How to Get OCI Card in the UK (The Complete Guide 2018)

Everything you need to know to submit your OCI application in the UK and US. Read on for the full step-by-step procedure.


OCI Card Application - Step by Step Detailed GuideWant to apply for an OCI card in the UK?

Then you’re in the right place.

Because today I’m going to guide you through the step-by-step process of submitting your OCI application to be granted the status of Overseas Citizen of India.

Let’s do this.

If you cancelled your Indian passport (to get the surrender certificate) after obtaining British Citizenship, you require a valid Visa for your next visit to India.

You could opt to get a Visa (or an eVisa) for India whenever you need to fly to India.

(A conventional Visa has a validity of 6 months, and an eVisa provides a double-entry validity of 60 days)

If you visit now and then or even once a year, getting an OCI card is a better option both logistically and economically.

More on the benefits of having an OCI card in a bit.

I surrendered my Indian passport a few months ago and documented the detailed process on Comparism (check it here).

I also covered the step-by-step procedure for my wife’s Indian passport re-issue on Comparism. Both the guides ended up helping so many people.

I had a massive response from everyone, and that’s evident from the number of comments I have on each of those guides.

Thanks all of you for your support and wonderful comments!

I read every comment, and reply to them personally. Keep them coming! 🙂

A special mention to Nakul for sharing his learnings via detailed comments during the passport surrender process and for helping me with critical information for this comprehensive OCI guide.

You also requested to cover a detailed step-by-step guide to the OCI application process.

Well, here it is – the most anticipated guide of 2018! 😉

Submit OCI Application – Complete Guide

As I file my OCI application, here’s the entire process from start to finish covering EVERYTHING that you need to know about getting an OCI card in the UK.

I hope it helps you and eases the process of getting an OCI card successfully.

But why bother?

Pretty simple – the official guides aren’t good enough.

And there’s nothing wrong with helping someone with the knowledge gained, right?

During the process of filing 2 OCI applications (mine and Nakul’s), I spoke to VFS phone helpline on at least four different occasions to clarify a few points, and Nakul emailed VFS with queries more than thrice!

I did a single application for just myself, and Nakul prepared the OCI application pack for a family of 4.

Together, we gathered vital information which is either not covered on the VFS guide OR, is overly complicated and confusing!

In comparison, I found that the guides that Cox & Kings have on their website to assist the OCI application in the US are pretty detailed and useful!

Info: You can follow this guide for OCI application in the USA as well. The various milestones, documents required and timelines are quite similar. However, CKGS (Cox & Kings Global Services) handle OCI card applications (and other Passport and Consular services) in the US. So, you can skip the appointment booking part on this guide.

I thought of doing my bit in the form of this guide.

This OCI guide is to ease some of the pain – learnings from the bumpy (and fun) ride that Nakul and I went through.

If you found this guide useful in any way, you can do your bit by sharing this guide.

Share it on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Whatsapp (wherever your friends and family members live! ;)) and do let me know in comments below.

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer. Feel free to follow the instructions on this guide as this is the exact process I followed to submit my OCI application in the UK. However, nothing on this website should be considered legal advice.

Let’s jump right in!

To help you easily navigate through my ultimate guide to OCI application, I have created a table of contents below:

What is an OCI Card?

Here’s a quick primer on what’s an OCI card.

What does OCI stand for and why is it better than just applying for a Visa.

OCI (Overseas Citizenship of India) card is a multi-entry life-long visa for India without any limitations on the length of stay in India.

It is a smart card with the idea facilitate quicker immigration clearance and also, using consular services.

OCI Registration Certificate, OCI Card, Overseas Citizenship of India card are the different terms used to describe this.

In this detailed OCI guide, I will refer to it at most places as OCI card.

If you want to know more about what an OCI card is, and how it came into being, please head over to this Wikipedia article.

OCI card benefits

You might think if I can quickly get a Visa (or an eVisa), why should I bother getting an OCI card.

Well, holding an OCI card gives you some added advantages:

  • Multiple-entry, life-long Visa to visit India
  • No need to report to authorities for any length of stay in India
  • Parity with NRIs in financial, education and economic fields (except acquisition of plantation/agricultural properties)

With an OCI card, you cannot undertake any Missionary, mountaineering and research work in India. If you plan any of this on your trip to India, you would need prior approval from Ministry of Home Affairs in India.

Also, holding an OCI card doesn’t make you an Indian citizen, and you don’t get you voting rights in India.

Who is eligible to get an OCI card?

People who migrated from India or, are married to an Indian or, whose parents/grandparents belonged to India are eligible to be granted the status of Overseas Citizenship of India.

How to apply for OCI in the UK

The High Commission of India has outsourced the OCI application submission services to VFS Global (like Indian passport surrender and Passport re-issue).

Consequently, applying for OCI by post is not an option and you have to do it via only VFS in the UK (and CKGS in the US of A).

The good thing is: it’s an online process (somewhat!), and you can apply for OCI registration online.

(except you need to visit the VFS centre still physically – twice!)

I know, even I don’t like that part!

Here’s how the overall process looks like:

  • Fill up and print OCI Application form online
  • Submit the application form, required documents and OCI fees to the VFS centre
  • Wait for application status online to update to “Processed” (takes 6-8 weeks as advised by VFS)
  • Visit the VFS centre with the status (printout) and submit original foreign (British) passport
  • British passport will be returned in minimum 7-10 working days (as advised by VFS) with your brand new OCI card and the originals

VFS guidance on submission of your original British passport:

“Original passports are requested to be shown over the counter but will not be taken on the day for submission. Only details will be recorded to send across to the Indian High Commission.

Applicants may take their passports back for use, but once they are requested to resubmit the passports back to the centre when OCI is approved online, the stamping process takes a minimum of 7-10 working days.”

Now, let’s look at the procedure in detail.

Steps for online OCI application submission

In this post, I will help you submit the OCI application step-by-step (with screenshots) but briefly, here’s what you need to do in this part.

  1. Complete online OCI registration form Part-A.
  2. Upload scanned image and signature.
  3. Complete application form Part-B.
  4. At the end of part-B, upload supporting documents in PDF format.
  5. Download the OCI application form and print it.

Let me break this down for you (with screenshots).

#1. Start registration form Part-A (Page-I)

Go to OCI website and pick the option “New OCI Registration.”

New OCI Registration Application

On the next screen, answer the captcha security question and click “Enter.”

In the next step, select “Fresh Application.”

OCI Registration Fresh Application [OCI Step 2]

Select Place of submission as “UK” and the mission best suited to you. The available options are Birmingham, Edinburgh and London.

This form is then further divided into three sections: Applicant’s Information, Applicant’s Passport Details and Applicant’s Family Details.

Let’s start with Applicant’s Information section.

Enter the Given Name and Surname as in your current passport (UK).

If you have a middle name, both the first name and middle name need to go into the Given Name form field.

Fill in your Sex, DOB, Country and the State of Birth, Place (city) of birth, Current Nationality, Visible mark and Marital status.

Note: As you continue filling the form, you will see a Temporary Application ID generated in red text towards the top right section of the OCI form. Note this down now as if you want to continue filling the same application you can use this ID to log back into the form and continue.

OCI Registration Form - Applicant's Information

Click on Save & Continue.

In the next section, enter your Passport Details and family information.

Note: Make sure you enter your current foreign passport details here (and not the Indian passport). Years of use is the reason why entering the Indian passport number comes naturally. 😛

I made this mistake and had to pay the price – the officer at VFS didn’t accept my OCI application! That was back in Sep 2017, and I never got the time to apply again due to other priorities.

OCI Online Form - Enter family information [OCI Step 4]

Once done, click “Update & Continue” to proceed to the next part.

This will take you to Page-II of Part-A of the form.

#2. Application form Page-II of Part-A

Occupation Details and Address Details – that’s what this section is.

In Occupation details section, enter the details of your employer. If you run your own business or are self-employed, this would be your own/company address.

For present address, enter your address in the UK and for “Native Place Address,” enter your Indian address (I put my parents’ address in India).

Fill in the details and click Next.

OCI Registration Occupation Details and Address [OCI Step 5]

On the next screen, verify the information you have entered so far:

  • Applicant Information
  • Family Information
  • Passport Information
  • Occupation Details
  • Residential Address Details

Please note that once you submit the details, you won’t be able to change anything on the application. If you need to change anything, click “Modify” to change the details.

Once you are happy with the information, click “Submit” to submit the OCI form.

On the next screen, you will see a confirmation message and get an OCI File Reference Number which starts with GBRL.

Note: Save the GBRL number. That’s the OCI Registration number that you need to book your VFS appointment for OCI)

Congratulations! You have completed Part-A of the OCI form.

OCI Registration File Reference Number - Part A Successful

#2.1. Upload scanned image and signature

You need the scanned image of your photographs and signature for this step.

After uploading image and signature, you will be redirected to fill the Part B to complete the registration.

Let’s proceed.

Your image needs to be square (1:1 aspect ratio) with a min size of 200×200 px and a max size of 900×900 px.

I scanned my photograph and edited it to fit 200×200 pixel to meet the square size requirement.

For the signatures, the aspect ratio needs to be 3:1 (width: height) with minimum dimensions 200 pixels (width) x 67 pixels (height) and maximum 900 pixels (width) x 300 pixels (height).

Note: For signatures, I signed with a black pen on a plain paper and took a picture using my phone camera. Later, I used editing software to fit it to the 3:1 aspect ratio (900px by 300px).

I used Skitch on Mac for editing – it’s free! There’s a Windows version available as well or could use any other photo editing app that you know.

You can pause at this step and come back later using the Temporary Application ID that I got you to note above.

Let me know in the comments if you face any issues at this step.

Once you’re ready, click on “I am ready with Image.”

Upload Photo for OCI Registration Form [OCI Step 6]

On the next screen, upload the applicant’s image and signature.

Upload Applicant Image Signature - OCI Registration [OCI Step 7]

As you upload the images, the website will confirm if the uploaded images meet the guidelines.

“Applicant signature which you have selected is as per instructions. If you want to change then click crop button and drag the white selected area or else can directly upload the original image.”

Once you see this message, you are good to proceed to the next step and click “Upload” button.“

You will now see your uploaded image and your signature below the image.

If you notice any issues, click on “I want to upload again” to go one step back and upload again. Edit again if you need to.

Once you are happy with how your image and signature look, click on “I have uploaded successfully.”

OCI Card UK Registration - Image and Signature Upload Success

You will see the confirmation on next screen, and you can now click “Proceed to Part-B” to continue with the next part of the OCI form.

OCI Registration Proceed to Part B [OCI Step 8]

#3. OCI Registration Part-B

Part-B of the form is mainly about your Citizenship Details.

It’s divided into three sections: Citizenship Details, Present Nationality Details and Other Details.

In the first section, answer all the questions about your Citizenship in the questionnaire.

OCI Card Registration Part B Citizenship Details [OCI Step 9]

Proceed to the next step.

It’s about your existing nationality details – you need to provide details about how you acquired British Citizenship (Naturalisation/Registration etc.).

Provide the date of naturalisation as British Citizen.

In “Other Details” section, select the previous nationality of the applicant.

If you have any relatives staying in India, answer “Yes” and enter their details.

Click “Submit”

OCI Card Registration Part B Applicant Nationality Details [OCI Step 10]

Next, you will get a confirmation screen.


You are almost done!

If you have made it this far, you have completed Part-A (including online documents upload) and Part-B of the OCI application form.

OCI Card Registration Upload Documents - Part-B Successful [OCI Step 11]

Finally, the next step is to upload supporting documents.

Click on “Upload Documents” button.

Note: For this part, you only need to upload the scanned copies of your documents.

The signed application form (and other documents) still need to be submitted at VFS centre in-person.

In a bit, I will also go through the OCI documents checklist for UK you need to submit at the VFS centre.

Let’s take a look:

OCI Documents required to upload online

Here’s the list of documents needed to upload online for a fresh OCI application.

  • Current Passport – Current British passport and Naturalisation Certificate for British Citizenship
  • Proof of Indian origin – Copy of cancelled Indian passport and surrender certificate

Note: The file size for supporting documents needs to be less than 1MB. If you scanned your documents in high resolution you could compress the files using a pdf compressor tool online.

If you’re worried about privacy and would rather keep your sensitive personal information offline, I recommend using the native tools on your PC/Mac.

For Mac, you don’t need to install any new apps because the inbuilt app “Preview” works pretty well. For a PC, you might need to download a pdf editor (print-to-pdf is a feature in Windows 10 so could save you some hassle).

Let me know if you face any issues in getting your OCI document files to the right size.

Additional docs (depending on your case)

  • Indian Visa (if applicable): If you hold an Indian visa (with 3+ months validity), upload a copy
  • Spouse OCI card and Marriage Certificate: if “Spouse” is the basis of your application
  • Relationship Certificate: Birth certificates of your parents/grandparents depending on the basis of your application
  • PIO Card: If you are a PIO card holder and applying to get an OCI card in lieu of PIO, then upload a copy of your PIO card photo page and last bio-page

VFS UK has mentioned on their OCI Guidelines “applicants may not be able to load all the supporting documents, as there are limited options asking for specific documents. Hence only upload the documents mentioned in the drop-down menu on the website.”

So this is what I did – I uploaded cancelled Indian passport and Surrender certificate scans together.

If you want to, you can combine the docs and upload the single pdf file.

OCI Card Registration Upload Documents Online - Final Submit [OCI Step 12]

Click “Final Submit” to submit your OCI application!

The button will change to Generate Application Form.

OCI Card Registration UK - Generate Registration Form [OCI Step 13]

Click on Generate Application Form button to download the OCI application form straight to your computer.

Print it.

Now that you have the got the OCI Application form, next step is to book an appointment for OCI service at VFS UK (or CKGS in the US).

That’s when you can submit the OCI application form along with supporting documents (originals and self-attested photocopies) in-person to the selected centre and pay the fees for processing your OCI application.

Let me quickly show you how to book the appointment right now.

OCI Appointment Booking

You need to schedule an appointment to submit your OCI application at the VFS centre of your jurisdiction.

To book a prior appointment, follow the below steps:

Step #1. Go to this link to access the Online Appointment System for VFS and click on schedule appointment.

Schedule appointment for OCI application UK - Step 1

Step #2: Next step is to pick your preferred VFS centre as per your jurisdiction.

Here are your options:

  • London-Goswell
  • London-Hounslow
  • Belfast
  • Birmingham
  • Bradford
  • Cardiff
  • Edinburgh
  • Glasgow
  • Leicester
  • Liverpool
  • Manchester


Select VFS Centre for OCI Application - Step 2

Select your preferred VFS Appointment Centre and Services as “OCI” and click on Submit.

I booked my OCI appointment at VFS Hounslow which is one of the two options for London jurisdiction (the other one is Goswell).

Pick yours as per your jurisdiction.

Step #3. Enter applicant details and pick an appointment

  • Passport Number
  • Applicant First and Last name
  • OCI Registration Number
    • Date of Birth
    • Telephone Number
    • Email ID

Book OCI Appointment - Enter Applicant Details

Click Submit. On the next screen, pick a date and time slot.

As you pick the time slot, you’ll get a booking confirmation of your OCI appointment.

Print it as you will need it on the day of the appointment. You’ll also get an email confirmation along with the appointment letter.

OCI Card Appointment Booking Confirmation Letter - London Hounslow

What happens on the appointment day?

Because you already attended VFS to submit your Indian passport cancellation application, you already know the drill!

Therefore, I won’t go through this section in detail.

Here’s a quick recap:

  • Report at the VFS centre at your designated appointment time (a few minutes earlier is OK!)
  • Security personnel will make preliminary checks and issue you a token number.
  • Wait for your number – you might have to wait (hopefully not too long!) if the centre is running behind schedule on the day.
  • Once called, submit your application and supporting docs at the counter and pay the OCI application fee.

A few pointers:

Don’t bother sticking your photo on the form yet – the security personnel could provide you with this cool (nothing fancy – don’t get your hopes high!) double-sided tape. You can use this to fix photos (one in the main box) and another just right below the main picture (there’s g space in the family details section right side area on the printed form).

When you check-in, the security guy will ask you to fill a separate “undertaking” form to enter your name, passport number and sign it.

OCI Documents required at the VFS centre in-person

  • Application form (that you printed above!)
  • Signed Declaration Form – same as you did for Surrender Certificate application [Download here]
  • 2 photographs 50mmx50mm
  • British Passport copy (valid for at least six months) – you need to carry the original passport as well for verification.
  • Naturalisation certificate (or relevant document for any other method (like Registration) used to obtain British Citizenship)
  • Employee Letter
    • If unemployed, you can provide proof of last employment along with bank statements for the current account.
    • If you own a business in the UK, you can provide proof of Tax Returns submitted to HMRC along with Company incorporation documents. A letter from your accountant would suffice as well.
  • Proof of Indian Origin
    • If you were born in India, held an Indian passport and obtained foreign nationality after May 2010: Indian Passport Surrender Certificate or, Renunciation of Indian Citizenship Certificate (if you cannot produce the surrender certificate for any reason
  • Two self-addressed Royal Mail special delivery envelopes (Silver A4 sized) per application.

Additional documents depending on your case:

Case #1. If you held an Indian passport and acquired foreign nationality before May 2010 OR if you were born in India but never held an Indian passport  OR cannot produce the Indian Passport Surrender certificate for any reason (lost/misplaced etc.):

  • A notarized affidavit from the UK stating the facts about your passport, how you travelled to the UK and any one of the below documents in original. VFS/HCI call them “Other necessary documents of Indian origin.”
    • Domicile certificate
    • Original Birth Certificate issued by Indian Municipality or Panchayat
    • School Leaving Certificate – if you are getting a school leaving certificate later than at the time of leaving school, it would need to be authenticated District Magistrate/Collector of the area with name, stamp, seal and contact information for verification.
    • Agriculture land

If you can provide the Surrender certificate and copy of cancelled Indian passport, then you don’t need to give the “Other necessary documents of Indian origin.”

Case #2.  If you are applying for OCI on the basis of Indian origin of your Parents/Grandparents or Spouse, proof of Indian origin for who you are basing the application on, in addition to the below:

  • Your full version birth certificate with both parent’s details on it
  • Marriage certificate registered for not less than two years (if applying on the basis of Spouse’s Indian origin)
  • Parent’s full version birth certificate (if applying for OCI on the basis of Grandparents)

Case #3. If you are applying OCI for minors, you need the below documents

  • Marriage certificate for parents
  • Full version birth certificate for your child
  • Parents’ passport copies along
  • UK Visa copies (if parents hold Indian passport)

Case #4. PIO to OCI conversion application

  • PIO (Person of Indian Origin card)


  • Take single-sided print-outs
  • You need to accompany all the originals I have listed above with a set of photocopies. All photocopies need to be self-attested.
  • Carry the documents in two separate bundles – one for Originals and the other for self-attested photocopies of those originals.
  • Make sure you carry TWO special delivery envelopes PER application. Or, you end up paying for the more expensive courier service by VFS.

OCI Card fees in the UK

The total cost to get an OCI card in the UK is £201.44.

The amount includes OCI application fees of £194.

VFS charges another £7.44 as Service Fee.

You can pay the OCI fees using Cash, Debit Card or via Postal Order or Bank Draft payable to “VF Services UK Ltd.”

Note: VFS no longer accept Credit Cards for any services. So make sure to carry one of the accepted payment methods.

How long is the OCI card processing time in the UK

From submission to VFS to getting your brand new OCI card in hand, the OCI process takes about 6-8 weeks.

However, how long it takes to get an OCI card may vary depending case by case.

If you are planning on visiting India anytime soon, you need to count this in.

If you cannot apply for OCI right now or won’t receive it in time, you can always apply for an Indian Visa or even more convenient Indian eVisa.

When I planned to apply for OCI, I had to travel to India twice and did so using eVisa (I got it in less than 24 hours – detailed guide coming soon!)

OCI Application status

You can track the current status of your OCI card application here using the OCI Registration Number (GBRLXXXXXXXX).

Collection of OCI Card and Supporting documents

Because the OCI application is no longer submitted directly to the Indian mission, VFS takes care of the collection and delivery of OCI cards in the UK.

Once the Indian mission approves your OCI card, VFS will organise delivery of the OCI card and your original supporting documents.

Frequently Asked Questions for OCI

Do you need to get a new OCI card when your passport is renewed/re-issued?
Yes. It is mandatory to get the OCI card re-issued every time you renew your passport up to the age of 20 years and after 50 years because of frequent changes to facial feature in this age group.
Can you submit OCI application on behalf of your family member(s)?
Yes. Only immediate family members may submit applications on behalf of other family members. You must provide proof of relationship (original passport/identity paper/document).
Do you need to submit your original passport for OCI application?
No and yes. When you submit your application to VFS, the original passport is needed simply for verification, and you get the original back. Once the status of your OCI application shows “processed” online, you need to revisit the application centre with the print out of the online status and submit your original British (foreign) passport. You will receive it back in 7-10 working days.
Do you need to book an appointment again to submit original British Passport and Status proof?
No. After submitting the documents at the VFS centre, when the online status shows that HCI has received the OCI application, you do not need to schedule an appointment again. You can submit the documents on any working day between 8:30 am – 11 am.

Signing out

I hope this detailed guide helps you in applying for OCI card in the UK after surrendering your Indian passport.

I followed the exact process to submit my OCI application, and it is currently in progress (my application submission is next week and Nakul’s was last week).

And, I will make updates to the timelines and FAQs section in the coming days/weeks.

When I started to prepare my OCI file, I had a few doubts after reading the official VFS guide and ended up going through various forums to clarify them.

I have done my bit by giving you this detailed guide to the whole OCI process.

Now it’s your turn!

I’d like to hear from you:

What’s your #1 takeaway from this guide?

Or maybe you have a question.

Either way, drop me a quick comment below.

I will personally reply to comments and questions that come in.

If you found it helpful, please don’t forget to share it with your friends, colleagues and family members.

You can sign up for my free newsletter and never miss an update from Comparism – you will get an email the next time I publish a post. Also, I send out updates about best offers on India money transfers.

the authorAman
Aman is the founder and chief curator of Comparism. He loves to write how-to guides and via comparism, he envisions to bring to you the best ways of sending money to India without paying hefty fees in hidden charges and poor conversion rates.


  • Hi, appreciate your guide. Writing from the US but as you noted, most steps are similar. I have only one advice — READ ALL INSTRUCTIONS MANY TIMES EVEN IF FOR THE SAME THING BUT PRESENT IN TWO SECTIONS OF CKGS/VFS WEBSITE OR ON GOVT OF INDIA AND CKGS/VFS SITE. I had to edit my application several times, upload the supporting document several times, and even seek a refund for my application once because I entered the first name as just that and not include the middle name in the “first” name because I thought you include both only when being asked for “given” name.

    Also, I was simply asking for a new OCI card because of re-issue of passport for someone under 20 years. This is an onerous and as detailed and in some ways more demanding procedure than even a new OCI card (primarily because of extra CKGS/VFS fee and notarization needs that weren’t required for the original OCI application, albeit over 10 years ago). I have read that the officials at the Indian airports don’t particularly care about this rule (reissue of OCI every time a passport is issued for under 20 years old or once after 50 years old) but I want to be safe because they can technically invoke this rule anytime they wish. Frankly, this new OCI card due to the reissue of passport needs to be made easier than it is. As I said, in some ways, it is more complicated than a new one is and serves little purpose than satisfying some egos and a conduit for CKGS/VFS to make money when it shouldn’t be a need in the first place.

    Finally, I noticed a HUGE difference, and there are a lot of confusion/changing rules on the submission/requirement of original foreign passport with a new/renewal of OCI booklet. Because the U-Visa sticker is no longer being affixed in the passport, and only the booklet is sufficient for travel, there is NO NEED TO BE ASKED FOR FOREIGN PASSPORT SUBMISSION. At best, they MAY ask to see it for verification, and you need to submit a notarized copy in the USA anyway. I was not asked nor did I submit the original US passport at any stage during this process.

    A shout out to the MEA site — very user-friendly except jpg and pdf formats and pixel sizes of documents (by the way the tool allows you to crop the photo to trim it to the required size). Great retrieval and update status, and very efficient. CKGS has a bad rep here (mostly deserved) but in my case, everything worked like a charm despite my reservations. But, it was because I literally reworked my application 8-10 times to get everything right. The CKGS site, even though intending to be excruciatingly accurate, is confusing and sometimes plain old incorrect/out of date.

    Some key pointers:
    1. do not print double sided
    2. photo on the passport cannot match the OCI photo (at least for OCI renewal due to passport reissue)
    3. always enter the first name as given name (i.e. first and middle name, if such is the case)
    4. have you upload documents ready before filling the GOI website.
    5. check everything at least 10 times.
    6. make sure information common to different forms matches EXACTLY.
    7. use CKGS/VFS courier service, especially if travel time and parking/travel costs are high.
    8. no use fighting the archaic and seemingly unnecessary steps (for instance asking for Indian origin proof when you are simply renewing an OCI status due to the reissue of a foreign passport).
    9. pray like you have never prayed before.
    10. expect rejection of the application and possible fees. If you are successful the first time, count your blessings.

    There, you have it. A final note — if you carry every possible original document, applying in person may be helpful as you can likely supply any missing information/document assuming the person checks it thoroughly rather than just accept your application)

    • Hello Mez Baan,

      Thanks a lot for your detailed comment with your personal experience with applying OCI in the US (I loved your point #9 :D).

      Regarding the Middle name, you need to make sure it matches how you have it on your foreign passport. I had mentioned it in the post, I have now clarified to include the middle name too.

      I completely understand your frustration about re-issue of OCI card on renewal/re-issue of the passport but that’s how the current rule is, and that is indeed the requirement. I have no experience of how airport officials treat this.

      The requirement of submitting original foreign passport here in the UK is how I have penned it here. This is how VFS process is and thanks for clarifying the difference of submission in the US. Again, I will update the post if the process in the UK is any different than what VFS told me over the phone.

      What is the MEA site that you referred to in your comment?

      Thanks for your review of the CKGS site – when I compared it to the instructions on VFS site, I found the CKGS guides to be better. But you might be right that they aren’t that good on their own, all I did in this post was a comparison, and for the incorrect bits on CKGS site, you can anytime use my guide – share it, please 😉

      On your point to use CKGS/VFS courier service, here in the UK Royal Mail is pretty good and less than half the cost, so I recommend Royal Mail over courier service provided by VFS. Do you have a similar provision to submit pre-paid envelopes and save on CKGS courier?

      Again, thanks for your detailed update on your experience with the OCI process – really appreciate it.


  • Thank you, Aman, for a brilliant job.

    Tip for Window users to resize their photos and save as JPEG format and also to shrink or reduce PDF size. No need for third-party software/app – your sensitive data is not secure with third parties.

    Resizing JPEG photo for Windows users:- Right Click the photo and choose Edit (it will open the photo in MS Paint) and then click Select and further Click Select All. Click Resize and then Pixel (by default its Percentage), Uncheck the Maintain Aspect Ratio and enter 602 width and 602 length (you can do 200×200). 602×602 gives a good result – if 602 doesn’t work for you do 884×884 (less than 900). Click OK and then drag the ratios and make sure not to leave white space around the photo. Click File and chose Save As and chose JPEG. Give the file a name and save it in a desired folder or Desktop.

    Resizing/Reducing/optimizing PDF with PDF reader:- You don’t need PDF Pro or CS5 etc software. Simply scan your docs and save as PDF. Disconnect your printer (Though you may not need to). Open the PDF and Click Print (or Ctrl +P) and from the Print pop-up window – chose Print to PDF (or Microsoft Print to PDF) from the drop-down menu on the top. Uncheck the Print to Greyscale (if you have selected this previously to avoid printing colour pages and to save ink) and Click Print at the bottom left end (as you normally print your docs). A new window will pop-up and prompt you to save the PDF – save the PDF with a new file name as you wish in a folder or desktop. Bingo, a new reduced size PDF is saved on your machine. It will reduce massively, for example, from 1.80MB to 110KB.

    Another tip for photos: – Go to any photo booth that offers Indian or US visa photos (normally around £8 and you need to attach it with form) for 4 or 5 photos. Take a picture from those printed photos on your phone camera and save it on Desktop and then follow as above. Or you can download (I know but hey its Microsoft) Office Lens and scan your photo using Office Lens and transfer to Desktop and follow as above.

  • Hi

    Those applying OCI for babies or toddlers under 5 years age – need ‘left hand thumb impression’ preferably with Black ink. Tip – take a Gel pen and lightly scrub it over the thumb and gently place the impression on a white paper and follow my previous comment to save it as a JPEG.

  • Great Guide Aman Ji. One of the best detailed explanation to be found anywhere on the web. Some points I can add

    1) Applicants are advised to prepare scanned copies of Photo, Signature, PDF of their documents well in advance before even starting the application. Many times people start the application and then get lost in scanning. One can always re-upload if there are some anomalies.

    2) In small VFS center like non-London city, there are no security personnel who can help with document check or copies. So better to go well prepared.

    3) People of small child should note the process of thumb impression and the place where parents can sign.

    Many people are exploring the option of applying OCI in India thru FRRO offices. That will be a great topic of new post.

  • Excellent OCI guide here!!!

    Many Thanks to Aman for taking such efforts to put everything together nicely and in order for anyone who’s ready to apply for OCI.

    I did follow Aman’s draft OCI guide (when it was not even live here) and also shared my experiences in the process, thanks Aman for mentioning my name few times 😉 But I was simply glad to provide any pointers.

    Finally, I did apply for OCI for family of 4 on 30th May 2018 and got my OCI at home on 30th June 2018, that’s total 28 days which I felt was simply awesome.
    Thanks Aman again and keep up the good work!

    • Cheers man!

      Thanks for your comment and your valuable inputs during your OCI process.

      Congrats on getting your OCI and British passport back well in time for your trip to India!

      See you around and have a great vacation back home 😉

  • Hi Aman
    Having been given the go ahead from my parents who have sorted out their OCI cards being south African citizens, I am now considering getting mines done. I have moved to the UK about 10 years so and so have a British passport, unlike my parents who have south African passports. Hopefully the application prices will go smoothly, and with your detailed guide is exactly the helping hand I need. Will keep you updated, many thanks and best regards

  • Hi Aman,

    Such a awesome document, amazing. Really appreciated what you have done, I have quick question, for Proof of Indian origin I have surrender certificate, apart from that do I need to submit my birth certificate ? please clarify.

  • Was just wondering, I went to Birmingham vfs to lodge oci and was told that it is minimum of 6 months processing time to apply via Indian spouse. Is this correct because you mention it takes 6 to 8 weeks.

    • Hi Amolak,

      That’s the timeline as confirmed on VFS website in any kind of OCI application. Mine was a single application based on my Indian residence in the past and I don’t have a case study for any of my knowns. Let’s wait for one of the readers to write about their experience with spouse OCI 😉


  • Wow.. such a detailed steps. Indian government should pay you for taking the efforts. Thanks a lot

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