Explained — This Word Means: Overseas Citizen of India

Headline : Explained — This Word Means: Overseas Citizen of India

Details :

In News

  • The Indian government has revoked author AatishTaseer’s Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card.
  • The ground cited by the government in revoking the OCI card was that Taseer’s father was a Pakistani national.


About: Overseas Citizen of India

  • An Overseas Citizen of India, or OCI, is a category introduced by the government in 2005.
  • Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) of certain categories as specified in the Citizenship Act, 1955 were eligible for being OCI cardholders.
  • Some of the benefits for PIO and OCI cardholders were different until 2015, when the government merged these two categories.


  • The Government of India, on application, may register any person as an Overseas Citizen of India, if the person:
    • Was a citizen of India on or after January 26, 1950 or was eligible to become a citizen of India on January 26, 1950.
    • Belonged to a territory that became part of India after 15 August 1947

Based on parenthood

  • Is a child or a grandchild or a great-grandchild of such a citizen
  • Is a minor child of such persons mentioned above
  • Is a minor child and whose both parents are citizens of India or one of the parents is a citizen of India

For a Spouse

  • Is a spouse of foreign origin of a citizen of India or spouse of foreign origin of an Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder registered under section 7A of the Citizenship Act, 1955.
  • The said marriage should have been registered and subsisted for a continuous period of not less than two years immediately preceding the presentation of the application.

Ineligibility for OCI

  • Persons who served as a member of any foreign military are ineligible to receive an OCI card.
  • An applicant is not eligible for the OCI card if he, his parents or grandparents have ever been a citizen of Pakistan or Bangladesh.


What the OCI card entails

Privileges for OCI cardholders:

  • Multi-entry, multi-purpose lifelong visa to visit India
  • Exempt from registering with Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) no matter how long their stay
  • If an individual is registered as an OCI for a period of five years, he/she are eligible to apply for Indian citizenship.
  • They can open special bank accounts in India and also apply for a driver’s license and PAN card
  • They can buy non-farm property and exercise ownership rights
  • At all Indian international airports, OCI cardholders are provided with special immigration counters.

Limitations on OCI cardholders:

  • They do not have voting rights in India
  • They cannot hold a government job and cannot run for a public office either
  • They are not allowed to purchase agricultural or farm land.
  • They cannot travel to restricted areas without government permission.
Section : Polity & Governance