Connecticut, US

Dec 10 2019

Overseas Citizenship of India Card Applicants Subject to New Travel Restriction

India

At a Glance

  • Foreign nationals of Indian origin seeking to apply for an Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) Card must now have lived in India or any third country for six months prior to submitting their application, where previously, foreign nationals could apply immediately after arrival.
  • OCI Card applicants can no longer travel internationally until their OCI Card application is submitted. If they leave the country, the six-month period resets and they must again not travel for six months to apply for an OCI Card.

The situation

The Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has published a rule requiring foreign nationals of Indian origin seeking to apply for an Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) Card to have lived in India for six months prior to submitting their application, where previously, foreign nationals could apply immediately after arrival in India.

Impact

OCI Card applicants must now remain in India or any third country for six months continuously and cannot travel internationally until the OCI Card application is submitted. If they leave the country, the six-month period resets and they must again not travel for six months to apply for an OCI Card.

Reminder - OCI Card Conversion Deadline Extended

Recently, the deadline for all Person of India (PIO) cardholders (machine and non-machine-readable) to obtain Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cards has been extended to March 31, 2020. It is likely that those who fail to convert their PIO cards by March 31, 2020 will be denied entry/exit while traveling to and from India.

Looking ahead

The Ministry of Home Affairs is expected to introduce specific guidelines on July’s consolidation of visa categories soon. Further changes are also expected as the government continues to streamline the immigration system, including allowing persons of Indian origin and spouses or children of Indian nationals to undertake employment, business, study or research opportunities without converting their visa to the appropriate visa category.

Fragomen in India is Fragomen Immigration Services India (Pvt) Ltd., operating exclusively as an immigration consultancy and not as a law firm in India. This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to IndiaQueries_NewPolicy@fragomen.com.