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How to Get OCI Card in the UK (The Complete Guide 2019)

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

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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

The OCI application fees is a one-time cost for this multiple-entry life-long visa.

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! 😉

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

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 of 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 the 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!

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 to 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
  • One-time cost
  • 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 the 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.

OCI eligibility – Who can apply for an OCI card?

Let’s see if you are eligible for an OCI card.

If you migrated from India or, are married to an Indian or, your parents/grandparents belonged to India, you are eligible to be granted the status of Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI).

Minor children with foreign nationality are eligible for an OCI card if they meet any of the following criteria:

Both the parents or one of the parents are either citizens of India or, are  OCI card holders.


How to apply for OCI card 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 OCI card process looks like:

  • Fill up and print OCI Application form online
  • Submit the application form, required documents and OCI application 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 the 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 the 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 the 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 the 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 a British Citizen.

In the “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.

Congrats!

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
  • Existing OCI card: If you already have an OCI card and are applying for renewal after getting a new passport, upload a copy of your OCI card to Indian Visa “Document Type”.

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 the 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.

Note: Please make sure you select the VFS centre as per your jurisdiction only. If you book an appointment at any VFS centre outside your jurisdiction to get an early appointment, you will be asked to book the appointment again at the VFS centre of 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 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 fees.

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.
  • Marriage certificate if you’re married
  • 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 notarised 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, you need the 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 additional documents

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

Case #4. PIO to OCI conversion application

  • PIO (Person of Indian Origin card)

Tips:

  • 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. For OCI application of minor children, the documents need to be self-attested by both parents.
  • 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 and another £7.44 for VFS 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: At the time of this write-up, 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 card 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 card 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.

Aman
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.

172 Comments

  • Hi Aman,

    Thank you so much for writing this, it’s much more user friendly than the VFS website!

    I did my application today and have two updates to add:

    1. The maximum file size for the images is 200kb not 500.
    2. If you have a middle name and put it in Given Names, in the final form it prints out with everything in First Name and nothing in Middle Name. Hopefully this won’t be a problem when I go for my appointment…I will report back if I find otherwise.

    Best regards,
    Amy

  • Hello,

    Thank you for a comprehensive guide. I’m using your guide to apply for my father’s OCI.
    I have a query, hoping you could resolve.
    My dad has recently surrendered his Indian passport (he has Portuguese passport). Can he use this as a basis of his OCI? Does he need to provide birth certificate also?
    And is marriage certificate mandatory?

    Many thanks for your help
    Vinanti

    • Hi Vinanti,

      In my understanding yes, he can apply based on own Indian origin. You could look at the documents list where I mention the ones required for Proof of Indian origin along with Case #1.

      Marriage certificate – yes, it’s mandatory for married applicants.

      Hope this helps.

      Thanks
      Aman

  • Hi Aman,
    Thanks a lot for your detailed post, it’s really helpful.
    Few tips on the application form itself – The image (photo and signature) that you upload online is the image that gets printed on the OCI. The OCI website accepts almost any photo within size limits but people behind counter get very finicky about the photo background (should be white not light-grey as they do some Timpsons) and no shadow, light flash etc to appear on the scanned image or the signature if it is very small. They have absolutely no facility to re-scan or re-print your documents at vfs, so be ready to make alternative arrangements if need arises (figure out a public library close to the venue). And some people just got into arguments with people behind counter over process/documents/photo etc, just please DON’T. They’re rubbish but doing what little they’ve been told, it just wastes other peoples time, brings no good and he/she can refuse to serve you.

    cheers
    Kartik

  • Hello im Romanian married with Indian soon will be 4 years. I want to apply for oci card i was always travelling to india with e Visa
    My question is do i need to provide his birth certificate? Or just the marriage certificate is enough
    Thank you

    • Hi there,

      In your case, you’d need to prove your husband’s Indian origin which you can do with OCI card and marriage certificate.

      Thanks
      Aman

  • Hello Aman,

    You are the BEST guide I ever read…
    Keep it up man helping people in this website… In return God will blessed you more bro.
    Thankyou so much for this article you did…thank you for the efforts…Godbless you more …
    I hope 1 day I can message you if I get in trouble in applying. Thankyou

  • Namaste Aman! Great jon and well done! Navigating through this maze is tough especially with the inadequate instructions given by VFS. I have a question: i travel a lot and need my UK passport. From what i understand from this process: i fill in online form. That takes 6 weeks to process, AND THEN i give them my UK passport which they take for 10 days? So i have that 6 weeks with my UK passport still in my posession? Thanks for the clarity.

    • Hi Padma, thanks for your comment 🙂

      That is correct – the period before you give your UK passport is between 4-6 weeks and then about a week to 10 days when you will not have it with yourself.

      Cheers

  • Hi Aman
    Thanks for your detailed guide . It has helped me a lot .
    I would appreciate if you let me know that what type, size and how many self addressed envelops do I have to take to VFS centre ?
    Do I get them from the post office with the stamps and how would I know the weight of the packages and hence the value of stamps to attach ?
    Also could you please give me the contact number for VFS centre .
    Many thanks

    • Hi Indira,

      You’d need the A4 size special delivery envelope (silver one) – the £7.30 one would be enough to cover for your documents to be returned. The VFS website suggests 2 envelopes per application which is what I took with me when I did mine but some of the readers have comments the VFS now ask for only one.

      VFSs contact number is +44 203 788 4666 (if you do call them, please do me a favour and update here) 🙂

  • Thanks for detailed article. I think, I’ll surrender Indian Passport and apply eVisa and apply OCI next year in free time. I don’t understand why are they calling twice in person to office, simply waste of time and money.

  • Hi Aman,

    Again, many thanks for this very useful and easy to follow guide.
    I have surrendered my Indian passport, exactly followed what you said, received the cancelled passport and surrender certificate.
    Now in the process of applying for OCI.

    1.My children are born outside India before 2008. They have the birth certificate issued by that country with stamp of respective Ministry. Do I need to authenticate the birth certificate from the Indian Embassy of that country for OCI submission?

  • Hi Aman,

    Thank you for your detailed guide – I found it highly useful. I’d recently applied for a conversion of PIO card to OCI for both myself and wife. I’d like to mention a couple of things. For whatever reason, Employment letters were not asked to be seen. And in the case of married couples, a Marriage Certificate is apparently a must ( as pointed out by one of your readers).

    One weird thing I experienced is that when I went back to the Goswell Road centre to submit the original passports and old PIO cards (along with the OCI Status Report and the pre-paid Royal Mail envelopes), the chaps at reception checked these documents, put a rubber band over each set, put them away behind the counter and told me “That’s it.” I got no formal acknowledgement, no nothing! Took me by surprise as I thought there would be some kind of an acknowledgement (after all, when I submitted my application personally on the earlier visit, I was asked to sign a declaration that no originals had been handed over to VFS). This has left me a little worried. Has any one else experienced something similar?

  • Hi
    Just wanted to let you know a few things after my submission yesterday:
    1. The VFS at Hounslow asked me to submit my marriage certificate although my application is not based on my marriage to an Indian citizen, I am an ex Indian citizen sobi don’t understand why they forced me to submit my marriage certificate.

    2. They no longer require two self addressed enveloped, one is sufficient and it has to be tamper proof and not a paper envelope. When asked why their website asks for 2 self addressed enveloped they say they don’t know and that their IT team has not changed it yet.

    Overall I was quite frustrated with the service they provide.

  • Hi Aman
    Thanks for the detailed guide.
    i would like to know what is the Signed Declaration Form ?
    I am having a tough time finding it
    Can you please help me out

    Thanks

    • Hi Elvis,

      Please use the link under the OCI Documents list now – the VFS made a change to the link and it stopped working. I have now corrected it and you should be able to download the form.

      Thanks

  • Hi Aman Paaji,

    I am applying for an OCI card for my 6 month old daughter. I am a British citizen and my wife is an Indian citizen. Therefore, the method of acquisition is ‘By Birth’ as my daughter is born in the UK.
    I have few questions if you can clarify please.
    1) I’ve uploaded only British passport of my 6 month old daughter during online application submission. Is that ok or should I have had submitted any other docs.
    2) As my daughter is minor, will I need to place thumb impression of her. It says parents should not sign in behalf of the children.
    3) Should my daughter be physically present at the time of submitting the online application form along with the relevant documents.
    4) Where does the photograph go on the form. Will it go on the already present image. I could not find the photograph size guidance. Please can you help.

    Many Thanks in anticipation,

    Kind Regards,

    Mohammed.

    • Hi Mohammed,

      Here’s my take:

      1. Please upload the full birth certificate with both parents’ names on it and your marriage certificate. You can refer to Case #3 for more details.
      2. That’s correct – children below 5 years need to provide the thumb impression.
      3. No, you or your wife can submit the application.
      4. I suggest don’t paste it yet and just take them along to VFS. The size details are on the post already (2in. x 2in.).

      I hope this info helps.

      Aman

    • Hi Mohammed,

      I had clarified on one of the comments before – by 2 sets they mean one set of originals and the other set of photocopies.

      Please also refer to the “Tips” section where I talk about this in the post.

      Thanks
      Aman

  • Hi Aman,

    Thank you for this excellent, thorough and much-needed piece. I have what I hope is a quick question: do the copies of all your documents need to be self-attested?

    I ask because when my husband applied for his OCI in India, everything needed to be signed, attested and dated before it could be scanned and attached to part B. However, I am applying in the UK and can’t see any requirement to self-attest.

    Also, when you were booking your appointment: how far out could you book? E.g. If I submit my application now, in March, could I book for May? Or do they only open up a few weeks at a time?

    Thank you so much and warmest wishes,
    Liz

    • Hi Liz,

      Thanks a lot for your comment and I am glad you found this useful 🙂

      Yes, all the originals need to be supported with a self-attested photocopy.

      Regarding the appointment availability, I took the earliest available appointment so didn’t try this.

      But I checked this now for you just now and I could see the whole of April available until the 30th and shows May as well on the calendar but the appointments for May don’t show up and instead it showed an error to give a call.

      I am not too sure if this is an error or 6 weeks is the period! I will try again in a few days and let you know 😉

      Regards
      Aman

  • Thanks for the wonderful guide Aman. I followed your instructions to surrender my passport today!

    Just a note re OCI- I was informed by the kind lady at the counter that when I apply for OCI “Marriage certificate ” is now a mandatory document for all married applicants even if “spouse” is not the basis of your application. I cross checked this in VfS website and it seem to be the case. So carry marriage certificate and a copy along I would suggest even if you are applying solo

    • Thanks so much Jay for the update.

      Yes, I have checked the VFS website and I could notice they have now moved the “marriage certificate” to the mandatory documents list.

      It would be easy to know of such updates if VFS had a log of changes they make to their pages but anyways, thanks to you I have now updated the post 😉

      Cheers!

  • Aman,

    Just want to thank you for time and effort on creating this page. It has informative and helpful. Thank you

  • Dear Aman,

    First of all my sincere thanks for your post making the complicated application process simple for first time applicants of OCI. I wish the official site had the insight to simply matters like you did for the common man.

    I have four queries which I hope you can help me with or if needed create another informative post.

    1. I and my family already have an OCI card. My sons have crossed 20 and both myself and my wife have crossed 50. We now have new British Passports and want to apply for OCI Miscellaneous Services to renew our existing OCI. As usual, I found the information for this and navigating the OCI website problematic. Would you be able to advise or guide us with this, similar to what you have done for first time applicants?

    2. Approximately how much does it cost for each renewal of OCI application? Does VFS charge an extra in addition or is this included in the fees.

    3. You mentioned the two Self Addressed Special Delivery A4 envelopes for each applicant. I presume this is possibly true for the renewal as well. Roughly, what amount of stamps do you have to put on each? Do they both have to be given at the time of depositing the application or when you have to go again to deposit your original passport for stamping of the OCI sticker?

    4. Just to clarify, I presume one of our family members can present all the documentation on behalf of the family at VFS. Do they need to have an authorisation letter from the others as well?

    Thanking you in anticipation for your response.

    Best wishes,

    Syed.

    • Hello Syed,

      Thank you so much for your comment – means a lot to me! 🙂

      Let’s have a look at your queries one by one.

      1. As your sons have crossed 20, they no longer need to apply for a renewed OCI card. As per the rules, the re-issuance of OCI certificate is not mandatory each time a new passport is issued between 21-50 years of age. They can still opt to get an updated OCI card if they want to. I haven’t done a separate guide on OCI card re-issuance and have been trying to help on this post only. I can do a separate one if that’s what readers want but will try to help you here first 😉
      2. The fees for OCI card re-issue on getting a new passport is £21.00 – VFS charge a separate fee of £7.44 per application.
      3. I will need to check this requirement as I couldn’t find this info yet; I will call the VFS helpline to find this out for you.
      4. Yes – any one family member can submit the application and no authority letter is required for submission.

      Apart from this, please note in case of re-issuance of OCI on getting a new passport, you need to briefly follow these steps:

      • fill the miscellaneous application form online
      • upload copy of existing OCI certificate (all pages) and the new passport
      • upload copy of the old passport, if you still have it
      • Once done, you will need to take the originals of these docs along with 2 photos, marriage certificate (for married applicants) and the print-out of the online status of your application.
      • the requirement for proof of employment is the same as a fresh OCI application

      I hope you find this helpful.

      Thanks
      Aman

      • Dear Aman,
        Thanks for your message. I appreciate your wonderful service.
        I went to the VFS Office at Hounslow on Wednesday (20th March).
        I thought I should update you and your readers with the latest requirements.
        1. Though mine was a Miscellaneous OCI Services application and when I got the online documents printed 3 weeks ago, there was no mention of submitting a marriage certificate for married applicants, I was asked for copies of my marriage certificate for myself and my wife. I was prepared with all eventuality and even took my Surrender Certificate, Citizenship Certificate and Marriage certificate with copies, anticipating the wasteful nature of MEA. I asked the nice lady at the counter if this was something new and she replied that the new requirement was 2 weeks old!! THEREFORE MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE (for married individuals) IS A MUST FOR ALL TYPES OF OCI APPLICANTS – NEW & MUSCELLANEOUS.
        2. Only one set of Self Addressed Envelopes is required per application. I took two sets for each!!! The lady on questioning told me that this has been the case for sometime but unfortunately the website is not updated. The SAE was scanned and a sticker was stuck on it and returned back to me to bring back again with the original UK passport, Old UK passport and OCI card. THEREFORE ONLY ONE SAE ENVELOPE IS REQUIRED (and not Two) as in the past.
        I hope that this helps.
        Thanks again.
        Regards.
        Syed.

        • Hi Syed,

          Thanks for sharing your experience here 🙂

          1. Yes, the change to marriage certificate was quite recent and I updated the guide last week to include Marriage certifiacte on the mandatory list of documents.
          2. I know of this issue on the VFS guide and I talk about this issue in the “Tips” section on the article. By 2 sets of documents, the VFS mean one set of originals and the other set of photocopies – but clearly, they don’t convey it well on their guide.

            Thanks for letting me know on the SAE requirement as well – I have noticed this pattern on some of the recent comments here. I will keep a check in the coming days and will update the guide 😉

          Cheers!

  • Hi Aman, Thanks for your wonderful guide without which many would find difficult to understand OCI UK process, as it’s scattered across all over the place. Today I had an appointment at Goswell VFS office and I found a few things different to what is mentioned here

    1) As mentioned in your guide I have taken two Self-addressed envelopes, but VFS officer confirmed only one is required for OCI process. ( As a precaution, I checked the same person twice and also another VFS officer both said the same, only one envelope is required)

    2) And they did not take even the single envelope from me this time instead, a bar code sticker attached to the envelope and instructed me to bring them same envelope when called again. I am too confused now,
    not sure the process changed now or its scrappy VFS office. Please, can you help me, if you any have info on the same. Thankyou

    • Hi Raj, thanks for your update 🙂

      I have now got this feedback from at least 5 readers – I will give VFS a call and clarify this as I had required two at the time I did mine and the great VFS online guide still says 2. I will find this out and update on the post.

      Thanks
      Aman

  • Hi,
    My wife will be applying for an OCI as her grandfather’s nationality was Indian – on her mother’s side. For uploading purposes do you know which documents would be required?

  • Thanks a bunch from the UK! The Indian OCI website is soooooooooooooooo frustrating that I had to resort to finding online help and found your page.
    Best regards
    S Ray

  • Hi Aman

    Thanks for your detailed guide. It has helped me alot. I have my VFS appointment in 2 weeks.

    I am applying OCI for myself and my children. Do i need a Declaration form for my minor children too?

    Please help..

    Thanks in Advance.

      • Hi Aman,

        Thank you so much for your detailed OCI guide, it helped me a lot. I submitted the OCI applications for myself, my husband, my adult daughter and a minor. I wanted to let you know that now they are asking for only ONE special delivery envelope. At the time of submission of OCI application, VFS is no longer taking originals of the supporting documents, hence VFS doesn’t need the second one to send back the originals.
        Another point I wanted to make for the parents of minors – Both parents need to sign a consent letter for the OCI application, a template of which can be obtained from them. Along with the British passport and naturalisation certificate, cancelled Indian passport and surrender certificate, birth certificate (under Relationship proof) and marriage certificate (under Marriage Certificate) also needs to be uploaded. All photocopies for the minor have to be attested by both parents.
        Don’t forget to take Bank Statements for 3 months if applying like me as a housewife who doesn’t work.
        There is also a Self – Undertaking form given by VFS which need to be signed by each applicant.
        Cheers.

  • Aman, early on in your guide, you wrote, “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).” This is not true for US of A–you can apply for an OCI by post as far as I know. I would recommend folks applying in USA to check this out. It would be very expensive and unnecessary to fly to San Francisco for almost 7-8 US states in the CKGS San Francisco jurisdiction.

    • Hi again Mez Baan, 😀

      You are absolutely right – thanks for letting me know.

      After reading your comment, I did a bit of research and yes, you can send over the documents by post in the US.

      For this, the CKGS courier service can be purchased online (here) which is pretty convenient to send and receive your documents.

      Even I would recommend this to the Comparism readers from the US as this will save you the need to travel to the CKGS Application Centre locations; thus saving a lot of valuable time and money spent on travelling. Unfortunately, in the UK, you still need to submit the originals in person as a VFS location.

      Thanks again for your help in keeping this guide updated and relevant to the current rules and process 😉

      Regards
      Aman

  • Hi Aman,
    Great piece of work. Wonderful !
    Could you please advise about the signature upload for a minor??
    My son is 4 years old and I have uploaded his photo but what about signature? Should i take a photo of his left thumb impreszion in aspect ratio 3:1 and then upload it??

    • Hi Sachin,

      Thanks for your comment 🙂

      Yes, you got it right – children below 5 years need to provide the thumb impression and you can follow the same rules for the upload!

      I hope this helps.

      And, my apologies for the late reply…

      Thanks.

  • Wow! Thanks a lot, your article was in so much detail, unlike other sites I’ve visited. Although I’m still unsure about a few points. I’m basically a British national and would like to apply for an OCI card, my parents are both from India.
    Which documents am I now supposed to submits and where do I do that? Online or in person? Would I need any other documents apart from my parents’ Indian passports? Please please do revert back. I’m in a bit of a situation.thanks a lot.

    • Hello Jasneet, thanks a lot for your comment – I am glad you found this piece useful.

      Regarding your query, if you have your full birth certificate with your parents’ names on it along with their Indian passports, you should be alright!

      I have already covered this scenario in Case #2 under Additional Documents section.

      Also, what documents to upload online and which ones to take to the VFS centre is covered on the post above under sections here and here.

      Please check and let me know if you have any further issues 🙂

      Cheers

      • Dear Aman,
        I am a British National ( English mum, Indian origin Dad)
        My dad has a British passport and OCI card,
        I want to apply for OCI cards for myself, my six-year-old daughter and British husband
        You mentioned your wife applied for a family of four… how is this done pls? What documents do I supply from my dad,
        Also, I changed to my married name via deed poll, do I take (upload that?) which birth certificates are needed?
        Thanks so very much 😊

        • Hi Jyoti,

          Thanks for your comment and apologies for the delay in replying.

          It wasn’t my wife – it was Nakul, one of our readers on Comparism 🙂

          I think you can refer to Case #2 on my article as you would be applying on the basis of your dad, your daughter’s OCI will be on the basis of parents/grandparents and your husband’s application would be on your basis (spouse).

          I hope this info helps.

          Thanks
          Aman

  • Hi Aman , thank you for taking the effort to post this wonderful piece of info. I need to know that after I submit the documents , can I travel outside the UK?

    • Hi Francis,

      Yes, you can in the first part of the process where your British Passport is returned to you. For the second part, you will need to drop your British Passport along with the printout of online OCI status.

      Just thought of mentioning, if you plan to travel to India when your OCI application is in progress you would need a valid Indian Visa.

      I hope this helps.

      Thanks
      Aman

  • Hi Aman,

    Quite detailed and helpful guide.

    I have one question, when we upload pictures at first step, can we click it on phone and than upload? As photo specifications say it has to be very high quality, background, not distorted etc and long list.

    Or is it worth to get clicked by photographer and ask them to provide digital copy of same ?

    Thanks,
    Gurpreet Malhi

    • Hi Gurpreet,

      Thanks for your comment.

      I would suggest going with the latter – you anyways need to get it clicked for the visit to VFS; just ask for a digital copy. Some photographers could charge about £5 in the UK.

      Hope this helps.

      • Hi Aman,
        Your guide for OCI application was very helpful. I managed to fill the online application form and get it printed. However, the vfsglobal site to schedule an appointment isn’t working. I’ve been trying for 3 days now. Can you help me with this?
        Thank you

        • Hello Valeria,

          I tried the appointment booking link just now and it works fine for me – can you please give it a go again? If you face any issues, please provide more details if you are getting any error…

          Thanks
          Aman

  • Hi Aman

    Thanks for a very helpful step by step guide. Could you let me know how many days (approx) does it takes to get you OCI card and passport back through post (after the Collection of OCI process?

    Thanks
    Nidhi

    • Hello Nidhi,

      If you mean just the posting of the OCI card and the British Passport after the OCI application has been processed and OCI issued, it’s just a matter of 1-2 days to reach you.

      If you meant the time taken once you have submitted the original British passport along with the OCI status print out (the second visit to VFS), from there on it takes under a week.

      I hope this answers your query.

      Thanks
      Aman

  • Thanks Aman,

    Thank you very much, your guidance and notes are much appreciated.
    For this entire process, your notes always helped me to look into and verify/ provide correct details.

    Kind Regards,
    Dara

    • That’s great, Dara. I am glad you found this guide useful. Please do subscribe to my newsletter to get regular updates 🙂

      Cheers!

  • Hello, I am applying for my 18 month old daughter who holds a British passport. Will I have to take her along with me for the VFS appointment?

    • Hi Prathima, you can apply on your daughter’s behalf. Having spoken to a few readers via comments on this post, they submitted the OCI application pack on behalf of their family members without any issues.

      Thanks
      Aman

  • Hey,

    Does the online photograph that I upload have to match the photograph I physically give with the application form in person?

    Thanks

    Gurdev

    • Aman/Gurdev

      I am not sure your response is correct. From the US San Francisco CGI website (not from CKGS, the official agent akin to VFS in UK) the photo MUST be identical. I do not think this should even be a question, but I respect Aman’s knowledge and his answer. Here is the source of my reasoning and my own experience, which is still fresh in my memory. On the other hand, the photo in your passport (at least in the case of a new OCI due to renewal of a passport) MUST NOT match the new OCI photo.

      https://www.cgisf.gov.in/page/display/31/231

      COMMON MISTAKES TO AVOID:
      Item 10: PHOTOGRAPH: if photo is uploaded online then it must be identical to the photograph affixed on the form.

      Again, UK process may be different, though, for this case, I highly doubt it. And, it is quite possible that I am misunderstanding your question. In the latter case, my apology in advance.

  • Hi both my parents were born in India but I don’t have their India passport as they came to East Africa in their teens and now they are both dead all I have is their British Passport with born in India I have my full birth certificate with both their names can I apply for OCI

    • Hello Dee,

      I think you’ll be fine with your full birth certificate with your parents’ names. Please let me know how you get on.

      Thanks

  • Hi Aman,
    Thanks for sharing such detailed information around OCI.
    Do you know how much time it would take for renewal of OCI for a minor. I will be renewing the british passport for my son n need to get the OCI renewed too. Need to travel in December end this year.

    Thanks,
    Priya

    • Hello Priya,

      The timeline for the minors is the same as an adult application; 6-8 weeks as advised by VFS and 4-5 weeks on average based on 2 applications I based this post on.

      Cheers

  • Hi

    After submission of OCI application and getting status as “processed” do I need to book an appointment with the visa office again to submit my British passport?

    cheers
    Ashok

    • Hi Ashok,

      No you don’t need to; you can simply walk in on any working day between 8:30 am – 11 am.

      I have covered this query in the FAQs section in details 🙂

      Cheers

  • Hi Aman / Nakul / anyone who has applied for minor,

    Can I ask a question for Minor OCI documents.
    I was about to upload birth certificate for minor under “Relationship certificate” dropdown and it had following guidelines :
    ——
    Instructions for Relationship-certificate upload
    * Scan and upload the array of birth certificates from the applicant to parents/grand parents.
    * Birth certificate issued from a competent authority is only acceptable.
    * Foreign issued birth certificate is to be get apostle/authenticated.
    * Scan and upload the apostle/authentication stamp page also.
    ———
    For point 3, what does that mean ? Do we need to get it certified/authenticated from some solicitor or anyone ?
    I will be attaching original official copy of course which registrar stamp etc

    Kindly could you advice.
    Thanks for your help.

    B/r
    Suresh

    • Hi Suresh, my sincere apologies for the late reply!

      I guess you’d have done your application submission by now?

      The 3rd point is for the case if the birth certificate was not issued in India in which case it needs to be authenticated by a registered authority for doing that…

      I am curious to know what did you do in your case?

      Best
      Aman

      • HI Aman and Suresh

        I would just like to point out that if you are uploading and submitting a minor brith certificate the it must be the full Certificate with both parents details contained and not the short version (UK Birth Certificate). I had this issue when I applied for my daughter who had UK Birth Certificate and had to submit the correct version after it was rejected first time around,

        Kind Regards

        Harish

        • Hi Harish, thanks for your comment.

          Spot on!

          On this post, I did already mention that because I found “Full Birth Certificate” as the requirement for OCI application to VFS.

          So just for my knowledge, do you get 2 versions of the birth certificate?

          Thanks
          Aman

          • Hi Aman

            Yes, that’s correct.

            You get a short and a full version of the Birth Certificate in the UK. The short version basically only contains the Name, DOB , sex and place of birth. However the full version contains all the Parent details as well as the details in the short version.

            Hope that helps

            Kind Regards

            Harish

  • Thank you …
    What are the documents required in oder to process his OCI .both of us are Portugese passport holders and have our OCI.
    Hence I am planning to show our original OCI, Passport copies,Civil Marriage certificate (Marriage to plaxe in India) ,& my son birth certificate attested by the Council of Aberdeen at the time of submission . I managed to attach only the OCI on his online form.

    Kindly help ….

  • Dear Aman

    Thanks for a wonderful document, I am in the process of filling it in, but am slightly unsure of what address to put into NATIVE PLACE ADDRESS – I don’t have an address in India only in London – is this sufficient?
    Thanks for your help
    Christine

  • Hi Aman great Guide.Just 1 Question when taking an oci appointment for my son . IT doesn’t allow me to put only his details . We both pa rents have our OCI . How do i do this?
    Thank you

  • Hi Aman,

    I am having trouble uploading my Indian Origin Proof document. the file is less than 1mb. however every time I upload I keep getting an error message ‘error:file number or document selected are not correct’ and it is asking me to re-upload. Not sure why this is happening I have tried several versions of pdf files and still no luck. Please could you advise any further?
    Thank You

    • Hi Shabbir, Did you try this again after logging out?

      I haven’t had any reader reporting such an error so it could be intermittent…

      Thanks

      • It could be that the type of document you selected from the drop down for Indian Origin Proof is incorrect. From what I remember, it is very fussy about what is considered proof for what. It may have nothing to do with the size of your file. Also, without insulting you, do check the file number. I have been embarrassed a few time in my life by being smug, only to eat crow later. If you have the right size, I agree that this should not be an issue.

  • Hi,
    I am a divorcee and have remarried, is it possible to get OCI for my son? I have no contact with the father of my son.

    Thanks
    RS

    • Hi RS,

      I tried to find an answer to this particular scenario but I’m afraid, I am unable to help you with this as I don’t want to provide any wrong information. I hope you understand.

      If I may suggest, can you please call the OCI helpline and update here what they advise, please?

      I am sorry – I wish I could help further…

      Regards
      Aman

  • Thanks Aman for your good work !

    You have specified it as 3:1 ratio (see below ) however in the OCI website it provided as “The height and width of the Signature Photo must have aspect ratio 1:3”

    “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).”

    Not sure this is typo error

    • Hi Joshua,

      It’s the same – VFS have mentioned it in height:width format while I have used the standard convention how image sizes are defined in width:height format 🙂

      So basically when you sign you obviously cannot sign vertically (top -> down) hence 900px is the width and 300px is the height (signing horizontally left -> right).

      Cheers!

  • Hey Aman,

    Thanks for detailed guide, as we can see its being helpful to so many of us. So a token of big thanks for taking effort to pull it together. GBU.

    I’ve some questions for which I wanted to seek your advice –
    I received my naturalisation in Feb this year and British passport in March. For some personal reasons, I couldn’t initiate passport surrender and OCI process until now. In between, I had travelled to India on British passport after acquiring eVisa (its a bliss !) .
    I’ve just started Indian passport surrender process and will apply for my OCI after.
    We had a baby last month ( British Citizenship) and I’m going to apply for baby’s OCI soon.
    Questions –
    1) Do I need to wait for my OCI to come back to apply for baby’s OCI – is there any dependency ?
    2) Or I can initiate both OCI processes in parallel (for me and baby).
    3) Any additional document we need for baby’s OCI ?

    Note – My wife is an Indian citizen and holds Indian passport.

    Kindly advice.

    Thanks
    Suresh

    • Hello Suresh,

      Thank you so much for such kind words. It feels wonderful to be giving back my tiny bit to the community and reading the comments. 🙂

      Please do subscribe to my free newsletter (form on the right) so you don’t miss any future posts.

      And, big congratulations for your baby. 🙂

      Let’s look at your queries…

      1) I don’t think so: Your surrender certificate (once you get it) and your wife’s India passport along with UK BRP/Visa is the parents’ proof of Indian origin.
      2) Yes, you can.
      3) Please see Case #3 in the post. In addition, you need to get your baby’s thumb impression (left hand) and you & your wife need to sign on Part B of the form.

      I hope this helps.

      • Thank you again Aman for responding.

        For point 1) – I will have to submit my surrender certificate in original as part of my OCI application correct . So in that case, will I send photocopy of my surrender certificate during baby’s OCI application ? (as I want them to be processed in parallel) ?

        One more stupid question probably around surrender certificate.

        http://www.vfsglobal.com/India/Uk/Surrender.html

        Above link quotes one of the document required
        “If the applicant is born in UK /abroad and obtained foreign/British Nationality on the basis of Birth in the country and not by naturalisation then applicant is required to provide a photocopy of the full Birth Certificate.”

        I’m really confused on above comment. How can a newborn who never had an Indian passport, and had directly acquired UK citizenship, have to get a surrender certificate ? Really ?
        It doesn’t makes sense to me, unless I’m missing something.

        In other words, does this imply that we have to get surrender certificate even for baby (who never had Indian citizenship) before applying for baby’s OCI ?

        Thanks again for your time.

        B/r
        Suresh

        • Hi Suresh, As you will be submitting the applications together the copy should be fine. Anyways, you can discuss with the officer reviewing your docs at VFS 🙂

          In the snippet you’ve mentioned, the requirement is for the full birth certificate and not naturalisation certificate. I think there’s a confusion and you’re right how would anyone who’s never had an Indian passport can have a surrender certificate.

          Which means: you don’t need a surrender certificate for your baby, you need his/her full birth certificate from the UK.

          Hope this helps.

          Cheers!

  • Hello Aman,

    Thanks for detailed step by step procedure to apply for OCI.

    Why do they need Employment Letter? what is the purpose?

  • Dear Aman

    Do they do biometric for OCI card is that a contribute to the lengthy process at VFS office ?

  • Hi Aman,
    Thanks for your wonderful guide!!!
    Just a couple of quick questions
    My daughters were respectfully 19 and 17 when they got their Oci’s on their current passport. They will need to renew their passport in 2023 when they will be 28 and 26. So my question is will they need to have their OCI re- issued as the website says ‘OCI registration Certificate have to be re-issued each time a New passport is issued up to the completion of 20 years of age’ as neither were 20 when they originally got their OCI.
    My other question is that you say we can provide 2 x A4 Royal Mail Silver Special Delivery envelopes for returning our documents but on some forums people are complaining that they have forced to use their courier service expensive envelopes!! Also if were to use their courier service and you are not at home when they deliver what happens to the delivery? At least with Royal Mail your parcel will be taken to the nearest depot for you to pick up. Please advice . Many thanks and keep up the good work!!!!

    • Hi again Nilaben,

      I have answered your first query on your earlier comment.

      Here’s my take on the Royal Mail delivery envelope query – the VFS executives have no right to force you into buying their expensive query. The VFS website mentions you could bring in the Royal Mail envelopes OR use their service as an option.

      Cheers!

  • Hi Aman
    Just want to know what to do you are 20 years old but student,but they were asking employment letter for all applicants over 18 . Furthermore do self addressed envelopes have to be special delivery and for self attesting photocopies can you sign anywhere and do you have to write anything with signatures.
    And Thanks very much for all the information.

    • Hi Gurvinder,

      Hmmm, that’s a good question. I couldn’t find any mention of this case on the VFS website at all. I think in your case, you can provide a copy of your student ID card? But, if you can please call the VFS helpline to clarify and update here, that would be great.

      Special delivery envelopes are secure and you can rest assured that you will get your documents back safely.

      For self-attesting, yes, you can sign anywhere – I normally follow this format:

      Signature
      (Full name)
      Date

      Thanks
      Aman

      • I think you should add “True copy of the original” and might want to add the File reference number.

  • Hey Aman

    Do you have to use the same photos online (jpg) as you do for part B form where you attach them? Or can you use ones from photo booth?

    BTW, great instructions for getting OCI, ten times better than instructions from the Indian Gov site. They should hire you 😉

    Tip : When you want to review your form at a later date, always use their Calendar (drop down menu) to enter your birth date. If you add it manually, it appears not to retrieve the document.

    Kumar

    • Hi Kumar,

      You can use any photos that meet the specifications that I have mentioned (courtesy VFS).

      Thanks a lot for your kind words; if they hire me, my writing could end up being the same, haha. 😛

  • Hi Aman

    First of all, thank you for the guide. Very detailed.

    My mum has her surrender certificate but has not worked for years. Can i show she has been on benefits for last 3 months? I have bank statements.

    Also i am applying on as her son and came to UK on her passport. Do i still need her birth certificate or marriage certificate? If we do not have these can i still apply?

    Regards

    S Patel

    • Hi Snehul,

      Thanks 🙂

      I think proof of the benefits along with bank statements should suffice. You could also show the proof of last employment, if possible.

      Here’s what I feel for your case:

      You would surely need your birth certificate with both your parents’ names on it. You can then show a copy of your parent’s Indian passport along with your mum’s Surrender certificate. These both put together could act as a proof of Indian origin.

      I would still recommend calling the VFS helpline for OCI to discuss your specific case and if you do, please update here what they advice.

      Thanks

  • Hi Aman

    This is a great guide. There are so many help guides on various forums, but nothing this comprehensive and written in simple easy to understand english.

    I must say, some of the english language words used on the OCI website should be reconsidered.

    Helped me out so much being an applicant from the UK.

    Many Thanks

    Harish

      • Hi Aman

        I thought I would provide you with some of the issues I faced when attending the Cardiff Visa Office.

        1. Firstly the photo that was taken in a typical UK passport photo booth was not accepted as they said the quality was not acceptable. The booth did state “photos for India Visa”, however it still wasn’t accepted. I therefore now have to attend a photography company which was recommended by the clerk. Apparently they do high quality photos!. Thought you may want to know the quality of photo booth images can be an issue.

        2. The Relationship Certificate they require must not be the short birth Certificate , but has to be the full version. i.e which contain all the parents particulars.

        3. If you are applying for a minor they must also sign the printed declaration. Both the Parents Signatures at the end of the form alone is not enough.

        Hope my feedback helps future applicants.

        Many Thanks

        Harish

        • Hi Harish,

          Thanks for the update with your personal experience.

          Yes, the UK photo specs are different to the Indian passport/visa specs (35×45 cm vs 50×50 cm).

          I did mention on the post to include the full version birth certificate. Thanks for the reminder via your comment.

          I am going to update this post to include details for minors based on feedback from the readers in comments 🙂

          Cheers!

        • Hi Harish,

          Regarding the point number 3:

          For minors less than 5 years, do they need to do thumb expression at the end of the form. As you mentioned parents signature won’t be enough.

          • Hi there,

            Here’s my take based on the info I found on VFS spec:

            Children below 5 years of age need to place the thumb impression (left hand in case of girls and right hand in case of a boy – I am not sure why it’s different).

            Children above 5 years need to write their name or sign in the box.

            In addition to this, the Signature/thumb impression of the child applicant is also required on the declaration on Part B of the application form.

            Also, both the parents need to be signed in part ‘B’

            I hope this helps.

  • Hi Aman, will appreciate if you can help me with this.
    I am applying the OCI for my daughter.
    I have done Form-A and got the email with the temporary application number. Now I want to re-login and upload the image file for signature (thumb impression) and photo but I am unable to login. I have tried it several times with passport details and the temporary application number that came in the mail. Is there a number to call in such a situation when one is stuck like this?

    Thanks a lot for the help.

    CK

    • Hi CK,

      If you have completed Part-A, you should have got the OCI reference number starting with GBRL (check out the screengrab just before Step 2.1 above).

      Hope this helps.

      Thanks
      Aman

  • Hi Aman
    I want to apply fro minors (under 18)
    When i select date to make appointment when everything else is uploaded, it wont let me proceed
    Website is complete useless as it does not give indication what you have to do
    Any advise?

    • Hi Praf,

      Are you getting any error? If the error is due to the Date of Birth for minors, you can book the appointment with your details.

      Thanks
      Aman

  • Hi Aman
    Do yopu know anyone who will actually process application fro OCI?
    Your instructions is very detailed and helpful
    Many ppl dont have time to go through all this
    So just wondering if there is a 3rd party who can do the work for a fee

    • Hi Praf,

      No – the OCI application can only be submitted in-person which means you cannot use any third-party agents. Even if you had to use an agent, you would be the one to actually prepare the file.

      So, don’t worry as you can follow this simple step-by-step guide and it’s a pretty straight-forward process (if you follow the checklist).

      Any issues, please let me know.

      Thanks

  • Hi Aman,
    Thank you for your fully detailed guide and I am now confident in applying for my OCI because of my spouse.
    Just a quick question regarding renewal – my spouse got his OCI when he was 55 on his previous passport so does he need to have his OCI re-issued or can he just carry his old passport, his new passport and OCI Card when he travels to India?
    Also, my daughters were 19 and 17 years old when they got their OCI but their passport is valid till 2024 so a bit confused as to whether they will need to have OCI re-issued when their passports are renewed in 2024 as by then they will be 28 and 26 respectively.
    Many thanks for all your work – much appreciated!!
    Keep up the good work as the OCI application is like a minefield!

    • Hi Nilaben,

      Thanks for your comment and sorry for the late reply…

      Yes, as your husband got his new passport at the age of 55 years, you would need to use the miscellaneous service for getting OCI re-issued. The rule is for the OCI card to be reissued on receiving a new passport for ages up to 20 years and above 50 years. But, if the OCI card itself got re-issued after the age of 50 years, you don’t need to get it re-issued again.

      Your daughters, on the other hand, won’t need to do that as they would fall in the bracket of 21-50 years.

      Cheers and my apologies again for getting back so late!

      Thanks

  • Hi Aman,
    Iam applying for my three kids along with mine as well,
    My kids are 11,8 and 5 years, unfortunately they cant sign properly,in this case can i upload my signature for them or do i need to upload their thumb impressions.

    • Hi Lenin,

      For minors, here’s what the VFS website says:

      “Signatures should be in the box provided. Children below 5 years of age should place the thumb impression (left hand) and children above 5 years of age should write their name or sign. Signature/thumb impression of the child applicant is also required on the declaration on Part B of the application form (2 page).

      In case of minor children, both the parents need to be signed in part ‘B’ or parent’s consent letter is mandatory (if divorced) or court order having custody of children.”

      Because of a number of queries around OCI application for minors, I am thinking to add a separate section with all the details in the coming weeks. But I guess this info should help you proceed with the applications for now.

      Hope this helps.

      Thanks

  • Hi Aman, excellent guide. I have a couple of questions, if you or any other members could shed some light on. First, my wife has just applied for her surrender certificate today at Leicester vfs, is it possible I can go to the appointment for Oci application on her behalf? Second, her Indian passport has her given name as ‘Rajdeep Kaur’ and surname section is blank. But in the British passport, they have put ‘xxx’ in the given name section and ‘Rajdeep kaur’ In the surname section. We enquiried the British passport office and were told that it is normal procedure to put complete name in the surname section, in the absence of surname in the foreign passport. Now my confusion is how should we fill the oci form on the basis of British passport? We would really appreciate your advice. Thanks

    • Hi Dil,

      For your first query, yes once you have got the surrender certificate for your wife, you can attend the OCI application appointment on her behalf.

      For your second query, nobody could help you better right now as this was exactly my case 😉

      Somehow Indian passport deptt has this issue with common names like Singh, Kaur, Khan etc and it’s a very common problem. What you have been told by HMPO is correct as they would only issue a passport in the name which was on the native passport (which in your case is Rajdeep Kaur )

      Now you have 2 options.

      1. Fill the OCI form exactly like your British Passport (if you notice this is how I started filling up my OCI form initially and it shows in the screenshot on this post). The disadvantage of doing this is, the XXX stays on your legal document for India forever. No harm as such but you might have to explain this if you plan to provide OCI as a legal proof (maybe?) – it’s your personal choice but I don’t recommend this option.

      2. This is what I did as I didn’t want an unnecessary XXX in my name :P. I re-applied for a replacement British passport to get my name rectified (First name – Amandeep and Last name – Singh). For this you need to get a deed poll (it’s free – there are some services that charge like 30-40 GBP. You don’t pay a single penny, let me know if you need more details on this) and any document where it shows you using the name already (without the XXX which is not an issue at all as that’s the correct name anyways).

      Once you have the British passport with the correct name, apply OCI without the XXX 🙂

      This is the process I followed and now my British Passport doesn’t have XXX and same would be the case for my OCI 😉

      Any issues, please let me know.

      Thanks.

      • Hi Aman. Thanks for such a quick and detailed reply. You are absolutely right, the ‘xxx’ in given name section looks very strange. We have decided to follow your advice and get the name changed in the British passport before applying for the OCI card. I have just checked online and there are quite a few websites offering to make a deed poll for a fee. Could you please advice how to get it done properly and how long it would take for the whole process. And yes we have all other documents(driver licence, bank statements, bill etc.) in correct name. We look forward to your answer.
        Thanks again
        Dil

        • Hey Dil,

          Glad you found my reply useful 🙂

          As I mentioned, you don’t have to pay a single penny to any of these websites. As a deed poll, a declaration from you in writing even on a tissue paper would hold good, but let’s not take that route. Let me explain the process I followed. 😛

          (As I write this, I thought I will do a separate detailed post on this topic. But, for now, let’s help you out.)

          You can skip those websites that provide these deeds with fancy stamps on them (you don’t need them!)

          Simply head over to this free alternative (https://freedeedpoll.org.uk/) – that’s what I used. Select “Normal Deep Poll” and simply enter your details (old name, new name, address along with details of 2 witnesses) and that’s about it – this tool will generate a deed poll for you in no time. Save the file.

          Buy parchment paper (A4 100 gsm); you can order on Amazon (https://amzn.to/2CdaxEy) and print it at home. The parchment paper is thicker and is used for such declarations (and looks professional) but there’s no legal obligation for you to use it – you can do with a normal paper too.

          Once printed, simply sign it along with signatures of your 2 witnesses. And voila! You’ve got yourself a deed poll.

          If my tip saves you ££, you owe me a drink haha! 😉

          Cheers!

          • Most definitely bro😁, the money your advice has saved me, I owe you two drinks atleast👍. Just waiting for the British passport to come back before we apply for the OCI card.
            And yes you should totally do a separate post about this issue as it will help others like me( as most people have only given names in their Indian passports and they end up getting the ‘XXX’ in the British passport). Thanks a lot again for doing all the leg work, it has saved me so much hassle👌🏼

          • Hi Aman,
            Thanks for helpful information.
            Can i use it to change my son (minor) name.
            Thanks

          • Yes, this is the standard process I found to change name on British Passport if you couldn’t change it on the Indian passport.

            Thanks
            Aman

  • A very well done guide.
    Just one thing, when filling up the form for babies, what points to keep in mind?

    Thanks a lot

  • Hi Aman, very well done with your guides.
    I’ve used it to apply for surrender certificate and now for OCI. (It’s really really helpful)
    However, I have a new query in regards to OCI and just wanted to know your take on it.
    So I have a friend who had a British passport and OCI. She has now gotten married and hence changed her surname. She has already amended the details on her British passport ( So now she has a new passport with new number on it). Does she need to amend the details on her OCI as well? and does she need to transfer the u-visa sticker to her new passport or can she travel with her old+new passport and previous OCI?

    • Hi Wilfred,

      My sincere apologies for the late reply – in case this reply is still relevant for you (or anyone is looking for similar info in the future), here’s my take on this scenario:

      As per the rules, with every passport change up to the age of 20 years and only once after 50 years, you need to apply for renewing your OCI card due to biological changes in appearance.

      If the age is between 21-50 years (both inclusive) at the time of getting the new passport, you don’t have to apply for OCI miscellaneous services to get OCI card reissued.

      I hope this helps.

      Thanks
      Aman

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

  • 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 😉

      Thanks

    • Hi there, I checked with VFS directly by ringing them and they told me it would take 6-8 weeks whether single or on behalf your spouse.
      Thanks

  • 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.

  • Hi Aman. Thank you for detailed guide. I am considering applying for OCI but my situation is that I was born in India, I no longer have my old Indian passport and I only have a naturalisation certificate & an Affidavit from India (instead of a birth certificate).
    Therefore I think I will fall under Case #1 scenario. How easy is it obtaining a Notarized Affidavit? I would be interested to know if anyone else tried this option and how successful they were. Many thanks

  • 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

  • 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 😉

    • 28 days!!!! That’s amazing Nakul! Well done.

      I am due to do for 4 of us too (mine from my spouse, and spouses from Grandparents, kids from Grandparents who both have their OCI through one of their parents)- do you think I can do it in one go?

      Also does anyone know if I can submit Grandparents OCI as proof of Indian origin or do I need to submit the documents they submitted to get OCI.

      I thought e-visa was complicated – and this was going to top it but Aman your guide has made it so much easier! It’s permanently on my browser tab!!!

      • Hello Dimpy,

        Thanks a lot for your comment – you’re very kind!

        First, my sincere apologies for the delay in replying to your query. I am getting a lot of comments daily and being a one-person army, content creation and responding to each comment personally gets a bit overwhelming. There is a lot more content I want to produce but need to juggle up between things – I hope you understand. 🙂

        I’m sure by now you would have applied with some positive news to share here?

        Regarding your query (if you’re still looking for an update), yes you can submit just the OCI card as proof of Indian origin. No need to provide the documents your grandparents submitted.

        I wish you the best of luck, and once you have the OCI cards for your family, you can copy the link, share with your friends and finally, close the tab 😉

        Still, I recommend you bookmark the deals section I have here so that you can use the most effective ways of sending money to India.

        And eVisa is not that complicated too – a clear, no-nonsense guide coming soon! 😉

        Thanks
        Aman

  • Hi Aman,

    Your blog is very helpful when applying for surrender certificate.

    I think as on today while I am applying for OCI few things have changed. I just realised after completing part A/B. I was literally stuck where documents needs to be uploaded. It won’t let you go back to forward on the website till you get it right.
    It asked for passport number and online registration numbers. (This will be your British passport number and OCI 12 digit file no starts like GBRBXXXXXXXX).

    Tanks again for your details set by step guidelines has been of great help.

    Thanks,
    Priya

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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, 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.

      Thanks
      Aman

      • Aman, the MEA website is the same as GOI one–where you upload photos etc. Sorry if I confused you. On shipping, they MAY accept US Postal Service, but first, the rates are not that different, and second, as much as I want to save on this cost, I recommend sticking to UPS or FedEx in USA for both sides-submission of application and receiving the new documents. The cost of time off, gas/public transport, parking, etc. is much more than the cost of courier at least in the USA.

        If someone has specific questions for USA, I am happy to answer. The most annoying thing in the reissue of OCI for change of passport for minors under 20 is a circular argument asking to prove something again that was already proven when the original expiring OCI booklet was issued and asking for copies and notarization of documents that add costs and are completely necessary in my opinion. But, my opinion counts for nothing, and everyone has one. So, don’t fight, suck it up, and get on with the program

        • Hey Mez baan, thanks a lot for your helpful response. I am sure anybody applying for OCI from the US can make use of this info. 🙂

          Cheers
          Aman

    • Hi,
      Thanks for the nice guide.
      I wish I found this before I gave Indian PP and couldn’t submit first time.
      I have status shown as Processed. but there are two other dates
      dispatched from MEAD at New Delhi and
      Received at ** are still empty.
      Should I wait for other dates to appear or can I submit the submit my UK passport?

      And the timings are they really 8-11, can’t I go after 11?

      Cheers

      • Hi Giridhar,

        Thanks 🙂

        I am sorry for the late reply – do you see those dates populated now?

        Yes the timings are 8-11AM only.

        Thanks
        Aman

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