Overseas Citizens of India will now be required to renew their cards only once at the age of 20 instead of multiple times, the Centre announced on Thursday.
Overseas Citizenship of India is an immigration status that allows foreigners of Indian-origin to live and work in India indefinitely. This status is not available to applicants whose parents, grandparents or great-grandparents are from Pakistan. Before the OCI scheme was launched in 2005, members of the diaspora could obtain Person of Indian Origin status.
With its latest announcement, the home ministry has simplified the rules for issuing OCI cards, as earlier they had to be renewed each time the person got a new passport till the age of 20. After the person turns 50, the OCI card had to be renewed again “in view of biological changes in the face of the applicant”.
The ministry said that the details of the new passport obtained by the OCI cardholder can be uploaded online within three months of receiving the passport.
The order added: “In case of those who registered as OCI cardholder as spouse of foreign origin of a citizen of India, or an OCI cardholder, the person concerned will be required to upload… copy of the new passport containing photo of the passport holder and also a latest photo, with a declaration their marriage is still subsisting, each time a new passport is issued.”
Once the details have been updated, an auto acknowledgement e-mail will be sent, it added. “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 order said.
On March 4, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs had announced that OCI cardholders would need special permission if they wish to take up any journalistic activities in the country. In the new rules for overseas Indians seeking visas, the home ministry had clubbed journalistic work with those related to the missionaries and the Tablighi sect.
Among other rules, the OCI cardholder would also need permission from the Foreign Regional Registration Office to take up any research work, internship with foreign missions or if they need to visit areas designated as restricted or protected.