The process of obtaining OCI and PIO registration is a detailed process. This article discusses the process, benefits, and differences of both. Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) of certain category who migrated from India and acquired citizenship of a foreign country other than Pakistan and Bangladesh, are eligible for grant of OCI. Thus, OCIs and PIOs can be complimentary to each other.
The Constitution of India does not allow dual citizenship. The provision of granting Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) was introduced on the recommendation of the High Level committee on Indian Diaspora. Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) of certain category who migrated from India and acquired citizenship of a foreign country other than Pakistan and Bangladesh, are eligible for grant of OCI, as long as the countries of which they hold the citizenship allow dual citizenship in some form or the other under their local laws.
Grant of OCI does not entitle the person with the certain rights, which are exclusively available to the citizens of India. An OCI holder is not entitled to the following benefits:
An OCI will be entitled to the following benefits
Provided his/her country of citizenship allows dual citizenship in some form or other under the local laws, a foreign national is eligible for registration as an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) if he/she fulfills the following eligibility criteria
The citizen of Pakistan or Bangladesh shall not be eligible for OCI registration.
The spouse of a person eligible to apply for OCI can apply for OCI only if they are eligible in their own capacity.
Application for OCI Card is available online on the Ministry of Home Affairs website i.e. www.mha.nic.in which can be submitted to
The following documents must be attached along with the application form
If no adverse information is available against the applicant after preliminary scrutiny, the Indian Mission/Post shall register a person as an OCI within 30 days of the application and the case shall be referred to MHA for post verification of the antecedents of the applicant.
If during the post verification, any adverse information comes to the knowledge of the MHA, the registration as an OCI already granted by the Indian Mission/Post, shall
After preliminary scrutiny, if there is any adverse information against the applicant, prior approval of the MHA shall be required before grant of registration. The MHA may approve or reject the grant of registration within 120 days from the date of the receipt of the application. If the grant of registration as an OCI is approved by the MHA, the Indian Mission/Post shall register the person as an OCI.
On preparation of OCI document, applicant has to be present in person or he/she can send a duly authorized person, along with his/her foreign passport & PIO card (if any) for collection of the OCI documents. No passport and OCI documents will be received/sent by Dak/Post or Mail.
After grant of registration, a registration certificate in the form of a booklet will be issued and a multiple entry, multi-purpose OCI visa sticker will be pasted on the foreign passport of the applicant.
OCI for PIO Card Holders
PIO card holders who are otherwise eligible for registration as an OCI may apply in the same Form, i.e., Form XIX and they will be considered for grant of registration in the same manner as other applicants.
Cancellation of OCI Registration
If it has been found that the registration as an OCI was obtained by means of fraud, false representation or concealment of any material fact or the registered OCI has shown disaffection towards the Constitution of India or comes under any of the provisions of section 7D of the Citizenship Act, the registration of such person will not only be cancelled forthwith but he/she will also be blacklisted from visiting India.
Eligibility for grant of Indian Citizenship
A person registered as an OCI is eligible to apply for grant of Indian citizenship under section 5(1)(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 before making the application.
Person of Indian Origin Card (PIO Card)
A PIO Card Scheme allows Persons of Indian Origin up to fourth generation settled throughout the world to be eligible for the PIO card.
The PIO card allows the card holder visa free travel and other benefits.
Citizens of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are not eligible for the PIO card in India.
A PIO card shall be valid for a period of fifteen years from the date of issue provided the passport of the PIO card holder is valid.
Benefits of PIO Card
The following benefits accrue to a foreign national who has a PIO card:
A PIO card holder shall not be eligible for the following
A person should fulfill the following eligibility criteria before applying for a PIO card
Iranian nationals of Indian Origin can be granted PIO card after MHA approval.
Application form for PIO Card is available with FRRO office or can be downloaded from the website of Ministry of Home Affairs, www.mha.nic.in.
An application for issue of PIO Card shall be made in the prescribed Form to an Indian Mission/ Post in the country where the applicant is ordinarily resident.
Applicants already in India on long term visa (one year or more) and residing in Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Amritsar, Hyderabad can submit the application to the Foreigners Regional Registration Officer in the respective cities. Those who are residing in cities other than the given areas may submit the application with the Joint Secretary (Foreigners), Ministry of Home Affairs, Foreigners Division.
The following documents have to be submitted along with the application form:
The PIO Card will be valid for a period of 15 years subject to the condition that the PIO card holder has a valid passport.
Cancellation of PIO Card
The PIO card can be cancelled on the following grounds
Difference between OCI and PIO
PIO Card Holder
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 15.08.1947 and his/her children and grand children, 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). Minor children of such person are also eligible for OCI.
Any person who at any time held an Indian Passport; or he or either
of his parents or grand parents was born in or was permanently resident in India and other territories that became part of India thereafter
A citizen of Pakistan or Bangladesh
Citizens of Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka
(i) A multiple entry multi-purpose life long visa for visiting India.
(ii)Exemption from registration with local police authority for any length of stay in India.
(iii) Parity with Non resident Indians (NRIs) in respect of economic, financial and educational fields except in relation to acquisition of agricultural or plantation properties. No parity shall be allowed in the sphere of political rights.
(i)Shall not require a separate visa to visit India.
(ii) Will be exempt from the requirements of registration if his/her stay on any single visit in
India does not exceed 180 days.
(iii) In the event of continuous stay in India exceeding 180 days, he/she shall have to get himself/herself registered within 30 days of the expiry of 180 days with the concerned FRRO/FRO.
(iv) Parity with NRIs in respect of all facilities available to the later in the economic, financial and educational fields except in maters relating to the acquisition of agricultural/ plantation properties. No parity shall be allowed in the sphere of political rights.
Valid for 15 years from the date of issue
Registration with FRRO
Does not require registration with FRRO for stay in India beyond 180 days
Requires registration when the stay in India exceeds 180 days for the first time
Registered OCI may be granted Indian citizenship after 5 years from date of registration provided he/she stays for one year in India before making application
H/she has to reside in India for minimum 7 years before making application for granting Indian
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