LCI Learning

Share on Facebook

Share on Twitter

Share on LinkedIn

Share on Email

Share More


The Constitution of India provides for a single citizenship for the whole of India. Every person who was at the commencement of the Constitution (26 January 1950) domiciled in the territory of India, and (a) who was born in India, or (b) either of whose parents was born in India, or (c) who has been ordinarily resident in India for not less than five years, became a citizen of India. The Citizenship Act, 1955 deals with matters relating to acquisition, determination and termination of Indian citizenship after the commencement of the Constitution.

Meaning of Overseas Citizenship of India

According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, an OCI is someone who was an Indian citizen on or before January 26, 1950, or who.

  • was qualified to become an Indian citizen on January 26, 1950; or
  • among other requirements for qualifying, one must be the child or grandchild of one of these people.
  • a candidate is ineligible for the OCI card under Section 7A of the rules if he, his parents, or his grandparents have ever held the citizenship of Pakistan or Bangladesh.
  • the government established the category in 2005. Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) and OCI categories were combined in 2015 by the Indian government's Citizenship (Amendment) Act.


  • Prior to the promulgation of the Indian Constitution, it was prohibited for Indian nationals to hold dual citizenship. As a result, an Indian passport holder was not allowed to have any other passports.
  • The High-Level Committee on Indian Diaspora suggested that the Government of India offer Overseas Citizenship of India as outlined in Section 7A of the Citizenship Act, 1995, as this clause poses numerous issues.
  • In the past, anyone travelling with an Overseas Citizenship of India card was required to have a passport and a lifelong visa. However, this clause was rejected, thus carrying is not required.

Eligibility of Overseas Cardholder:

  • Under certain circumstances, a person may be able to apply to the Indian government for registration as an Indian citizen abroad.
  • Should be an Indian citizen according to a document dated on or after January 26, 1950.
  • The applicant's grandfather or grandparents must have been Indian nationals.
  • When the person is a minor child and their grandfather or grandparents are Indian citizens.
  • When the individual is a small child and both of the person's parents, or only one of the parents, are Indian citizens.

When a person's spouse is an Indian citizen, an overseas Indian citizen, or both, and the marriage has been legally recognised for more than two years. With one exception, a person may register as an Overseas Citizen of India if either of their parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents formerly had Pakistani or Bangladeshi citizenship.

Online applications are accepted for Indian overseas citizenship:

A person must include a photo of themselves in the application when applying for Indian Overseas Citizenship. The individual must present all the paperwork needed for verification in order to demonstrate their eligibility. The applicant must pay the application cost. An application submitted outside of India will be charged US$275. The application submitted within India will be charged Rs. 15,000. The applicant must present both a photocopy of his passport and the current proof of citizenship he is currently in possession of. Additionally, the passport must be valid for at least six months.

If the applicant's application falls under Indian law, a photocopy of the applicant's Indian visa must be sent. The person must provide documentation proving that at least one of their parents, grandparents, or great grandparents is an Indian citizen. The applicant must present a photocopy of their Indian visa, their Domicile Certificate, and either their parent's, grandparents, or great-birth grandparent's certificate. If the aforementioned documents are verified and the claim of Indian ancestry is established, the person will need to demonstrate that the relationship described above is legitimate.

Renewal OCI:

A new passport must be issued every few years until the age of 20. The Overseas Citizen of India registration certificate and visa must be issued again after becoming 50 years old. It is not necessary to get your Indian overseas citizen papers reissued if you are between the ages of 21 and 50 in order to obtain a new passport.

Positive Aspects of OCI:

  • Holders of Overseas Citizen of India cards receive perpetual multiple-entry, multi-purpose visas.
  • Their stay in India is not time-limited.
  • The non-resident Indians are given uniformity in the financial, economic, and educational sectors.
  • The domestic air fares are kept the same for both residents and non-resident Indians.
  • Indians who do not reside in the country are permitted to work in the private sector.
  • In order to apply for a job, holders of Overseas Citizen of India cards are not required to provide an employment visa or register with the Overseas Citizen of India Foreigners Regional Registration Office.
  • OCI holders are not required to submit an application for a Protected Area or Inner Line Permit. They are free to visit any location in India.

Negative aspects of OCI Card:

  • OCI cardholders are not allowed to cast ballots.
  • Holders holding OCI cards are not eligible to serve as the Prime Minister, President, Vice President, High Court and Supreme Court judges, or as members of the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, Legislative Assembly, or Council.
  • Holders with OCI cards are not eligible for employment in government-related fields.
  • The holders of OCI cards are not permitted to purchase farms or plantations.

Cancellation of OCI:

The terms of Section 7D of the Citizenship Act, 1995 permit the cancellation of OCI's current registration. If the OCI was gained through deceit or the suppression of facts, the Indian government has the right to revoke it.

The conditions under which OCI is revoked in accordance with Section 7D of the Citizenship Act of 1995 are as follows:

  • If the registration was based on fraudulent representations, the hiding of facts, and the acquisition of the OCI.
  • If the OCI cardholder's conduct violates Indian law as set forth by the Constitution.
  • If it is discovered that an OCI cardholder participated in any war with India and had illegal communications or engaged in any commerce or transaction that benefited the enemy while the war was in progress.
  • If an OCI cardholder receives a sentence of at least two years in prison.

Renunciation of OCI:

Renunciation of OCI is carried out when a person registers for an OCI document but later decides to forgo it and withdraw their application. Section 7C of the Citizenship Act lays out the guidelines must be followed while renunciating OCI.

As per the Citizenship Act's Section 7C

  • An Indian citizen living abroad who has reached legal adulthood may choose to relinquish his Indian citizenship by registering his decision with the Central Government. Additionally, following registration, the individual would lose their Indian citizenship.
  • The minor child of the renounced individual would no longer be an Indian citizen after the renunciation.

Case law:

Dr. Christo Thomas Philip v. Union of India & Ors

According to Section 7D(e) of the Citizenship Act, 1955, the authorities in the case of Dr. Christo Thomas Philip v. Union of India & Ors. revoked the doctor's OCI card on the grounds that he was working as an evangelical medical missionary in India. The court further concluded that there was no material evidence to support the doctor's involvement in any conversion-related activity. Referring to Article 25 of the Constitution, the Delhi High Court ruled that it is available to everyone worldwide and is not just for Indians. In order to assure that the doctor experiences no obstacles to entering the nation, it instructed the authorities to return the card to the doctor.


The Citizenship Act grants the Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) a wide range of rights, but it does not grant them any political rights. They are also prevented from purchasing land for farms and plantations. Additionally, the most recent 2019 Amendment offers no advice regarding the kind of laws that the federal government may notify. Since these guidelines are required to impose restrictions on the authority's authority and prevent any arbitrary use of authority.

"Loved reading this piece by Dikshita More ?
Join LAWyersClubIndia's network for daily News Updates, Judgment Summaries, Articles, Forum Threads, Online Law Courses, and MUCH MORE!!"

Tags :

Category Others, Other Articles by - Dikshita More  


Post a Suggestion for LCI Team
Post a Legal Query