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Overseas Citizenship of India, Meaning, Card, Eligibility

Overseas Citizenship of India

The Constitution of India does not permit dual citizenship in India (Article 9). Overseas Citizenship is a status of immigration that authorizes an Indian residing in a foreign nation who has his origin in India to live and work in India for an indefinite period. They do not have the right to vote during elections as well as they are not provided with the right to hold public office.

The Citizenship Amendment Act 2005 came up with the Overseas Citizen of India scheme which was motivated by the continuous demand for dual citizenship by the diasporas of India. Although the OCI status is not available to anyone who has ever been a Pakistan or Bangladesh citizen.

Read More: Citizenship

Overseas Citizenship of India Card

On the recommendation of a high-level committee on the diaspora of India, Indian Government decided to register a particular category of PIOs (Persons of Indian Origin) mentioned under Section 7 of the Citizenship Amendment Act 1955, as OCIs holders by the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2003. The OCI program was launched on Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas on 9th January 2006. The Government of India by introducing the Citizenship Amendment Act, of 2015 which merged the PIO category with the OCI category.

The first version of the OCI card was issued on 9th January 2006, the second version on 9th January 2015, and the current version was issued on 15th April 2021, with the purpose of providing a lifetime visa/ permanent residency to the OCI.

Read More: Fundamental Rights of Indian Constitution

Overseas Citizens of India Eligibility

  • If an individual was a citizen of India on 26th January, 1950.
  • If an individual belongs to the territory that became part of India on 15th August 1947.
  • When an individual became an Indian citizen on 26th January, 1950.
  • Children whose both or any one of the parents are citizens of India.
  • If an individual is the spouse of foreign origin of an Indian citizen or of OCI card holder and whose marriage is been registered and subsisted for a continuous period of not less than two years.

Read about: Salient Features of Constitution of India

Overseas Citizens of India Rights & Restrictions

Rights of OCIs Restrictions on OCIs
  •  They have been provided with lifelong visas for visiting India.
  • They do not need to report to the authorities or the Police for extending their stay in India
  • Enjoys the right to sell and purchase immovable properties, adopt children, and pursue professions in India similar to NRIs.
  • Don’t have to pay high fees/prices on visiting public places as foreign visitors pay.
  • Can appear for entrance exams such as NEET, JEE etc.
  • They are not entitled to employment in government offices.
  • They cannot contest the election of the President, Vice-President.
  • They are ineligible for being appointed as the Supreme Court and High Court Judge.
  • He is ineligible for being registered as a voter in India.
  • They are also not eligible for being the Member of Parliament or State Legislature,

Read More: Jammu and Kashmir

Overseas Citizen of India Card Renunciation

An Overseas Citizenship of India can make a declaration renouncing the Card registering him as an OCI cardholder. After the declaration has been registered by the Central Government the person shall cease to be an Overseas citizen of Indian cardholder. Along with the person, his spouse and minor children also lose their OCI status.

Read More: Constituent Assembly of India

Overseas Citizen of India Cancellation Status

A person’s OCI Card will be cancelled in the following cases:

  • Fraud: If it is found that a person’s OCI status was acquired by means of fraud, false representation or by hiding something important about his/her eligibility,
  • Disaffection towards constitution: If OCI Cardholder has shown disaffection towards the Constitution of India,
  • Conspiration with the enemy nation: If the OCI Card holder has conspired with an enemy country with which India is engaged in a war,
  • Imprisonment: If OCI Cardholder, within five years of being issued the card, has been sentenced to jail for two years or more,
  • Decision of Government: If the Government of India feels that, it is important to cancel a person’s OCI card for the benefit of India, India’s security, India’s friendly relations with other countries or the welfare of people.
  • Violation of law: If the OCI Cardholder violates any Indian law or any provisions of the Citizenship Act 1955.
  • Dissolution of marriage: If the marriage of an OCI Cardholder has been dissolved by a court or any other legal way. Also, if the marriage has not been dissolved, but the person has married another person while still being married to the first person.

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What is an overseas citizen of India?

Oversea Citizenship is a status of immigration that authorizes Indians residing in foreign nation who is of Indian origin.

When OCI was first issued?

The Citizenship Amendment Act 2005 came up with the Oversea Citizen of India scheme.

When PIO categories were merged with OCI?

Citizenship Amendment Act, 2015 which merged the PIO category with the OCI category

Are OCI eligible of contesting election?

No, they cannot contest election the President, Vice-President in India.

Do they have the right to Vote?

No, they don’t have the right to vote as the domestic citizens have.

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