Overseas Citizen of India

NRI Taxation / E-Filing Your Returns


Who is eligible to apply?

Foreign nationals who met the eligibility criteria to become Indian citizens on January 26, 1950, or were Indian citizens on or after that date, or were residents of territories that became part of India after August 15, 1947, along with their children and grandchildren, are eligible for Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) registration. This eligibility extends to minor children as well. It’s important to note that individuals who have ever held citizenship in Pakistan or Bangladesh are not eligible for OCI status.

Who was eligible to become Citizen of India on 26.01.1950?

Individuals, as well as their parents or grandparents, who were born in India according to the definition in the Government of India Act, 1935 (as initially enacted), and were ordinarily living in a foreign country on January 26, 1950, were eligible to acquire Indian citizenship.

Which territories became part of India after 15.08.1947 and from what date?

The regions that were incorporated into India after August 15, 1947, include:

  • Sikkim on April 26, 1975
  • Pondicherry on August 16, 1962
  • Dadra & Nagar Haveli on August 11, 1961
  • Goa, Daman, and Diu on December 20, 1961

Can the spouse of the eligible person apply for OCI?

Certainly, if the individual meets the eligibility criteria in their own right.

Can minor children apply for OCI?

Yes, if either of the parents is eligible for OCI, the child may also be eligible for OCI.

In what form should a person apply for an OCI and where are the forms available?

A family, including spouses and up to two minor children, can submit a single application using Form XIX, which is available for filing or downloading online.

Can application form be filled and submitted on line?

Yes, you must complete Part A of the application form online. Part B can be either downloaded and printed from a computer or filled out by hand in block letters. Afterward, you should submit the printed Part A and Part B of the application form, along with all the necessary documents, to the Indian Mission/Post/Office.

What documents have to be submitted with the application?

Each applicant should include the following documents:

  1. Proof of current citizenship.
  2. Documentation demonstrating that either the applicant, their parents, or their grandparents were eligible to become citizens of India at the time the Constitution was enacted, or they belonged to a territory that became part of India after August 15, 1947, or they were citizens of India on or after January 26, 1950.
  3. Proof of the relationship as parent/grandparent, if their Indian origin is claimed as the basis for granting OCI. This proof may include documents like birth certificates or educational certificates, among others.
  4. The application fee, which should be paid through a Demand Draft, amounts to US $275 for each applicant or its equivalent in the local currency. In the case of applications submitted in India, the fee is Rs. 15,000/- for general category applicants, Rs. 1,400/- for PIO card holders, and Rs. 8,000/- for minor PIO card holders.
  5. PIO card holders are required to provide a copy of their PIO card along with the application.

These documents may include:

  •  A copy of the passport.
  • A copy of the domicile certificate issued by the competent authority.
  • Any other evidence supporting the request. Typically, applicants can provide a certificate of residence or place of birth for themselves, their parents, or grandparents issued by a First Class Magistrate/District Magistrate (DM) from the relevant place.

What documents would qualify for “Any other proof“ for evidence of self or parents or grandparents being eligible for grant of an OCI?

Any form of documentary evidence, such as a school certificate, agricultural land ownership certificate, birth certificate, etc., that can reasonably establish eligibility.

How many copies of application have to be submitted?

Each applicant must submit only one set of application.

Whether applicant(s) have to go in person to submit the application (s)?

No, applications must be sent by post using either Speed post or Registered post, and courier services are not accepted.

Whether the applicant (s) has to take oath before the Counsel of the Indian Mission/Post?

No, the earlier provision related to this has been eliminated.

Where to submit the application?

The application should be submitted to the Indian Mission/Post in the applicant’s country of citizenship. If the applicant is not in their country of citizenship, it should be submitted to the Indian Mission/Post in the country where they are ordinarily residing. If the applicant is in India, the application should be submitted to the FRRO (Foreigners Regional Registration Office) in cities like Amritsar, Bangalore, Kozhikode, Chennai, Kochi, Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Thiruvananthapuram, as per the specified jurisdiction of the relevant FRRO office.

Can a person apply in the country where he is ordinarily residing?


What are the consequences of furnishing wrong information or suppressing material information?

All applications will undergo either pre or post-enquiry, depending on whether any adverse information is voluntarily disclosed in the application. If the government discovers that false information was provided or material information was concealed, the previously granted OCI registration will be revoked through an order under section 7D of the Citizenship Act, 1955. Additionally, the individuals will be blacklisted, resulting in a ban on their entry into India.

What is the fee for application for registration as an OCI?

The fee for each applicant is US $ 275 or its equivalent in the local currency. For PIO cardholders, it is US $ 25 or the equivalent in the local currency per applicant.
For applications filed within India, the fee is Rs. 15,000/- for the general category, Rs. 1,400/- for PIO cardholders, and Rs. 8,000/- for minor PIO cardholders, to be paid via Demand Draft.

What is the time taken for registration as OCI?

If there is no adverse information concerning the applicant within 30 days of the application, a decision will be made. However, if adverse information is found, the decision regarding approval or denial will be reached within 120 days.

If the registration as an OCI is not granted, what amount will be refunded?

If your registration is declined, you will receive a refund of US $250 or its equivalent in local currency. Please note that the US $25 processing fee is non-refundable. However, if you submit your application in India, a processing fee of Rs. 1,400/- will be non-refundable.

Can a PIO Cardholder apply?

Certainly, as long as they meet the eligibility criteria for receiving OCI status, just like any other applicant.

Will the PIO Cardholder be granted an OCI registration gratis?

No, a payment of US $25 or its equivalent in local currency must be submitted along with the application, and in the case of an application submitted in India, a fee of Rs. 1,400/- is required.

Will the PIO card be honored till the time it is valid even after acquisition of an OCI?

The surrender of the PIO card to the Indian Mission/Post/FRROs is a prerequisite for obtaining the OCI registration certificate and the OCI ‘U’ visa sticker.

What will be issued after registration as an OCI?

A registration certificate, presented as a booklet, will be provided, along with the attachment of a multiple-entry, multi-purpose OCI ‘U’ visa sticker onto the applicant’s foreign passport. To complete this process, the applicant must present their original passport to the Indian Mission/Post/FRROs following receipt of the acceptance letter or after verifying the application status online.

Will a separate OCI passport be issued?


Will a duplicate certificate of registration as an OCI will be issued?

Indeed, to address this, applicants must submit a request to the Indian Mission/Post, supported by evidence in the event of a lost certificate. In cases of a mutilated or damaged certificate, applicants should submit an application with the affected certificate. Both types of applications need to be presented to the relevant Indian Mission/Post/FRRO, accompanied by a fee of US $100 or its equivalent in local currency, and in the case of applications filed in India, a fee of Rs. 5,500/-.

Will a new OCI visa sticker be pasted on the new foreign passport after the expiry of the old passport?

Certainly, upon payment of the necessary fee, a new OCI ‘U’ visa sticker will be provided. However, it’s important to note that the applicant can retain their old passport with the OCI ‘U’ visa sticker alongside their new passport when visiting India. There is no need to apply for a new visa, as the OCI visa is valid for a lifetime.

Will the applicant lose his citizenship after registering as an OCI?


Can a person registered as an OCI travel to protected area/restricted area without permission?

No, for such visits, he/she will be required to apply for PAP/RAP.

Would the Indian civil/criminal laws be applicable to persons registered as OCI?

Indeed, this requirement applies for the duration that the OCI is residing in India.

Can a person registered as an OCI be granted Indian citizenship?

Certainly, in accordance with the regulations outlined in section 5(1)(g) of the Citizenship Act, 1955, an individual who has been registered as an OCI for a period of 5 years and has lived in India for at least 1 year during that 5-year timeframe becomes eligible to apply for Indian Citizenship.

Will an OCI be granted gratis to certain categories of people?


Can OCI be granted to foreign nationals who are not eligible for OCI, but married to persons who are eligible for OCI?


Will foreign-born children of PIOs be eligible to become an OCI?

Yes, this eligibility applies if at least one of the parents is eligible to acquire OCI status.

What are the benefits of an OCI?

Certainly, here are the benefits granted to an OCI in a rephrased form:

  1. An OCI is entitled to a lifelong, multiple-entry visa for visiting India.
  2. They are exempt from the requirement to report to the Police authorities regardless of the duration of their stay in India.
  3. In financial, economic, and educational domains, they enjoy equal status with NRIs, except for the acquisition of agricultural or plantation properties.
  4. Registered Overseas Citizens of India have the same status as Non-Resident Indians in matters related to inter-country adoption of Indian children.
  5. They are charged the same tariffs as resident Indian nationals for domestic air travel within India.
  6. The entry fee for national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in India is identical to that of domestic Indian visitors.
  7. They receive parity with Non-Resident Indians regarding entry fees for national monuments, historical sites, and museums in India.
  8. They have the right to pursue certain professions in India as per the relevant Acts, including doctors, dentists, nurses, pharmacists, advocates, architects, and chartered accountants.
  9. They are treated the same as Non-Resident Indians when appearing for exams like the All India Pre-medical Test or similar tests for admission under the provisions of relevant Acts.
  10. State Governments should recognize OCI registration booklets as valid identification for services provided to OCIs. In cases where proof of residence is required, OCIs can provide an affidavit attested by a notary public, specifying a particular address as their place of residence in India. They may also include their overseas residential address and email address in the affidavit if necessary.

Will any other benefit be granted to an OCI?

Additional advantages for OCIs will be communicated by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) as per the provisions of Section 7B(1) of the Citizenship Act, 1955.

Is the OCI entitled to voting rights?


Is the OCI entitled to hold constitutional post in India?


Is the OCI entitled to hold Government posts in India?

Except for the positions designated by a directive from the Central Government, no other exceptions apply.

If a person is already holding more than one nationality, can he/she apply for OCI?


What are the advantages of the OCI when compared to PIO cardholders?

  1. An OCI enjoys a lifelong visa with unrestricted travel privileges to India, whereas a PIO cardholder’s visa is valid for only 15 years.
  2. A PIO cardholder must register with local Police authorities if their stay in India exceeds 180 days during a single visit, whereas an OCI is exempt from such registration requirements regardless of the length of their stay in India.
  3. An OCI is specifically granted the right to potentially become an Indian Citizen as outlined in Section 5(i) and (ii) of the Citizenship Act, 1955, whereas a PIO cardholder does not possess this entitlement.

Whether an OCI be entitled to apply for and obtain a normal Indian passport which is given to a citizen of India?

Indian Passports are exclusively issued to individuals who hold Indian citizenship.

Whether nationals of Commonwealth countries are eligible for the OCI?

Indeed, they may be eligible if they meet the specified criteria.

Can a person renounceOCI?

Certainly, to declare their intention of renunciation, individuals must submit Form XXII to the Indian Mission/Post where their OCI registration was initially granted. Once the declaration is received, the Indian Mission/Post/FRROs will issue an acknowledgment in the form of Form XXII A.

Do the applicantswho have applied on the earlier prescribed application form have to apply again in the new form?

No new applications or fees will be required for the consideration of all such requests for OCI registration.

Can an OCI holder undertake Research work in India?

  • Yes, provided they obtain prior approval or special permission from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
  • Are foreign military personnel eligible to receive OCI status?
  • No, foreign military personnel, whether currently serving or retired, are not eligible to be granted OCI status.

Whether civil Govt. servant working in Ministry of Defence as IT engineers/civil contractors entitled for OCI?


Person of Indian Origin (PIO)


Who is a PIO?

A Person of Indian Origin (PIO) is an individual who is a citizen of another country but has Indian ancestry dating back at least four generations.

What is a PIO card?

A PIO card is granted to individuals of Indian descent, excluding Bangladeshi and Pakistani nationals, who hold foreign passports.

Who is eligible for a PIO card?

  • Individuals who have held an Indian passport at any point.
  • Those whose ancestors, up to the previous four generations, were established residents in India and did not relocate to Pakistan or Bangladesh.
  • People whose spouse is either an Indian citizen or a person of Indian origin.

What advantages does the PIO card carry?

Enjoying the same rights as NRIs, making them eligible to:

  • Purchase non-agricultural and plantation properties in India.
  • Enroll their children in all educational institutions in India under the NRI quota.
  • Apply for various housing schemes offered by LIC, state governments, and other government agencies.
  • Enter India without the need for a visa.

Who issues the PIO card?

  • All Indian Embassies, High Commissions, and Indian Consulates located overseas. An authorized officer at the designated Indian Mission has the authority to issue a PIO card.
  • Foreigners Regional Registration offices in major cities such as New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chennai.
  • Joint Secretary (Foreigners) within the Ministry of Home Affairs in New Delhi.

Which documents are required to apply for the card?

  • All pertinent documents that support the assertion of Indian ancestry.
  • In the case of children, a photocopy of the parent’s passport if the parent is still an Indian citizen, or a copy of the parent’s old passport or birth certificate. • Four passport-size photographs, featuring a front view.

What is the validity of the card?

Validity for an entire lifetime.

Are there any restrictions for card holders?

  • They do not possess political privileges.
  • They are not authorized to engage in pursuits such as mountaineering, missionary work, and research activities, including those requiring a special permit under PAP/RAP regulations.

Can PIO card holders apply for citizenship?

Indeed, according to the Citizenship Act, the applicant is required to have a residence history in India of at least 7 years prior to submitting the application.

Can the card be withdrawn?

Yes, if:

  • The PIO card was obtained through fraudulent means, the concealment of facts, or false representation.
  • The cardholder’s activities in India are in violation of the country’s laws and the Indian Constitution.
  • The cardholder is a citizen of a nation that is in a state of war with India or supports another country engaged in aggressive acts against India.
  • The PIO has been found culpable of engaging in acts of terrorism, arms and ammunition smuggling, or narcotics trafficking.
  • The cardholder has been sentenced in India to a prison term of up to one year or fined up to Rs.10,000.
  • The presence of the cardholder in India is detrimental to the country’s interests.