Current Card can be used up to June 30, 2020
Auckland, December 20, 2019
The Indian High Commission in Wellington has just announced a decision of the Indian government to relax the rules regarding renewal of Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) Card up to and inclusive of June 30, 2020.
The announcement said all OCI Card holders will be allowed to travel to India, without having to obtain a new OCI Card in the case of people who have reached the ages of 20 and 50 and that the extension will expire on the date announced.
According to the OCI rules, those under the age of 20 should obtain a new OCI Card every time a new passport of their country of domicile (New Zealand for instance) and those reaching the age of 50 should obtain a new OCI immediately thereafter.
Persons who have obtained their OCI Card after reaching 50 years of age, are exempt from obtaining an new Card.
The communication said that the Indian government decided to relax the rule in view of the hardship experienced by many travellers.
An Indian High Commission official said that these rules have been in force since the OCI Scheme commenced (in 2006).
“Every person under the age of 20, holding an OCI Card must get a new Card issued every time a new passport issued (by another country). Similarly, every OCI holder should get a new Card issued when they complete 50 years of age. This is done only once,” he said.
“This is because of the biological changes that occur on the face of the applicant. Those obtaining OCI after reaching 50 years need not have to get the Card reissued, “ he said.
OCI card holders, who are in need of new cards should apply on their return from India.
In Wellington, the processing time for OCI Cards is 30 working days but could be longer.
Benefits of OCI Card
OCI cards have become popular among both former citizens of India and those who were earlier and those holding Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) Card.
OCI Card holders are entitled to (1) Multiple-entry multi-purpose life-long visa to visit India (Special approval is required for research, mountaineering, missionary activities, journalism and to visit Restricted/Protected Areas) (2) Exemption from reporting to Police authorities/Foreigners Regional Registration Officer for any length of stay in India (3) equality with Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) in certain financial, economic and educational matters except for acquisition of agricultural or plantation land and in matters pertaining to inter-country adoption of Indian children (4) Equality with domestic Indians in entry to national parks and wildlife sanctuaries and in matter of tariffs in air fares in domestic sectors in India.
Not Dual Citizenship
There is considerable confusion among people who hold OCI Cards.
We hereby clarify that India does not grant Dual Citizenship and hence OCI should not confused as a form of citizenship. Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) are citizens of India who live and/work abroad and hence are not ‘Ordinarily citizens of India.’ They hold Indian passports and hence are entitled to all the benefits of Indian citizenship, not available to OCI Card holders.
OCI Card holders do not have any voting rights and are not eligible for election to Union Parliament or State Legislatures or for holding Constitutional posts such as President, Vice President, Judges of Supreme Court, High Court and other public appointments. They cannot hold any Public Office under the Union or any of the State Governments.