If you are of Indian ancestry, do I need OCI to travel to India is something to wonder about, especially if you have a few friends and family who travel regularly using this document. OCI refers to the Overseas Citizen of India card, and it is issued to travelers of Indian origin who are citizens of another nation. This card is a lifelong visa that holders can use to enter India at any time they choose. People who have this card enjoy easy access to India whenever they wish instead of visiting the Indian embassy in their country or residence or second country to apply for a visa each time their current one expires.
When Do Eligible Persons Need OCI Cards?
If you are eligible for an Overseas Citizen of India, you will need this card for the following reasons.
Persons under 20 years: Need the card each time they renew their passport
Persons between the ages of 21-49: They don’t need a new card each time their passport is renewed unless they’ve never been issued one. However, the number on the new passport and the OCI card will not match, as it will carry the number of the old passport. To avoid confusion, such persons are advised to carry both passports when traveling or order a new OCI, which will carry the new passport information.
Persons Above 50: Those above 50 years of age must apply for a new OCI each time they get a new passport, but this will be done only once. Once the card is issued for the first time to someone above 50, they don’t need to reapply for a new one afterward.
Do I Need OCI To Travel To India ?
Now that you know what the Overseas Citizen of India document is about, do you need it to travel to India? This will depend on your nationality and ancestry.
Persons with Indian ancestry who can prove it may apply for OCI, which they can eventually travel with. However, if you don’t have Indian ancestry, you need to apply for a visa unless you are from a visa-exempt country with plans to spend only a few weeks in India.
How To Apply For OCI?
Eligible persons can apply for OCI by following these steps.
Official OCI: The first step will be to apply directly to the official website of the Indian government using a Chrome or Firefox browser.
Verify: Once the page loads, verify that you read the terms, conditions, and requirements and are prepared to proceed.
ARN: Take note of your reference number, which is a unique set of digits, and this number is the only way to track your application.
Fill out The Form: Fill out the OCI application form using recent photographs, supporting documents, your scanned signature, and copies of your visa, passport, and any other residential document of another country you may have.
Review Application: The next step is to review the form for errors that must be corrected.
Submit: Once you are sure of your entries, click the submit button to submit the application. A copy and the online registration number will be forwarded to your email address.
Payment: After submitting the form, the wizard will redirect you to the application fee payment page. You can pay the $25 application fee and the $3 ICWF fee with your credit or debit card.
When Will The OCI Be Ready?
Your OCI delivery time will depend on your location, as it may take a few weeks or up to two months or more to process. You will have to be patient after submitting your application.
Things To Keep In Mind
The Overseas Citizen of India is only issued to applicants in India if they are residents. Also, former Indian nationals must show a Certificate of Indian Citizenship renunciation to apply for OCI. Lastly, this document is not given to an Indian whose parents, grand or great-grandparents were citizens of Bangladesh or Pakistan.
Why Have OCI?
If you OCI, the greatest benefit is the lifelong visa benefits. You don’t have to visit the embassy whenever you want to visit India.
You also have all the rights of Indians to work and live as a resident. Moreover, you can travel to India as often as you want without restrictions.
However, to enjoy these benefits, you must renounce your Indian citizenship to qualify since India does not recognize dual citizenship. The initiative was introduced to allow foreign nationals of Indian ancestry to connect with their homeland and have all the rights and privileges of permanent residents.
Completed OCI application form
A scanned passport with six months validity minimum
Credit or debit card for application fee payment
Digital photo for identification
Proof of address