Overseas Citizenship of India


An Indian citizen who lives in abroad uses their Indian Citizenship at many platforms & enjoys benefits of Indian Citizenship by OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) Card.

But, having an Overseas citizenship of India is not easy thing to get.

In government exams, many questions are asked about Overseas Citizenship of India, and it is an important topic in Indian polity. If you want to know about Overseas Citizenship of India in detail, please read this article fully,

So, let’s start-

What is Overseas Citizenship of India?

Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) is a form of long-term visa that allows foreign citizens of Indian origin to stay and work in India indefinitely. It was introduced by the Indian government in 2005 to facilitate easier travel and stay in India for PIOs (Persons of Indian Origin) and their descendants who hold foreign citizenship.

The OCI cardholders are not Indian citizens, but they enjoy certain benefits such as multiple entry, multi-purpose life-long visa to visit India, exemption from registration with the Foreigners Regional Registration Officer (FRRO), and parity with non-resident Indians (NRIs) in economic, financial, and educational fields, except for the purchase of agricultural or plantation properties.

The OCI scheme aims to strengthen the emotional ties between India and the overseas Indian community, promote tourism and investment, and encourage economic and cultural exchanges between India and other countries.

How to Get Overseas Citizenship of India?

Please follow these steps mentioned below to get overseas citizenship of India-

Determine If You Are Eligible

The eligibility criteria for OCI include being a foreign national of Indian origin or a spouse of a foreign national of Indian origin. You must also not be a citizen of Pakistan, Bangladesh or any other country as may be specified by the Indian government.

Gather Required Documents

You will need to gather various documents, such as proof of Indian origin, a valid passport, and proof of current citizenship.

Pay The Application Fee

You must submit an online application on the Ministry of Home Affairs website by filling all the required details & submitting documents.

Pay The Application Fee

Once you have submitted your application, you will need to pay the application fee online.

Schedule an Appointment

After payment of the application fee, you must schedule an appointment at the Indian embassy or consulate in your country of residence to submit your application in person.

Submit Biometrics

On the day of your appointment, you will need to submit your biometric information, including fingerprints and a photograph.

Wait for Processing

The processing time for OCI applications can vary, but it typically takes between 4 to 6 weeks from the date of application submission.

Collect Your OCI Card

Once your application is approved, you will be notified by email to collect your OCI card from the embassy or consulate.

Ways to Acquire Overseas Citizenship of India

There are three ways to acquire Overseas citizenship of India-


Foreign nationals of Indian origin or spouses of foreign nationals of Indian origin can register for OCI if they fulfill certain eligibility criteria.


Foreign nationals who are married to Indian citizens or who have resided in India for 12 years and meet other eligibility criteria can apply for naturalization and become Indian citizens. Once they have obtained Indian citizenship, they can apply for OCI.

Merger or Acquisition of Territory

If a foreign territory becomes a part of India, the citizens of that territory automatically become Indian citizens. Those who do not wish to become Indian citizens can apply for OCI.

Benefits of Having Indian Overseas Citizenship

These are the most common benefits of having Indian Overseas Citizenship of India-

  • You may get multiple entry, plus life-long visa to visit India.

  • Don’t need to register with FRRO for any length of stay in India.

  • Person can easily get the parity with NRIs, except for the purchase of agricultural or plantation properties.

  • The right to work and study in India without the need for a work or student visa.

  • The ability to open and maintain bank accounts in India.

  • Access to domestic airfares and other concessions available to Indian citizens.

  • The ability to invest in the Indian stock market and purchase non-farm property in India.

  • The ability to apply for a driver’s license and PAN card (Permanent Account Number) in India.

  • Access to healthcare facilities in India at par with Indian citizens.

  • Ability to participate in the political life of India, except for voting in Indian elections.


Q1. What is OCI, and who is eligible to apply for it?

Ans: OCI stands for Overseas Citizenship of India. Persons of Indian origin (PIOs) who are citizens of certain countries and who were eligible to become citizens of India on 26 January 1950, or at any time thereafter, or their children or grandchildren, are eligible to apply for OCI.

Q2. What are the benefits of having OCI?

Ans: OCI holders enjoy several benefits, such as the right to work and live in India, travel to and from India without a visa, and access to various consular services.

Q3. How long does it take to get an OCI card?

Ans: The processing time for an OCI application varies, but it typically takes between 4 to 6 weeks from the date of application submission.

Q4. Can OCI holders vote in Indian elections?

Ans: No, OCI holders cannot vote in Indian elections as they are not citizens of India.

Q5. Can OCI holders own agricultural land in India?

Ans: No, OCI holders are not allowed to own agricultural land in India. However, they can inherit agricultural land from a person who was an Indian citizen at the time of their death.

Updated on: 15-May-2023


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