An Overseas Citizen of India will enjoy all rights and privileges available to Non-Resident Indians on a parity basis excluding the right to invest in agriculture and plantation properties or hold public office. It is very important that the person carry his existing foreign passport which should include the new visa called ‘U’ visa which is a multi-purpose, multiple-entry, lifelong visa.
Benefits of being an OCI
Being an OCI ie: an Overseas Citizen of India, confers you numerous subtle benefits.
- An Overseas Citizen of India will enjoy all rights and privileges available to Non-Resident Indians on a parity basis excluding the right to invest in agriculture and plantation properties or hold publicIt is very important that the person carry his existing foreign passport which should include the new visa called ‘U’ visa which is a multi-purpose, multiple-entry, lifelong visa. It will entitle the Overseas Citizen of India to visit the country at any time for any length of time and for any purpose. Any changes to the foreign passport, should be conveyed to the Indian Embassy, so that everything will be consistent.
- Though not actual dual citizenship, the privileges afforded by acquiring an OCI card is that now multinational companies are finding it simpler to hire the OCI cardholders, who enjoy a multiple entry, multipurpose lifelong visa to visit India. The card provides a lifelong visa to the holder, sparing them the need to obtain separate work permits. OCI holders are treated on par with NRIs for economic, financial and educational matters and only don’t have political rights and rights to buy agricultural and plantation properties or hold public office.
- They are also exempt from registration with the Foreigners Regional Registration Officer (FRRO) on their arrival in the country and can stay or live for as long as they wish. OCI cardholders can travel at very short notice and take up assignments in India, while others could get caught up in bureaucratic delays over their employment visa. Many companies are following an active policy of moving PIOs to India for business expansion. Indian missions overseas are witnessing a deluge in OCI applications, the number of OCI cards issued by consulates around the world have been steadily rising with several Indian consulates grappling with a huge backlog of applications.
What you don’t get with an OCI
If you get an OCI, it is NOT the same as being a regular Indian citizen:
- You do not get an Indian passport. There is no such thing as an OCI passport.
- You have no voting rights.
- You cannot be a candidate for Lok Sabha/Rajya Sabha/Legislative Assembly/Council or a member of the
- House of the People or of the Council of States.
- You cannot hold constitutional posts such as President, Vice President, Judge of Supreme Court/High Court, etc.
- You cannot normally hold employment in the Government of India.
- Cannot acquire agricultural or plantation properties in India. However, such a person can inherit such properties.
It is however advisable to weigh the benefits of having an OCI with the loss of benefits (if any) that having an OCI will entail in your country of residence.