Former Indian citizens on ‘Overseas Citizen of India’ (OCI) status must carry their OCI Card while travelling to India to avoid problems at the destination, an official of the Indian High Commission in Wellington said.
Head of Chancery and Counsellor Sanjay Verma said that OCI cards are a form of identity which must be presented with the holder’s valid non-Indian passport (New Zealand for instance) to immigration authorities.
“OCI card holders travelling to India are advised to carry the Passport containing U Visa sticker and OCI Card to avoid problems at Immigration check points in India. In the case registered OCI holders (21-50 years of age or those who acquired OCI after 50 years of age) have obtained a new passport, they must ensure to carry the passport containing U Visa sticker, new passport and OCI document,” he said.
Indian Newslink sought his clarification after two OCI card holders failed to show them at the airline check-in counter at Auckland Airport during the holiday season. While one of them was allowed to travel after executing a bond as per advice from Indian immigration officials in Kochi (Kerala), the other person was obliged to return home to bring his Card.
Mr Verma also mentioned that the OCI Registration Certificate and Visa must be re-issued each time a new passport is issued until the holder completes 20 years of age and once after completion of 50 years of age.
“While reissue of OCI Registration Certificate and visa is not mandatory each time a new passport is issued between 21-50 years of age, a person may apply if he or she desires so with the prescribed fee,” he said.
The procedure for reissue of lost or misplaced OCI Cards involves lengthy procedures, similar to the loss of an Indian passport.
The person concerned should file an application with the Indian High Commission along with appropriate evidence (usually a Police report) for the loss of the OCI Card. The cost of replacement of a new OCI Card is currently $140 and may involve a personal interview by a High Commission official in Wellington.
India does not accept Dual Citizenship but former Indian passport holders can apply for OCI status, which involves a one-time fee of $365 if the applicants comply with the requirements.
Foreign nationals (other than those who have held passports of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, China, Afghanistan, Iran and other countries that may be specified from time to time) who satisfy the provisions of the Government of India Act 1935 may apply for Person of Indian Origin Card (PIO). The Card, costing $695 per person, is valid for 15 years. The Indian Government has the authority to revoke the OCI and PIO Card of any person at any time without notice.
New Consular Hours
A notification issued by the Indian High Commission said that the following Consular Hours on working days have come into effect from January 1, 2014:
Acceptance of applications and documents 930 am to 12 pm
Delivery of documents: 4 pm to 5 pm