New rules for Overseas Citizens of India (OCI)

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs on  notified new rules for Overseas Citizens of India (OCI)

The notification has restored the lifelong visa to OCIs that was temporarily suspended in March in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The notification also permits OCI cardholders eligible for appearing in all-India entrance tests such as NEET for medical courses, JEE — both Main and Advanced — for engineering or any other tests. However, this will only be against any NRI or supernumerary seat that is over and above the sanctioned intake approved by the appropriate authority and government, from time to time.

An OCI cardholder shall not be eligible for admission against any seat reserved exclusively for Indian citizens. The government has always taken a stand that OCI cardholders had parity with NRIs and can lay claim only to the NRI quota seats based on the all-India tests.

An OCI cardholder will now have to take special permission to undertake research work. Any missionary or Tablighi or mountaineering or journalistic activities, internship in any foreign diplomatic missions or foreign government organisations in India or taking up employment in any foreign diplomatic missions in India will need permission.

Prior permission will also be needed if an OCI cardholder wants to visit any place that falls within the protected or restricted or prohibited areas within India as notified by the Central government of any competent authority.

Notification t now make it compulsory for an OCI cardholder to intimate the FRRO(  Foreigners Regional Registration Officer)by email whenever there is a change in permanent residential address and in their occupation.

Also, now an OCI cardholder can apply for inter-country adoption subject to compliance of procedure laid down by the competent authority.

OCI cardholders will be charged entry fees for visiting national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, national monuments, historical sites and museums in India and tariffs in airfares in domestic sectors in the country shall be at par with the Indian nationals.


India does not allow dual citizenship and OCI is the closest it comes to. OCI is akin to a lifelong visa to live and work in India.

The Government of India’s OCI scheme provides facilities such as life-long visa and exemption from registration with FRRO. It also entitles them to a lot of the same benefits as non-resident Indians (NRIs) ; they also have parity with non-resident Indians with regard to all facilities available to them in the economic, financial and educational fields, barring matters relating to the acquisition of agricultural or plantation properties.

When compared, NRIs enjoy more benefits than an OCI cardholder. For example, NRIs have full voting rights for all elections. An NRI can stand for public office and even purchase agricultural land. NRIs can conduct research work without any prior permission.

Citizenship in India is governed by Articles 5 – 11 (Part II) of the Constitution.

Nationality in India mostly follows the jus sanguinis (citizenship by right of blood) and not jus soli (citizenship by right of birth within the territory).

Article 5 : Citizenship at the commencement of the Constitution

 Article 6: Rights of citizenship of certain persons who have migrated to India from Pakistan.

 Article 7 : Rights of citizenship of certain migrants to Pakistan.

 Article 8 : Rights of citizenship of certain persons of Indian origin residing outside India

 Article 9 : Persons voluntarily acquiring citizenship of a foreign State not to be citizens.

 Article 10 : Continuance of the rights of citizenship

 Article 11 : Parliament to regulate the right of citizenship by law

Citizenship Act, 1955

Citizenship of India can be acquired in the following ways:

Citizenship at the commencement of the Constitution

Citizenship by birth; by descent; by registration; by naturalization; by incorporation of territory

Termination of Indian Citizenship

Termination of citizenship is possible in three ways according to the Act:

  1. Renunciation: If any citizen of India who is also a national of another country renounces his Indian citizenship through a declaration in the prescribed manner, he ceases to be an Indian citizen.
  2. Termination: Indian citizenship can be terminated if a citizen knowingly or voluntarily adopts the citizenship of any foreign country.
  3. Deprivation: The government of India can deprive a person of his citizenship in some cases. But this is not applicable for all citizens. It is applicable only in the case of citizens who have acquired the citizenship by registration, naturalization, or only by Article 5 Clause (c) (which is citizenship at commencement for a domicile in India and who has ordinarily been a resident of India for not less than 5 years immediately preceding the commencement of the Constitution).


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