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Overseas Citizen of India

                                                                          

    

 

The Central Indian Government, on application, may register any person as an Overseas Citizen of India if the person:-

1.       was a citizen of India on 26 January 1950 or at any time thereafter; orResidenticon

2.       belonged to a territory that became part of India after 15 August 1947; or

3.       is the child or grandchild of a person described above; and

4.       has never been a citizen of Pakistan or Bangladesh

 

The Overseas Citizen of India (OCI)

The conferment of a person, as a citizen of India, is governed by Articles 5 to 11 (Part II) of Indian Constitution. The legislation related to this matter is the Citizenship Act 1955, which has been amended by the Citizenship (Amendment) Act 1986, the Citizenship (Amendment) Act 1992, the Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2003, and the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2005.

Article 9 of Indian Constitution says that a person who voluntarily acquires citizenship of any other country is no longer an Indian citizen. Also, according to The Passports Act, a person has to surrender his Indian Passport, it is a punishable offense under the act if he fails to surrender the passport.

Indian nationality law largely follows the jus sanguinis (citizenship by right of blood) as opposed to the jus soli (citizenship by right of birth within the territory). The President of India is termed the first Citizen of India.

According to the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, India has the second largest diasporas in the world after overseas Chinese. The overseas Indian community estimated at over 25 million is spread across every major region in the world.

 

The Overseas Citizen of India (OCI)

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In response to persistent demands for "dual citizenship" particularly from the diaspora in North America and other developed countries, the Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) scheme was introduced by amending the Citizenship Act, 1955 in August 2005. The scheme was launched during the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas convention at Hyderabad in 2006. Indian authorities have interpreted the law to mean a person cannot have a second country's passport simultaneously with an Indian one — even in the case of a child who is claimed by another country as a citizen of that country, and who may be required by the laws of the other country to use one of its passports for foreign travel (such as a child born in the United States or in Singapore to Indian parents), and the Indian courts have given the executive branch wide discretion over this matter. Therefore, Overseas Citizenship of India is not an actual citizenship of India and thus, does not amount to dual citizenship or dual nationality. Moreover, the OCI card is not a substitute for an Indian visa and therefore, the passport which displays the lifetime visa must be carried by OCI holders while traveling to India.

Eligibility for becoming an OCI

The Central Indian Government, on application, may register any person as an Overseas Citizen of India if the person:-

1.       was a citizen of India on 26 January 1950 or at any time thereafter; or

2.       belonged to a territory that became part of India after 15 August 1947; or

3.       is the child or grandchild of a person described above; and

4.       has never been a citizen of Pakistan or Bangladesh; and

5.       has had no involvement in serious offences like drug trafficking, moral turpitude, terrorist activities or anything leading to imprisonment of more than a year.

6.       applicant's country of citizenship allows dual citizenship (even though OCI is not strictly Indian citizenship per se).

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