What do you do if you have lost OCI card? This is a reality many people have had to deal with, and it can be a traumatic experience, especially for those who need to make emergency trips to India.
For overseas citizen of India who travel to India often, an OCI card is a good travel document to have.
What Is An OCI Card?
An Overseas Citizens of India card is a document that makes it easy for an OCI card holder to travel to India easily. This document was introduced by the Indian government to help Indians in the diaspora make the trip back home anytime they wish without the hiccups of international travel. Rather than wait in line to have your identity validated, an OCI card grants you smooth entry and exit from India anytime you like.
The OCI card is not a visa per se because visas are only issued to foreigners, even though it serves like one. This card is mainly for citizens of India living abroad.
An Overseas Citizens of India card is a document that makes it easy for an OCI cardholder to travel to India easily. This document was introduced by the Indian government to help Indians in the diaspora make the trip back home anytime they wish without the hiccups of international travel. Rather than wait in line to have your Identity validated, an OCI card grants you smooth entry and exit from India anytime you like.
What To Do About A Lost OCI Booklet
So what do you do if you notice that you’ve lost your OCI card a few days or weeks before your trip? You’ll panic, but what’s the best course of action?
This is an important consideration because, unlike an e visa that can be printed from your email inbox, OCI cards are physical, thereby increasing the likelihood of misplacing them.
Do you cancel your planned trip or apply for a new one? Here are things to consider.
Don’t Apply For OCI At Short Notice
If you have lost your OCI card, resist the temptation to apply for it at short notice days before your trip. This is because the card may likely not arrive before the trip date. Besides, applying for a new OCI is often a protracted process. Rather do the following.
Report To The Police
The first thing to do is report to the police and file a report immediately. This is a safety net in case the card is stolen. Your OCI card is your identity, and you risk having your identity stolen and used for nefarious activities if it falls into the hands of criminals. After filing the police report, retain a copy of the report for reference purposes.
Go For An interview
Depending on your location, the authorities may conduct an interview to substantiate your claims that you actually misplaced it and that you are not a security risk.
Apply For A New One
Only after you have taken the steps above can you apply for a new OCI card. By this time, it will already be on record that you no longer have the old one. To apply for a new OCI, you will need
Valid foreign passport
OCI registration number
Date of birth
With the above documents, you can apply for a new card online and mail it to the authorities for approval. After submitting the form, wait for the new card, which may take a few months.
In case you don’t have the time to wait for the new card to be processed and sent to you, there is another option you can take. You can apply for an e visa. E visas take lesser time to be approved, often between 3-5 days. Holders of e visas can travel to India at short notice and enjoy the same access as those who possess conventional visas.
E visas allow for smooth entry and exit. Furthermore, they have different validity periods. The tourist e-visa has a validity of 30 days, 1 year, and 5 years. Business e visas are valid for 1 year, while medical treatment visas are valid for 120 days.
With an e visa, you can visit and stay in India for 30-180 days, depending on the type of visa you have.
Just like OCI applications, e visa applications are done online, but you must upload the following documents.
Indian Passport bio page
These documents must be uploaded on the form and submitted for review after paying the application fee. The e visa will be forwarded to your email address if approved.
If you have a lost OCI card but wish to quickly apply for an e visa, visit VisaHQ to complete the application form.