You have been living abroad for a while now and decided on making it your permanent home. You have heard about the Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card and wondering if it is a good option for you.
So what exactly are the OCI card benefits? And more importantly, what about the disadvantages?
The benefits of having an OCI card include visa-free multiple entries to India with life-long validity, no restrictions on the length of stay in India, and exemption from registration with local police.
Disadvantages include losing your right to vote in Indian elections, holding public office or government jobs, buying agricultural land and requiring prior permission for activities like journalism or filming documentaries.
This article will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of an OCI card so that you can make an informed decision. Let’s take a closer look.
When I wrote my detailed guide for OCI application in the UK, I briefly discussed the benefits of getting an OCI card. But one of the most common questions that kept coming up more than often is about the disadvantages of OCI.
In this guide, I have tried to give you a more in-depth look at both the pros and cons of having an OCI card.
In a hurry? Here’s a quick summary for you.
Pros and Cons of OCI Card: At a Glance
Keep reading as I discuss each point in detail below.
OCI Card Benefits
For foreign nationals of Indian origin, the OCI card offers parity with Non-resident Indians (NRIs) in terms of economic, financial and educational rights, except in matters related to the acquisition of agricultural land or plantation property.
1. Visa-free entry to India
OCI card is a life-long visa for the cardholder to visit India. There is no need to renew it or apply for a new one every time you travel to India. This makes travelling much easier and less stressful as you do not have to worry about visa applications and getting your passport stamped every time you enter India.
2. No restrictions on the length of stay in India
The main benefit for OCI cardholders is that it allows you to live and work in India indefinitely. You are also entitled to certain
3. Multiple entries
Another benefit of the OCI card of India is that it allows you to have multiple entries into India. This means that you can travel in and out of India as many times as you want without having to apply for a new visa each time.
4. Exemption from registration with local police
As an OCI cardholder, you are exempted from the requirement to register with the local police authorities (FRRO/FRO) in India every time you stay there for more than 180 days. It saves you from having to constantly keep track of your visa status and reporting to the police on every trip to India.
5. One time cost
Unlike the Indian visa that requires you to pay the fees at each application, the OCI card is a one-time cost. You only have to pay for it once and it is valid for your lifetime. This means that you don’t have to go through the hassle of renewing it again and again.
Disadvantages of OCI Card
1. Surrender Indian Passport
India doesn’t allow dual citizenship. As soon as you get your foreign citizenship, in order to apply for an OCI card, you must first surrender your Indian passport to the nearest Indian mission or consulate. This can be a difficult decision for you as it means giving up your Indian citizenship.
Once you have surrendered your passport, you will lose some of your rights and privileges as an Indian citizen. You will no longer be able to buy agricultural land, vote in Indian elections, hold public office or government jobs in India.
2. No right to vote
As an OCI cardholder, you are not allowed to cast a vote in any Indian election. This is because you will no longer be an Indian citizen and do not have the right to vote.
3. No right to hold public office or a government job
OCI cardholders are also not allowed to hold any public office in India. Again, you won’t be an Indian citizen anymore and therefore lose the right to hold public office. Another disadvantage of being an OCI cardholder is that you are not eligible to apply for any government jobs in India.
4. Cannot buy agricultural land in India
One of the main disadvantages of OCI card is that you are not allowed to buy any agricultural land or plantation property in India. This is because these properties are reserved for Indian citizens only.
5. Need prior approval for certain activities
As an Overseas Citizen of India, you are not allowed to undertake any activities that require special permission or license from the Indian government.
These activities include working in certain professions, such as journalism, mountaineering, filming of documentaries etc. If you want to undertake any of these activities, you will need to get prior approval from the concerned authorities in India. If you want to find additional information about these activities, head over to the Govt. of India’s OCI services portal.
Summary: OCI Card Benefits and Disadvantages
So there you have it, a complete guide to the benefits and disadvantages of an Overseas Citizen of India Card.
Overall, If you are a foreign national of Indian origin, the OCI card offers several benefits that make living and working in India easier, such as visa-free entry to India for life, no restrictions on the length of stay, multiple entries into India and exemption from registration with local police.
However, there are also some disadvantages to consider before applying for an OCI card such as having to surrender your Indian passport, not being able to purchase agricultural land or participate in government jobs.
I hope my guide has helped you weigh the pros and cons side by side and make an informed decision on whether the OCI card is right for you. Thank you for reading!
Did this post answer all your questions about the benefits and disadvantages of having an Overseas Citizen of India card? If not, please let me know in the comments below and I will be happy to help.
And if you found this post helpful, please share it with your friends and family who might be considering applying for an OCI card.