- under article 124 of the Constitution for appointment as a Judge of the Supreme Court.
- under article 217 of the Constitution for appointment as a Judge of the High Court.
- under section 16 of the Representation of the People Act, 1950(43 of 1950) in regard to registration as a voter.
- under sections 3 and 4 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 (43 of 1951) with regard to the eligibility for being a member of the House of the People or of the Council of States, as the case may be.
- under section 5, 5A and 6 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 (43 of 1951) with regard to the eligibility for being a member of the Legislative Assembly or a Legislative Council, as the case may be, of a State.
- for appointment to public services and posts in connection with the affairs of the Union or of any State except for appointment in such services and posts as the Central Government may by special order in that behalf specify.
- Every notification issued under sub-section shall be laid before each House of Parliament.
Renunciation of overseas citizenship
- If any overseas citizen of India of full age and capacity makes in the prescribed manner a declaration renouncing his overseas citizenship of India, the declaration shall be registered by the Central Government, and; upon such registration, that person shall cease to be an overseas citizen of India.
- Where a person ceases to be an overseas citizen of India under subsection (1), every minor child of that person registered as an overseas citizen of India, shall thereupon cease to be an overseas citizen of India.
Cancellation of registration as overseas citizen of India
The Central Government may, by order, cancel the registration granted under sub-section(1) of section 7A if it is satisfied that
- the registration as an overseas citizen of India was obtained by means of fraud, false representation or the concealment of any material fact.
- the overseas citizen of India has shown disaffection towards the Constitution of India as by law established.
- the overseas citizen of India has, during any war in which India may bee engaged, unlawfully traded or communicated with an enemy or been engaged in, or associated with, any business or commercial activity that was to his knowledge carried on in such manner as to assist an enemy in that war.
- the overseas citizen of India has, within five years after registration under sub-section(1) of section 7A has been sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less than two years.
- it is necessary so to do in the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of India, friendly relations of India with any foreign country, or in the interests of the general public.
Notifications regarding benefits to OCIs
- Notification regarding proof of residence on March 23, 2012(108 KB)March 27, 2012
- Notifications regarding benefits to OCIs on January 6, 2009(212 KB)January 06, 2009
- Medical Council of India Amendment Notification on September 25, 2009(241 KB)September 25, 2009
- Notifications regarding benefits to OCIs on January 6, 2007(242 KB)January 06, 2007
- Notifications regarding benefits to OCIs on April 11, 2005(306 KB)April 11, 2005