The Government of India is now offering Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI), which many Indians consider as dual citizenship. OCI replaces Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) which was offered to Indian citizens who had acquired citizenship of foreign countries.
It is important to note that OCI holders do not have the same rights as Indian citizens.
- You cannot vote during elections
- You cannot stand for elections for Lok Sabha / Rajya Sabha / Legislative Assembly
- You cannot hold posts such as President / Vice President / Judges of Indian Courts (Supreme Court and High Court)
- Generally very hard to obtain a government job
- Difficult to obtain agricultural land
As you can see there is no such restriction for Indian Passport holders, but OCI holders cannot do this.
Let’s understand what are the benefits of an OCI
- Multiple entries and life long validity for India visit
- Permanent exemption from reporting to local Police authorities
- Authorized to be employed in all sectors apart from the ones listed above (e.g. government, political posts, etc.)
- No requirement to obtain employment or business visa
- Ability to open practices and do business (e.g. doctor clinic, hospitals, accountants, etc.)
- Ability to change jobs with no restrictions
Who is eligible for an OCI?
- A citizen of India
- A child, grandchild of an Indian citizen
- A minor child whose one of the parents are citizens of India
- Spouses of foreign origin who are married to Indian citizens
What are the documents needed to apply for OCI?
- Birth Certificate – Original certificate for all applicants that were born outside Indian soil (e.g. American or Canadian birth certificate)
- Signature or Thumb impression for minors who cannot write their name
- Foreign Passport copies
- Indian Passport copies (last held or current in the case for children application)
- Surrender Certificate
- Foreign Citizenship certificate (Oath Certificate Copy)
- Proof of address in the foreign country
- If you are applying in Canada, you need Record of the Landing page (IMM 1000 or COPR IMM 5392)
- Marriage Certificate If marriage was done outside India, the certificate must be notarized
- Photograph instructions
- One photo of size 51 * 51
- Background of the photograph should white/off-white or light colored background in a glossy finish
Once you have collected all these documents, take the documents and apply at nearest BLS India branch. You can mail in applications or do it via Walk in.
Currently, the fees are CAD 425. ( This could be different for