The Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) will not be required to register for a fresh OCI card every time a new passport is issued in their name, the Home Ministry said in a statement on Thursday.
The Ministry stated that at present, the OCI card is required to be reissued each time a new passport is issued up to 20 years of age and once after completing 50 “in view of biological changes in the face of the applicant”.
‘Reissue only once’
“With a view to facilitate the OCI cardholders, it has now been decided by the Government of India to dispense with this requirement. A person who has got registration as OCI cardholder prior to attaining the age of 20 years will have to get the OCI card reissued only once when a new passport is issued after his/her completing 20 years of age, so as to capture his/her facial features on attaining adulthood. If a person has obtained registration as OCI cardholder after attaining the age of 20 years, there will be no requirement of reissue of the OCI card,” the Ministry said.
It added that the details of the new passports obtained by the OCI cardholder can be uploaded online within three months of receiving the passport.
“It has been decided that he/she shall upload a copy of the new passport containing his/her photo and also a latest photo on the online OCI portal, each time a new passport is issued up to 20 years of age and once after completing 50 years of age,” it said.
The Ministry added that foreign spouses registered as OCIs will be required to upload a copy of the new passport and also a latest photo, along with a “declaration that their marriage is still subsisting, each time a new passport is issued”. The documents will have to be uploaded within three months of receipt of new passport.
“The details will be updated on the systemand an auto acknowledgement through e-mail will be sent to the OCI cardholder informing that the updated details have been taken on record. There will be no restriction on the OCI cardholder to travel to/ from India during the period from the date of issue of new passport till the date of final acknowledgement of his/ her documents in the web-based system,” the Ministry stated.
A government official said a decision had been taken to simplify the registration for OCIs and the portal would be announced soon.
OCI citizens are of Indian origin but they are foreign passport holders and are not citizens of India. India does not allow dual citizenship but provides them certain benefits under Section 7B(I) of the Citizenship Act, 1955 to the OCIs.
As per norms, a foreigner of Indian origin or a foreign spouse of an Indian citizen or foreign spouse of an OCI can be registered as an OCI. OCI card is a life-long visa for OCIs to stay in India. In March, the Ministry issued a notification specifying that OCIs require special permission for “missionary, Tabligh, mountaineering or journalistic activities.”
The MHA had said that OCI card holders can lay claim to “only NRI quota seats” in educational institutions based on all-India entrance tests such as the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET), the Joint Entrance Examination (Mains), Joint Entrance Examination (Advanced) or other such all India character tests.
So far about 37.72 lakh OCI cards have been issued by the Government of India.