Overseas Citizens of India (OCI)

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Citizenship Amendment Act, 2005

 

  • The Citizenship Amendment Act, 2005 was passed by the Parliament to make provisions for dual citizenship by amending the Citizenship Act, 1955.
  • The Citizenship Amendment Act, 2005, is to bestow eligibility for registration as Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) on persons of Indian origin, who or whose parents/grandparents have migrated from India after January 26, 1950 or were eligible to become an Indian Citizen on January 26, 1950 or belonged to a territory that became part of India after August 15, 1947, and their minor child, who is a national of a country that allows dual citizenship in some form or other.
  • The eligibility provision is being extended to such citizens of all countries other than those who had ever been a citizen of Pakistan and Bangladesh.

 

Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI)

The Government of India had appointed a High level Committee on Indian Diaspora under the Chairmanship of L.M. Singhvi which recommended in its report to grant overseas Indian citizenship to the people of Indian origin. Based on its recommendations, the Government of India made provisions for overseas citizenship of India (OCI) commonly known as dual citizenship to the people of Indian origin by amending the Part-II of the Indian Constitution, since the Constitution of India does not allow holding Indian Citizenship and Citizenship of Foreign country simultaneously.

Eligibility for OCI

 

  • Any person who at any time held an Indian Passport, or either he or one of his parents or grandparents was born in or was a permanent resident in India as defined in the Government of India Act, 1935 and other territories that became part of India thereafter provided he 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
  • 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 16.08.1947 and his/her children and grandchildren, provided his/her country of citizenship allows dual citizenship in some form or other under the local laws, is eligible for registration as Overseas Citizen of India (OCI).
    1. Minor children of such a person are also eligible for OCI.
    2. If the applicant had ever been a citizen of Pakistan or Bangladesh, he/she will not be eligible for OCI.

 

Procedure of acquiring OCI

 

  • Eligible persons have to apply in the prescribed form along with enclosure form online.
  • Applicant can apply to the Indian Mission/Post in the country where applicant is ordinarily residing.
  • If applicant is in India on long term visa then to FRRO, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Amritsar, Chennai or to the Joint Secretary (Foreigners) MHA.
  • Fee for getting OCI is Rs. 15,000 or equivalent in local currency for adults and for children upto 18 years is Rs. 7,500 or equivalent in local currency

 

Benefits to OCI holders

 

  1. A multi-entry, Multi-purpose life-long visa for visiting India.
  2. Exemption from the requirements of registration if they stay on any single visit in India which does not exceed 180 days.
  3. Parity with NRIs in respect of all facilities available to the latter 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.
  4. A person registered as OCI is eligible to apply for grant of Indian Citizenship under Section 5(l)(g) of the Citizenship Act, 1955. If he/she is registered as OCI for five years and has been residing in India for one year out of the five years making the application.
  5. OCI is not entitled to vote, be a member of Legislative Assembly or Legislative Council or Parliament and cannot hold constitutional posts such as President, Vice-President, Judge of the Supreme Court or High Courts and can not also normally hold employment in the Government.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Dear Mr Prafull,
    Contrary to your claims in the article about OCI, one thing is certain …. it is NOT dual nationality! It is not comparable to dual nationality enjoyed by Pakistanis and Bangladeshis, for example.

    It is merely a 'life-long visa' for those of Indian origin with a few other added benefits thrown in. Holders of OCI cards are foriegn nationals(or citizens) who DO NOT enjoy the following benefits accorded to Indian citizens:
    (1) They cannot vote in any Indian elections;
    (2) Following from (1), they cannot become MPs, MLAs, a Minister or stand for the position of the President of India.
    (3) They cannot enter any government employment, which are solely reserved for Indian citizens and sometimes for Nepalese/Bhutanese citizens as well;
    (4) Their OCI card could be withdrawn by the Govt. of India, who cannot deprive an Indian citizen from Indian citizenship (except where that so-called Indian citizen has also acquired another foreign nationality) .

    In view of the above, how can OCI cardholders be deemed to be 'dual nationals' of India?

    The reality is that the founding fathers and constitutional architects of independent India had decided on a SINGULAR & EXCLUSIVE NATIONALITY(CITIZENSHIP) for all Indians.According to Indian law, any Indian citizen accepting any foriegn citizenship 'ipso facto' loses his/her Indian citizenship!

    Dual nationality CANNOT be accorded to anyone according to the Constitution of India, as it stands at present. It may be possible for dual nationality to become a reality in the future if the constitution is amended for this purpose, but as things stand at present this looks unlikely to happen. In 1947, the departing British authorities had broached the idea of 'dual nationality' for Anglo-Indians, but even Mr Nehru ( a great Anglophile himself!) could not persuade the then Indian Parliament to agree to that proposal.

    "OCI" (or Overseas Citizenship of India or 'Videshi Bharatiya Nagarik') is misleading in its name, it was designed as a sop to deal with the clamour of dual nationality principally from people of Indian origin living in USA, the UK, Middle East and Malaysia. It remains a 'life long visa' with added benefits like indefinite stay within India, being able to carry on a business or take up employment in a private firm in India, no need to register with the FRRO or the Police ( which other foreign nationals residing in India have to adhere to) and generally enjoying all the benefits of an NRI ( who is an Indian citizen residing abroad).

    I hope the above details pertaining to an OCI cardholder will prove to be of benefit to IAS aspirants.

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