The constitution of India does not allow Indian citizenship and citizenship of a foreign country at the same time. India does not offer dual citizenship. Many
nonresident Indians were left with the impression during the last two years that the government of India had decided to grant dual citizenship. Instead of Dual
citizenship, India offers a lifelong visa and has cleverly called it Overseas Citizen of India (OCI). Many Indians are confusing this with dual citizenship.
Those applicants who are granted OCI receive a lifelong multiple entry visa stamp on their foreign passports and a registration booklet that looks like a passport but cannot be used as a travel document. Holders of OCI must travel using their foreign passports.
Benefits allowed to OCI:
•Multi-purpose, multiple entries, lifelong visa for visiting India.•Exemption from registration with local police authority for any length of stay in India.•Parity with NRIs in respect of economic, financial and education fields, except in matters relating to the acquisition of agricultural/plantation properties.•Parity with non-resident Indians on inter-country adoption•Parity with resident Indian nationals in domestic airfares•Parity with Indian nationals in entry fees for national parks and wildlife sanctuaries.•Pursuing professions in India in pursuance of the provisions contained in the relevant act. Professions such as: Doctors, Dentists, Nurses, Pharmacists, Advocates, Architects, Chartered Accountants
Those who get OCI should realize that:
1.They do not get an Indian passport. The passport type of document issued to OCI recipients is NOT a valid passport and cannot be used for travel.2.Have no right to vote in India.3.Cannot run for political office.4.Cannot be appointed as a high court/supreme court judge.
Purchase of Agricultural land in India:
Another myth is that OCI holders can buy agricultural land. OCI holders simply by getting OCI are not entitled to purchase agricultural land in India. OCI holders, permanently living in India also come under the same rules as other residents. Many people are not aware that in some Indian States, even Indian citizens cannot buy agricultural land unless they qualify themselves as farmers or go through several other formalities. Many Indians do end up buying agricultural lands by getting the land use changed. This is quite common for agricultural lands that are on main roads or near roads. As construction spreads to the outer areas of cities, the price of agricultural land bordering roads is shooting up, especially if the land use can be successfully changed from agricultural to commercial.The main benefit of OCI is a lifelong visa. Holders of OCI also are exempt from registering with the police regardless of the duration of stay in India.
VOTING RIGHTS FOR NRIS ?
Some news reports indicate that the government of India is presently considering allowing Non Resident Indians to vote. This has led many residents of Indian descent, who are presently settled abroad to think that one day they may be allowed to vote in India.Some former Indian citizens who are presently settled abroad and have acquired citizenships of the countries they are living in, have a misconception that they are still non-resident Indians. Some of these people still believe that they would still be classified as non resident Indians and perhaps allowed to vote if NRI’s getting voting rights in the future. Those Indians who have taken foreign citizenship will not be eligible to vote as they would be considered as foreign citizens.Update: NRIs residing abroad can now vote in Indian elections. They can register as voters at the nearest Indian consulate. Contact the Indian consulate serving your area of residence for more information.
Comparing OCI with PIO card.
Persons of Indian origin who have acquired foreign citizenship are eligible to apply for a PIO Card or an OCI card. The PIO card scheme was launched earlier than the OCI card scheme and those who already hold PIO cards, can opt to apply for OCI at a reduced fee. There are some minor differences in the eligibility, procedure, cost and the benefits/restrictions between OCI and PIO card. Listed here are some of the differences between PIO and OCI so as to make it easier to compare PIO and OCI status.
Any person who at any time held an Indian Passport; or he or either of his parents or grand parents was born in or was permanently resident in India as defined in Government of India Act, 1935 and other territories that became part of India thereafter provided neither was at any time a citizen of Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka; or who is a spouse of a citizen of India or a person of Indian origin as mentioned above.
A foreign national, who was eligible to become citizen of India on 26.01.1950 or was a citizen of India on or at anytime after 26.01.1950 or belonged to a territory that became part of India after 15.08.1947 and his/her children and grand children, provided his/her country of citizenship allows dual citizenship in some form or other under the local laws. Minor children of such person are also eligible for OCI. However, if the applicant had ever been a citizen of Pakistan or Bangladesh, he/she will not be eligible for OCI.
Eligible persons need to apply in the prescribed form along with enclosures. Form available on MHA’s website: www.mha.nic.inApplicant must download forms and send the documents to the Indian Mission/Post in the country where the applicant is ordinarily resident;
Eligible persons abroad can apply on line by downloading the OCI application form from MHA’s website: www.mha.nic.in.Applicant is in India, can apply to the FRRO at Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkota, Amritsar, CHIO, Chennai or to the Under Secretary, OCI Cell, Citizenship Section, Foreigners Division, Ministry of Home Affairs, NDCC-II Building, Jai Singh Road, New Delhi- 110001.
Rs. 15,000/- or equivalent in local currency for adults. For the children up to the age of 18 years, the fee is Rs. 7500/- or equivalent in local currency. ($365 for adult, $185 for child below 18 years of age)(i)Shall not require a separate visa to visit India. (ii) Will be exempt from the requirements of registration if his/her stay on any single visit in India does not exceed 180 days. (iii) In the event of continuous stay in India exceeding 180 days, he/she shall have to get himself/herself registered within 30 days of the expiry of 180 days with the concerned FRRO/FRO. (iv) Parity with NRIs in respect of all facilities available to the later in the economic, financial and educational fields except in matters relating to the acquisition of agricultural/ plantation properties. No parity shall be allowed in the sphere of political rights.
$275 for US citizens ($295 for non-US citizens) for adult. $25 for PIO card holder if US citizen. ($45 for non-US citizen PIO card holder)(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. No parity is allowed in the sphere of political rights. Any other benefits to OCIs will be notified by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) under Section 7B(1) of the Citizenship Act, 1955.
PIO | OCI Benefits/Restrictions
Not required, regardless of how long you stay in India.