If you have Indian origin and want to visit the country, getting an OCI card is the perfect option for you. However, the real question is, how long will it take to get an OCI card? Well, the simplest answer to this question is, it depends!
Except for Pakistani and Bangladeshi nationals, India offers an OCI card to anyone of Indian origin. There are numerous service providers out there providing OCI miscellaneous services. So, the processing time varies as well. Continue reading to learn about OCI cards and their processing time.
Indian OCI Card - An Overview
An Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) card is a lifelong visa that allows an OCI card holder to visit India whenever they want. An OCI cardholder can visit, live, or even work in the country. You'll be treated as an Indian citizen. Foreign nationals are eligible for an OCI card if:
They have an Indian origin
They belonged to a land that became Indian territory after the independence.
They were eligible to become a citizen of India on 26th January 1950
They had Indian citizenship on or after 26th January 1950
How to Get an OCI Card
Applying for an OCI card is a straightforward process. All you need to do is fill out the OCI card application form, pay the OCI registration fees, and submit your application.
To get an OCI card, applicants need to follow the following steps:
Select an OCI application category
Fill out the online application form
Register at the official VFS website
Submit your application to VFS Global
You'll need to visit the Indian embassy located in your country to determine which VFS center you should visit and submit your application. Moreover, it's recommended to get a COVID-19 vaccination certificate before.
The average OCI card fee is $275 for a foreign national. however, if you have a valid PIO card, the cost will reduce to $100. From your selected website, you can check OCI status as well!
Estimated Processing Time
The processing time differs from applicant to applicant. On average, An overseas citizen of India will have to wait for 7-11 weeks to get an OCI card. Due to an incomplete application, the processing time might be further delayed.
Here are the general steps and processing time involved in the issuance of an OCI card:
Your application will be sent to the embassy, and the actual card will be sent from India. This step can easily take 6-8 weeks.
Once the embassy receives your OCI card, you need to provide your original passport through VFS Global center.
The embassy will take an additional 1 week to match your OCI card with your passport.
Finally, VFS Global will deliver your passport and OCI card within 3 days.
Indian e-Visa - Perfect OCI Card Alternative
To get an OCI card, you need a lot of patience. On average, the entire process can take months. So, if you don’t have that much time, the better option for you is to apply for an Indian e-visa.
Unlike an OCI card, an Indian e-visa is a short-term travel document that allows you to enter the country for a short period of time. The best thing about an e-visa is that it is a completely streamlined process. This means you don’t have to visit the Indian embassy or wait for months to get an e-visa. You can apply for this travel document on your own, from the comfort of your home.
The process of getting an Indian electronic visa is simple:
Fill out the online application form
Pay the visa processing fee
Submit your application
Afterward, you'll get your visa via email. Keep in mind that due to the pandemic, you are required to get a health declaration form whether or not you have an OCI card.
Required Documents for an e-Visa
The required documents to get an e-visa depends upon your purpose in visiting the country. Generally speaking, there are three most important documents that you need to get an e-visa:
A valid foreign passport
An email address
A debit or credit card
To fill out the e-visa application form, you are required to provide personal, contact, and passport details, including passport number and expiry date. You might have to submit some additional documents depending on your purpose. So, make sure to check the visa requirements before applying for an e-visa.
While the processing time for an OCI card can fall anywhere between 7-11 weeks, you can get an e-visa within 3-5 days. This is the main reason why Indian e-visa is becoming more and more popular. Due to the high demand, you may have to wait a little longer.