15 April 2024

India simplifies process of re-issue of OCI cards

India has now simplified rules for re-issue of issuing Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cards for citizens of Indian origin, holding foreign passports.

The Indian government has decided to dispense with the current requirement of OCI card to be re-issued every time a new passport is issued (until the individual turns 20) and, once after turning 50. This was being done to record the facial changes of the cardholder as a result of aging.

OCI card is a life-long visa for entry into and stay in India with a number of other major benefits attached to it which are not available to other foreigners. 

India eases reissue of OCI card
OCI cards will now be re-issued only once after issue of new passport

In order to ease the process, the OCI cardholders will now have to get the OCI card re-issued only once when a new passport is issued after reaching 20 years of age.

“A person who has got registration as OCI cardholder prior to attaining the age of 20 years will have to get the OCI card re-issued only once when a new passport is issued after his/her completing 20 years of age, so as to capture his/ her facial features on attaining adulthood.  If a person has obtained registration as OCI cardholder after attaining the age of 20 years, there will be no requirement of re-issue of OCI card,” according to a statement released by the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs on Thursday last week.

Each time a new passport is issued prior to attaining the age of 20 years and once after completing 50 years of age, the OCI cardholder will have to upload a copy of the new passport and their latest photo on the online OCI portal.

They may upload the documents within three months of receipt of the new passport.

“There will be no restriction on the OCI cardholder to travel to/ from India during the period from the date of issue of new passport till the date of final acknowledgement of his/ her documents in the web-based system,” the Ministry added.

The details will be updated on the system and an auto acknowledgement through e-mail will be sent to the OCI cardholder informing that the updated details have been taken on record.

However, those registered as OCI cardholder as foreign spouses of Indian nationals, or foreign spouses of OCI cardholders have to upload a copy of the new passport, their latest photograph along with a declaration that their marriage is still subsisting each time a new passport is issued.

Earlier, the government had also removed the requirement of carrying the old passport if travelling on the strength of an existing OCI card bearing old passport number. However, carrying the current passport is mandatory.

The Indian government has also reportedly granted further extension of time till December 31, 2021, to get the OCI cards re-issued for those below the age of 20 years and above 50 years.

India does not allow dual citizenship but provides OCI holders certain benefits under Section 7B(I) of the Citizenship Act, 1955 to the OCIs.

India has so far issued at least 37.72 lakh OCI cards to foreigners of Indian origin, foreign spouses of Indian nationals, or foreign spouses of OCI cardholders.


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