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How to Get OCI Card in the UK (The Complete Guide 2020)

Everything you need to know about OCI card application process in the UK. Read on for the full step-by-step guide.

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OCI Card Application - Step by Step Detailed Guide

How to apply for an OCI card in the UK?

Today I’m going to guide you through the step-by-step process of submitting your OCI application in the UK in 2020.

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 makes sense both logistically and economically.

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

With OCI card, you are granted the status of Overseas Citizen of India.

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

I surrendered my Indian passport and documented the detailed process on here.

I also covered the step-by-step procedure for my wife’s Indian passport re-issue. Both these 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.

In those comments, you wanted me to cover a detailed step-by-step guide to the OCI application process in the UK.

Well, here it is – the most anticipated guide on Comparism! 😉

Let’s get right into the OCI requirements in the UK.

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

OCI Application UK – Complete Guide 2020

Here’s the entire process from start to finish covering EVERYTHING that you need to know about OCI application process in the UK.

I hope it helps you and eases the process of OCI card application.

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 multiple 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 website 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.

This OCI card application 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, please share it.

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

Disclaimer: I gained a lot of knowledge on the OCI application process for the UK and as proud as I am that it got documented and has proved to help a lot of people, and you could rely on it, but I am not a lawyer and I need to add this disclaimer. 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.

And before I forget!

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 during the passport surrender process and for helping me with critical information for this comprehensive OCI guide. Thanks, Mez Baan (and all of you who commented) for your help in keeping this guide updated.

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 or an eVisa?

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) to India, 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 cardholders.


How to apply for OCI card in the UK

The High Commission of India has outsourced the OCI application submission services in the UK to VFS Global (like Indian passport surrender and passport renewal).

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 USA).

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!

[Update: I have been notified in the comments below that VFS is now collecting the UK passport in the first visit itself which they return back around 7 days later. This is different from how the process used to be. Can you please do me a favour and let me know what happened in your case? You can drop the info using the comments section at the end of this post – want to be sure before I make an update here.]

Here’s how the overall OCI card application process looks like:

  • Fill up and print OCI online Application form
  • 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 the 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 process in detail.

Steps for online OCI application UK 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 OCI 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 from the available options: 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 OCI 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 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.

The officer at VFS won’t accept your application and you would need to redo it online and visit again. I’ve been there, done that. You don’t repeat my mistake 😛

Be aware!

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 online OCI application form.

#2. OCI 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 (you could use your parents’ address in India).

For Native Place Address, if you don’t have any address in India, you can use an address in the UK.

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 OCI application form. 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 online application 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 Part B to complete the OCI registration online.

Let’s proceed.

Your image needs to be square (1:1 aspect ratio) with a min size of 200×200 px and 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 you noted 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 the 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 OCI application 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 successfully 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 for your OCI application.

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 required for OCI in UK) 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 required to upload online for a fresh OCI application.

  • 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 OCI application
  • Relationship Certificate: Birth certificates of your parents/grandparents depending on the basis of your application
  • PIO Card: If you are a PIO cardholder 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 a 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 as a single file.

If you want to, you can combine the docs and upload a 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 how you are required to submit the OCI application form along with the required documents (originals and self-attested photocopies) in-person to the selected centre and pay the OCI application fees.

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


OCI Appointment Booking UK

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

To book a prior OCI application 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 to book OCI appointment is to pick your preferred VFS centre as per your jurisdiction in the UK.

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 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, VFS will ask you to book the OCI 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.

Don’t worry too much if you don’t get the email – the print out of the appointment confirmation you downloaded above will suffice.

OCI Card Appointment Booking Confirmation Letter - London Hounslow

OCI appointment – What happens on the 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 for the OCI queue.
  • Wait for your number – you might have to wait (hopefully not too long!) if the centre is running behind schedule on the day for OCI appointments.
  • 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 a space in the family details section right side area on the printed form).

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


Documents required for OCI at the VFS centre

Here’s a checklist for documents required for OCI in the UK that you’d need when visiting the VFS centre for your OCI appointment in-person:

  • OCI Application form (that you printed earlier!)
  • Signed Declaration Form – same as you did for Surrender Certificate application [Download here]
  • 2 photographs 50mmx50mm (same as the digital copy you uploaded on the online OCI application form)
  • 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 from your current employer
    • 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.

In addition to the OCI document checklist above, you might need the below documents depending on your case:

Case #1. Held an Indian passport and acquired foreign nationality before May 2010 OR if you were born in India but never held an Indian passport OR cannot produce the Indian Passport Surrender certificate for any reason (lost/misplaced etc.)?
  • A notarized affidavit from the UK stating the facts about your passport, how you travelled to the UK and any one of the below documents in original. VFS/HCI call them “Other necessary documents of Indian origin.”
  • Domicile certificate
  • Original Birth Certificate issued by Indian Municipality or Panchayat
  • School Leaving Certificate – if you are getting a school leaving certificate later than at the time of leaving school, it would need to be authenticated District Magistrate/Collector of the area with name, stamp, seal and contact information for verification.
  • Agriculture land

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

Case #2. Applying for OCI on the basis of Indian origin of your Parents/Grandparents or Spouse
  • proof of Indian origin for who you are basing the application on, in addition to the below:
  • Your full version birth certificate with both parent’s details on it
  • Marriage certificate registered for not less than two years (if applying on the basis of Spouse’s Indian origin)
  • Parent’s full version birth certificate (if applying for OCI on the basis of Grandparents)
Case #3. Applying OCI for minors
  • 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)

Comparism 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.


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 up!)

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 application, VFS will organise the delivery of the OCI card and your original supporting documents.

For getting your OCI card delivered, as I mentioned on the OCI documents checklist, you are required to provide two prepaid self – addressed Special Delivery envelopes (Silver Royal Mail ones) from your side to return the documents and OCI Card. You can buy them from any post office.

You can also choose the courier service offered at the VFS centre but it’s more money compared to the Royal Mail option.


Frequently Asked Questions for OCI

Do you need to get a new OCI card when your passport is renewed/re-issued?
Depends. It is mandatory to get the OCI card re-issued every time you renew your passport up to the age of 20 years and ONLY ONCE after attaining the age of 50 years because of frequent changes to facial feature in this age group.

If you get your first OCI card AFTER turning 50, you are NOT required to renew it ever again. OCI registration certificate is not mandatory each time your passport is renewed/reissued between 21-50 years of age.

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).
Can I apply for an OCI card by post?
No, applying for OCI in the UK by post is not an option and you have to do it only via VFS.
Do you need to submit your original passport for OCI application?
Not at the time of submitting the documents the first time. When you submit your application to VFS, the original passport is needed for verification – you get the original passport 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 after submission along with the new OCI booklet.
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.
Can you apply for duplicate OCI documents in case of loss of OCI registration certificate?
Yes, you can. If you lose your OCI documents, you’ll need to file a complaint with the police authorities and enclose a copy of the complaint with the application. Also, the duplicate OCI documents are issued only after a personal interview.

OCI Card UK – Wrapping Up

I hope this detailed guide helps you in OCI application process in the UK after surrendering your Indian passport.

I followed the exact process to apply for OCI in the UK that successfully got me a brand new OCI card.

I make regular updates to the timelines and FAQs section but now I rely on YOUR feedback in the comments section.

If this guide helps you a tiny bit in your OCI card application, please update in the comments if you find any of the parts don’t hold good any more.

That will help keep this OCI guide up to date and will help even more people.

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.

222 Comments

  • HI – thanks for this guide. I am a little confused on the photograph requirements.

    a) Does the photo you upload to the website and the photo you submit with the application form need to be the same?
    b) Any tips on a good cheap place to get passport photos (and/ or digital files of the same) done in London?

    Thanks.

    • Hi Rahul,

      a) TBH when I did my application, I used 2 different photo versions for website upload and in-person application submission. But, I have heard from a few people who submitted their application recently that they were asked to use the same photo for both. So my recommendation now would be to use same photo version.
      b) You could use any high street vendor – I also have heard good feedback on photo booths which is a cheaper way of doing it compared to high street options.

      I hope this helps. Do let us know here what worked for you.

  • Hi Aman
    I wrote a long rant on here and cannot see it so assuming I didn’t press send.
    I have some information that may be helpful but worth checking with other before updating t your guide.
    This is for PIO to OCI but should be the same here.

    Royal Mail Envelopes
    The Leicester office refused to use my royal mail envelopes and said I needed to download a declaration form.
    He would not tell me the name of it.
    A long call later , I am told that there isn’t a form and I could have just written
    ” I do not hold VFS responsible for loss or damage on a piece of paper and signed it.

    Employment letter.
    Nowhere on the site does it say you need one for PIO to OCI but the call centre said it is a requirement.
    It does not need to be uploaded but just taken to the office.

    The girl on the call centre would not give her name , would not call Leicester to update to tell them that a hand written letter is acceptable and will not tell the website people to put the correct information on the website.

    I will be writing a letter of complaint and suggestions but after my OCI is in my hands.

    Thanks again for you excellent guide.

    • Hey Jay, my apologies for the delay in getting these comments on the site. Thanks for sharing about your experience here. I can understand the frustration – it’s really annoying when there is no sync between the different teams.

      I hope this has been sorted for you now?

  • Hi Aman,
    Thanks for the useful guide. I had my OCI appointment today at the Liverpool VFS. Just a note to people who are applying via Liverpool VFS, they do not recommend using the Royal mail return envelopes and wanted me to use the DX service. But they accepted the two royal mail envelopes after i accepted the risk.

    Also i had to submit my original British passport for the application – I was told that the passport along with the Surrender Certificate (original) will be returned to me within 1 week and the OCI card posted to me within 7 weeks. So if you have immediate travel plans , it is worth booking the appointment after the trip.

    All the best everyone…

    • Hey Nithin, thanks for sharing your experience here – really appreciate you taking out the time. 🙂

      Are you please able to provide about the timelines about your UK passport – I suppose you must have got your OCI card now?

  • Thanks for your guide Aman .
    I have only just processed my application for PIO to OCI . I started it 2016, had some issues, they called me every year to complete the process, Finally completed the process , and they said they have closed the case .
    So I started again , got asked for copies of documents that were not listed anywhere as required and told they will call and I can pay online. I think it was all added smoke and mirrors so they could charge the maximum which was double the stated fees ( DX etc. ) I just needed this complete so have paid.
    Wish I had seen your page earlier.

  • Hi,
    Thank you for the detailed post, it is very helpful.
    I have a question though: my Indian passport has old address and now my parents live at a different address. Can I use my parents’ current address as Native Address? I have no proof however to submit the new address as my passport still has old address.
    Will this cause any issues with my oci application?

    Thanks,
    Daya

    • Hey Daya, yes you can do that without any issues – I did just the same. Would you be able to provide a utility bill which is in your parents’ name? That way any of your documents having your parents’ names would prove the relationship and explain things better.

      Sorry for getting back to you so late – hoping this info is still helpful for your application. Do let me know how it goes.

  • Hi Aman, This is a very detailed guide. I only saw this after I submitted my OCI application today. This is definitely clearer than the VFS website keep up the good work.

    Manoj

  • Hi Do you know what is the courier fees at vfs.? since there is a confusion of taking one envelope or 2. because there is no stamping on passport now.

  • Hi Aman,
    Thanks for writing this very helpful guide. The indian govt website and VFS Global both provide insufficient information on what to bring to the appointment which led to me getting turned away. I’m travelling to India in 9 weeks so I really hope I recieve my OCI via new appointment and correct documents in time for my holiday.

  • Just an update from my case. Thanks for your excellent advice once again.

    Couple of data points
    Evidence from employer was only a letter saying I was employed there. No need for my job offer or contract.
    They took both prepaid envelopes – one will return my original docs in a week and around 4 weeks for the OCI. No 2nd appointment needed.

    • Thanks for the update, Rohit.

      Is this the norm with others as well now – can someone who attended the OCI appointment recently confirm this, please?

      Regards
      Aman

    • Hi Aman,

      Many thanks for your detailed instructions.They were so very usefull.Today I submitted OCI Application for my two kids with absolute ease at London Goswell.The only mistake I made was I took only 1 envelope per application, while you had clearly mentioned that we need to take 2 envelopes per application !!!

      I also made sure to take all originals and their photocopies.

      Thanks again,

      Shubha

    • In case of original documents. Do we have to leave the UK passport and naturalisation certificate with VFS? I have to travel for work to Europe a few days after my intended appointment date. So therefore not usre if I have to postpone submitting the OCi application after the trip. Please let me know

      • Hey Nithin, Thanks for your comment and my apologies for replying so late. Updating here in case anybody else could use this info.

        Earlier the OCI appointment required 2 visits to the VFS centre – once to provide all the documents (except for original UK passport) and 2nd time to submit your UK passport along with the status report from the site (as I have covered on the post).

        But recently I have been notified of an update in the process where they take all the documents in the first visit itself but return your UK passport within a week or so. If I get validation of this process from a few more people applying for OCI, I will make updates to the post accordingly.

        So anyone reading this comment: if you have recently applied for OCI, please update your experience here 🙂

        Cheers!

  • Thanks for this very handy guide. Can you add a line to this article? The photos you submit with the application should be the same as uploaded on the OCI portal. This is not mentioned anywhere and I’ve seen that a lot of folks only get told this when they come for the appointment.

    • Hey Nikhil, thanks for pointing that out.

      I made a mention of this one of my recent comments for the images to be the same now – this didn’t use to be such an issue as I myself used two different images for the physical and digital copy.

      I will make an update on the post. 🙂

      Cheers

  • Quick Question Aman- Do i definitely need to surrender my Indian passport (get a surrender certificate)before I can apply for OCI card ?
    Can I not go straight into the OCI process and submit my Indian passport?

    • Hi there,

      As India doesn’t allow dual nationality, if you have acquired foreign citizenship, OCI is your lifetime visa to enter India avoiding the hassle of applying for an Indian visa every time you wasn’t to visit.

      And for your query, if you have acquired foreign nationality, you would need to give up Indian nationality which is why you need to surrender your Indian passport. Surrender certificate if your proof of cancelling your Indian citizenship.

  • Hi,

    Thanks for an excellent guide to a complicated process.

    Two questions. I am a British born citizen whose parents were born in India. They have since gained British citizenship. My mother has an OCI card, though my dad is still on a long term Indian Visa.

    For my proof of Indian origin, I understand I have to submit my full birth certificate. Is my mother’s OCI card enough or do I need more documents from her, eg her naturalisation certificate.

    For the employee letter, what do I need to get from my employer? I work for the NHS and have my offer letter of employment and my job contract. Is this sufficient?

    Rohit.

    • Hi Rohit,

      Thanks – I am glad you found this guide useful.

      Your mother’s OCI card should be enough – but could you support with a proof for your father as well? Maybe his cancelled passport or copy of surrender certificate? That provides proof of Indian origin for both of your parents, just in case, they ask for your father’s proof too.

      Your employee letter would basically support that you are still employed with them which if your job contract mentions the end date, then I don’t see why the 2 docs you have (offer letter and contract) wouldn’t suffice.

      To be on the safe side, if it is easier to get the employee reference letter, I would suggest adding that which then raises no concerns for the officer reviewing your file.

      Hope this helps.

      Cheers!

  • Thanks a lot for the detailed guide. It has been very helpful. There has been one change in the process starting 6th December. You don’t need to visit VFS twice, don’t need to submit your UK passport since you don’t get a stamping on the UK passport,
    Just follow all the steps & at the 1st and only appointment submit the original documents (everything else except the UK passport). They are returned in 3 days & OCI received in 4-5 weeks. Seamless process.

    • Hi Ranjini,

      Thanks for the update – I will leave this thread open for others to confirm as well.

      Can you please clarify which centre was this?

      Thanks
      Aman

  • I have a few of questons:
    1) When I renew my UK passport, do i need to renew my OCI?
    2) If I change address, will I need to renew my OCI?
    3) Can I still travel without amending the above?

    • Hi Praful,

      1) Yes.
      2) No, not unless you want to update the new address on it.
      3) Old OCI with the new passport, no. Address not amended, not an issue.

      Thanks
      Aman

  • Hi Aman

    Thank you for a really helpful guide.

    My question is if my Spouse hasn’t yet applied for OCI, can we all as a family apply at once (wife and three children) or he has to get his OCI first and then the rest will apply on his basis.

    Thanks
    Jay

    • Hi Jay, assuming that your spouse is eligible (by birth, based on parents, or grandparents), you can all apply together.

      Your’s (and children’s) will be supported by registered marriage and Birth certificates for all of you along with your husband’s valid Indian Passport. Marriage should have been registered and subsisted for a continuous period of not less than 2 years before you apply. If you need any further details, please try calling the VFS office 😉

      Hope this helps

      Cheers!

  • Hi
    Thanks a lot for these very detailed guides, they are so helpful.
    I have recently applied for my 1st OCI and was required only 1 envelope instead of 2.
    I have a question, my status has changed to received in London today but as I’m travelling most of Dec, I won’t be able to submit my original UK passport until Jan 2020. Do you know if there is a deadline or the latest date by when I need to submit my original UK passport to VFS?

    Thanks a lot in advance for your reply .

    • Hi Garima,

      Thanks for your comment and I am glad you found these guides helpful.

      I was in a similar situation myself! There is no deadline as such – it will just delay when you get your OCI card. So, don’t worry you can submit it later 🙂

      Thanks.

  • Hi Aman,

    Thanks for the detailed guide.

    I have a question about Miscellaneous Services application for getting OCI re-issued for minor above 5 years.

    Should the minor sign on both the application form Part A & Part B? Can they write just their first name in the signature box or should it be their first name and surname?

    Thank you.

    • Hi Rajesh,

      The guideline says “should write their name or sign” so I would suggest full name if they write the name, if signing; it could be anything as it’s the signature 🙂

      Hope this helps.

  • Hi Aman

    This is a fantastic guide! Thanks for your time and effort to put it together.

    Just a quick question about the time you applied for e-visa. Did you have your OCI application underway already at that point?

    I’m travelling to India soon, so am I able to get my OCI application underway as well as apply for a e-visa to travel to India in the meantime?

    Look forward to hearing from you.

    Gurpreet

    • Hi Gurpreet, thanks for your comment!

      Yes, that’s exactly what I did. The eVisa can be applied online without much hassle and minimum documentation from the comfort of your home. All you need is your laptop and scanned copies of your docs.

      Simultaneously, I had started my OCI process and only gave in my original British passport when I could.

      I hope that helps.

      Cheers

      • Hi Aman

        Thanks for all the helpful guides. I am going through process of getting british passport after naturalisation but also visiting India soon. The evisa application has a section which asks if you have visited India before presuming that everyone visiting India had visited on “a visa”, what about if I visited on my Indian passport. If I select no in that section that’s also not true because I have visited India before but I had Indian passport before. What would you suggest?

        • Hi Ash,

          You can select “No” as your answer needs to be based on you holding your new passport. When you held your Indian passport, you were a resident and technically not only visiting 🙂

          The form also asks about how you got your current citizenship and also what it was earlier (India) which should link all the information and make things clear for the VISA office.

          I hope this helps.

          I hope that helps.

  • Dear Aman,

    I have OCI status report dated July 30 2019 for my two kids.Obiviously their British passport is also needed to show them.Can I send all this by post or either me or my kids have to go personally to get OCI card.Kindly advise.

    • Hi Javid,

      You’d need to submit the passports in person – however, you don’t need to take your kids with you; you can submit it on their behalf.

      Cheers

  • 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 Amanji, Very good and nice job you have done. aaj kal koi kisi ke liye 5 mins bhi nikale to bhi bahut hai lakin aap ne ye bahut badha kam kiya hai.

    its helping many peoples. GOD BLESS YOU.

  • 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