Having listened to the pleas of many whose parents started living overseas and now wanted to be Indian citizens again, the Government of India carved out the most ambitious citizenship scheme for overseas Indians in response to their dual citizenship requests. The genesis of this scheme goes back to the Citizenship Act 1955. An amendment was billed by the concurrent Government of India in August 2005. The same was introduced in the convention for the Pravasi Bhartiya Divas 2006 edition.
How is Overseas Indian citizenship different from dual citizenship?
- The very first thing that differentiates a person with dual citizenship and the one with overseas Indian citizenship is that the one with OIC is still a foreigner and not an Indian yet.
- The Overseas Indian citizenship grants acknowledgement alone to an overseas Indian that he/she is of Indian origin.
- Despite being named the Overseas Indian citizenship scheme, the OIC is practically a long-term, multiple-entry Visa scheme for OCI card holders.
- As we all know, India, as of now as a nation, doesn’t recognize dual citizenship; thus, the Overseas Indian citizenship scheme turns out to be a good call for all PIOs( people of Indian origin).
Eligibility for Overseas Indian Citizenship Scheme
The Ministry of External Affairs India has updated eligibility parameters on its official website, which are given below:
- All persons of Indian origin
- Each person who is believed to be a citizen of India on 26 January 1950 but now has citizenship to a different country.
- Or the ones who were eligible to be entitled to Indian citizenship at that time.
- Who was a citizen of a land that was annexed to Indian territory after 1947.
Exception: However, a person holding Citizenship of Pakistan or Bangladesh or was a citizen of the above-given nations at some point may not be eligible for an Overseas Indian citizenship scheme card.
Spouse and offspring of the OCI cardholders:
Legally wedded spouses of people holding OIC cards for a minimum of 2 years are eligible for OCI cards. Minor children of the OCI card holders are also deemed to be eligible for OCI.
Rights conferred to overseas Indian citizenship cardholders:
Parity with NRIs in Financial educational fields
The OCIs are equivalent to the NRIs in certain matters of economic, financial and educational aspects. However, the same may not be the case when it comes to agricultural and plantation acquisitions.
- OIC card gives you an opportunity to follow professions such as doctors, medics, Chartered accountants, Architects, Lawyers, etc.
- Also, the Diaspora Children can appear in JEE & NEET examinations but only against a seat reserved for NRIs.
- The adoption process becomes a lot easier for persons with OCI cards.
- Buying and selling land of different types becomes less complex.
Multipurpose, Multi-Entry Visa
The most coveted perk of being an OCI cardholder is to possess a multi-entry visa for a lifetime. This helps you skip the relentless questioning of FRRO.
Thus, OCI paves the way for Persons of Indian origin to visit India on a frequent basis to undertake research, take up a mountaineering expedition, to take up an internship under foreign diplomatic missions.
Parity with Indians in the field of
- Entry fee for historical monuments, wildlife sanctuaries, national parks, UNESCO world heritage sites in India, etc.
- Air ticket charges in domestic airlines in India.
However, a person with overseas Indian citizenship in no way shall be deemed to have Indian citizenship.
Cancellation of Overseas Citizenship:
The Government of India may seek cancellation of one’s citizenship overseas if
- It’s obtained by illegal means.
- The citizenship holder shows reluctance towards abiding by the Indian constitution and other substantial laws of the land of India.
- An overseas Indian citizenship card holder engages in a conspiracy with a third party/nation against India in war times.
Renunciation of overseas Indian citizenship
An adult can declare his renunciation of overseas Indian citizenship in the prescribed manner to the Government of India. The Government will take it in cognizance and register his declaration.
All minor children of the Overseas Indian will also lose the benefits of the OCI scheme.
Thus Overseas Indian citizenship scheme could be the multidimensional initiative of the Government of India to bring the diaspora talent a step closer to their roots. It is also equally beneficial for those willing to continue having their citizenship abroad and be economically and socially indulged with India.