Overseas Citizenship of India is related to the grant of dual citizenship to persons of Indian origin, although it does not have the same rights as an Indian citizen.

In this article, we will discuss Overseas Citizenship of India in a simple and easy way and try to understand its various important aspects;

Since it is related to citizenship, so for a better understanding of this article, first of all, understand citizenship and its various provisions. And also read all polity articles from single page – Polity for upsc

Overseas citizenship of india
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| Who are overseas Indians?

One is – NRI (Non-Resident Indian) , who normally resides outside India for whatever reason and also holds an Indian passport.

NRIs get all the benefits that are available to an Indian citizen i.e. they can participate in all kinds of activities in India and all the same rules and laws are applicable to them which are applicable to any other Indian citizen. Overall, these are Indian citizens who are living outside India ordinarily. This has been explained in section 6 of the Income Tax Act 1961 .

The second is – PIO (Person of Indian Origin), that is, a person whose ancestors were Indian citizens and who currently holds the citizenship or nationality of another country. They have the passport of the country of which they are citizens.

Since they are not citizens of India, so these people do not get any special benefit. Even if these people come to India, they can engage in similar activities on the type of visa they have come to. For example, if you have come on a tourist visa, then you can do only tourist activities in India.

Apart from this, if these people stay in India for more than 180 days, then they are required to be registered with the local police authorities. Overseas Citizenship of India; Which we are going to read in this article is mainly for these people. This has been mentioned in the Citizenship Act 1955.

Remember here that Overseas Citizenship of India is not the actual citizenship of India, because Article 9 of the Constitution clearly states that if a person voluntarily acquires the citizenship of any other country, then his Indian citizenship will cease. That is, India in the true sense cannot give dual citizenship to anyone. Yes, he can definitely give some facilities in his name and also gives it there.

| Overseas Citizenship of India Background

In August 2002, the PIO card scheme (Persons of Indian Origin Card) was launched, under this no special benefit was given, it was just an identity issued to a person who lived in Afghanistan,  Bangladesh,  Bhutan,  China, Iran, Nepal held a passport of a country other than Pakistan and Sri Lanka and could prove its Indian origin for three generations before that.

In September 2000, the Government of India (Ministry of External Affairs) constituted a high level committee under the chairmanship of L M Singhvi on the Indian Diaspora. The committee was entrusted with the task of conducting a comprehensive study of the global Indian diaspora and recommending ways to build constructive relationships with them.

The word diaspora comes from the ancient Greek word meaning “spread or dispersal” . That is, when people disperse from their homeland to places around the world and spread their culture, they are called diaspora as a whole. .)

This committee submitted its report in January 2002. It recommended amendments to the Citizenship Act 1955 to provide dual citizenship to persons of Indian origin residing in certain countries .

Accordingly , by amending the Citizenship Act 1955 through the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2003 , “Section 7A, Section 7B, Section 7C and Section 7D” were included in the title Overseas Citizenship .

Under this provision of Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) was made for persons of Indian origin (except Pakistan and Bangladesh) from 16 countries.

In response to persistent demands for dual citizenship, especially to meet the aspirations and expectations of the diaspora in North America and other developed countries, the Citizenship Act 1955 was amended in August 2005 to provide for persons of Indian origin in all countries. (Except Pakistan and Bangladesh) Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) scheme was launched.

Overall, the situation now became that the PIO card scheme was running from 2002 and now the OCI scheme also started running from 2005. That is, both the schemes started running simultaneously, although the OCI scheme became more popular.

Later on, in order to provide more convenience to the applicants, the Government of India formulated a single scheme by merging the PIO card scheme and the OCI scheme , which included the positive aspects of both the schemes.

Thus the Citizenship Amendment Act 2015 was enacted to fulfill this purpose. The PIO Card Scheme has been canceled with effect from 2015 and it has been notified that all existing PIO Cardholders shall be deemed to be Overseas Citizenship of India Cardholders from 2015 onwards.

The Citizenship Amendment Act 2015 changed ” Overseas Citizen of India ” to ” Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder “. Presently the same scheme is running.

Under the Citizenship Amendment Act 2015, changes were brought in the main Act (which was Section 7A, Section 7B, Section 7C, Section 7D) and now the current position in respect of OCI cardholders is as follows –

Who can register for Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder (OCI Cardholder)?

1. The Central Government may, subject to such conditions, restrictions and manner, on an application made in this behalf, register any person as an Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder, if they Fulfills any of the following conditions –

(a) a person of full age and capacity, (I) who is a citizen of any other country but was a citizen of India at the time of the commencement of the Constitution or at any time thereafter, or (II) who is a citizen of any other country but was qualified to be a citizen of India at the time of entry into force, or (III) who is a citizen of any other country but belongs to the territory which became part of India after the 15th August, 1947, or (IV) which is the son/daughter or grandson/granddaughter or great-grandson/great-granddaughter of any such citizen, or

(b) any person who is a minor child of a person referred to in section (a), or
(c) any person who is a minor child and one of whose parents is a citizen of India, Or

(d) Spouse of Overseas Origin of Indian Citizen, or Spouse of Foreign Origin of Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder whose marriage is registered and married for at least two years prior to the date of submission of application remains constant,

The Cardholder of the Foreigner of Indian Origin covered under these provisions may register himself as an Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder .

️Any person who is himself or any of his parents or whose grandparents, great-grandfathers/great-grandfathers are from Pakistan, Bangladesh or any other country as may be specified by the Government of India, shall not be eligible for registration as Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder. .

2. The Government of India may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify the figure from which the listed Persons of Indian Origin Cardholders shall be deemed to be Overseas Citizen of India Cardholders .

3. Notwithstanding anything contained in point (1), the Central Government may, if it is satisfied that any special circumstances arise, by recording those circumstances in writing, register any person as an Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder.

Rights, not enjoyed by Overseas Indian Citizen Cardholder

1. An Overseas Indian citizenship Cardholder shall have such rights as may be specified by the Central Government from time to time by notification in the Official Gazette.

2. An Overseas Indian Citizen Cardholder will not have the following rights (which are enjoyed by an Indian citizen) –

(a) he shall not have the right to equality of opportunity in the matter of public employment under Article 16
(b) he shall not be eligible to be elected President under article 58
(c) he shall not be eligible to be elected as the Vice-President under Article 66
(d) he shall not be qualified to be appointed as a Judge of the Supreme Court under Article 124
(e) he shall not be qualified to be appointed as a Judge of the High Court under article 217
(f) he shall not be entitled to be registered as a voter under section 16 of the Representation of the People Act, 1950
(g) he shall not be eligible to be a member of the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha under sections 3 and 4 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951
(h) he shall not be eligible to be chosen as a member of the State Legislative Assembly or the State Legislative Council under sections 5, 5A and 6 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951
(i) he shall not be eligible for appointment to the public services and for posts connected with the affairs of the Union or of the State, unless the Central Government gives specific directions for appointment to such services and posts.

How can the foreign citizenship card be abandoned?

1. If an Overseas Indian Cardholder of full age and capacity makes a declaration of abandonment of that card in the prescribed format, then this declaration will be registered by the Central Government and after this registration that person will cease to be an Overseas Indian Citizen.

2. When a person ceases to be an Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder, his/her spouse of overseas origin who has obtained the Overseas Citizen of India Card and his/her minor child who is registered as Overseas Indian Citizen shall cease to be an Overseas Citizen of India.

When can the registration as Overseas Indian Citizen Cardholder be cancelled?

The Central Government may, by order, cancel the registration of any person registered as an Overseas Indian Citizen Cardholder , if it is satisfied that-

(a) the overseas Indian citizenship has been obtained by the Cardholder by fraud, false representation or suppression of material evidence, or

(b) the Overseas Indian Citizen Cardholder has shown disloyalty to the Constitution of India, or

(c) the overseas Indian citizen cardholder has unlawfully established contact with the enemy during any war in which India is also engaged, or

(d) the Overseas Indian Citizen Cardholder has, within five years of registration, undergoes a sentence of imprisonment of not less than two years, or

(e) if so doing is in the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of India, friendly relations with any other country or in the interest of the general public, or

(f) the development of an Overseas Indian Citizen Cardholder – (I) has been dissolved by a competent court or otherwise, or (II) has not been dissolved, but has continued to enter into such marriage with someone else Have done it

| Benefits to Overseas Citizen of India Cardholders

(1) Facility of multiple entry for free visit to India and multipurpose visa for life. (However, OCI cardholders will have to take special permission for research work in India for which they can submit an application to India Mission/Post/FRRO. Overall, such people can come to India without visa for life.

(2) Exemption from registration with an FRRO (Foreigners Regional Registration Officer) for any length of stay in India.

[Note- All foreigners seeking visa and immigration related services in India such as registration, visa extension, visa conversion, exit permit etc. require FRRO.]

(3) Equality with NRIs in the financial, economic and educational spheres except in cases of acquisition of agricultural or plantation assets. That is, these people cannot buy agricultural land in India.

(4) These people can stay in the country for any length of time, that too without reporting to the police officers. If a person without a card holder stays in the country for more than 180 days, then he has to report to the police.

(5) Registered Overseas Citizen of India Cardholders shall be treated at par with NRIs in the matter of fares for domestic flights in India.

(6) Registered Overseas Indian Citizen of India Cardholder will be charged the same entry fee to National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries as is charged from domestic visitors.

(7) State Governments should ensure that OCI cardholder registration is treated as an identity card for any service provided to them.

New changes in the rules related to OCI cardholders

In March 2021, the Ministry of Home Affairs has made changes in some of the rules related to OCI cardholder which are as follows;

1. OCI cardholder has to take special permission from FRRO or any competent authority, if they have come to India to engage in any of the following activities-

– For research,
– Indulging in missionary or Tablighi activity,
– For mountaineering,
– For journalism,
– To visit a place which is protected or restricted,
– To do internship in foreign institutions etc. For.

2. OCI cardholders will now be treated at par with citizens of India in the following respects;

– In the fares of domestic flights,
– In international cases of child adoption,
– In matters of buying and selling of land other than agricultural land, – In matters of
carrying on business such as doctors, nurses, advocates, architects and charter accountants.

3. OCI cardholder will be treated at par with NRI in case of All India Entrance Examinations (like JEE and NEET). That is, they will also come under the quota that has been prescribed under NRI and not under the quota of an Indian citizen.

How can these people become citizens of India?

According to the Citizenship Act 1955, a person can obtain citizenship of India if he has been registered as an OCI cardholder for five years and who has been ordinarily resident in India for 12 consecutive months prior to the citizenship registration application.

Hope you understand the OCI concept. For now hindi quiz is available, if you wish do try. And don’t forget to read our other important artices.

Overseas Citizenship of India upsc practice quiz

NRI और भारतीय मूल के विदेशी व्यक्ति में अंतर
Overseas Citizen of India Registration and Other Details
Consular Services, Passport Services & Visa Services
Citizenship FAQs – Hindi, English
Important Acts & Rules
संविधान निर्माण की कहानी
नागरिकता अधिनियम 1955↗️
नागरिकता संशोधन अधिनियम 2003↗️
नागरिकता संशोधन अधिनियम 2005↗️
नागरिकता संशोधन अधिनियम 2015↗️
मूल संविधान भाग 2 नागरिकता↗️
विकिपडिया – Overseas Citizenship of India↗️ & Indian Nationality Law↗️
Ministry of External Affairs – Overseas Citizenship of India Scheme↗️
New rules for OCI cardholders