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New citizenship rules for 3.7 million Indians

 

NEW DELHI – Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) will no longer have to apply for renewal of their status periodically when their passports are re-issued.

The new rule recently announced by India’s Ministry of Home Affairs is expected to affect 3.7 million people with OCI status, including those living in Gulf countries.

OCIs get all the benefits of Indian citizenship, except voting rights and the right to own agricultural land while retaining their foreign passports.

They are given OCI cards that serve as multiple entry, life-long visas to enter or live in India.

Currently, the OCI card is required to be re-issued each time a new passport is issued to those aged 20 and above, and when the cardholder reaches 50.

An OCI cardholder will have to get the card re-issued only once when a new passport is issued after he or she reaches the age of 20 to capture facial features during adulthood.

If a person has obtained registration as an OCI cardholder after the age of 20, there will be no requirement of re-issue of OCI card.

OCI cardholders of foreign origin, who are spouses of a citizen of India or an OCI cardholder, will have to upload a copy of their new passport, latest photo and marriage declaration on the system each time a new passport is issued.

All these services will be provided free of charge to all OCI cardholders.


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