OCI Card Application - Step by Step Detailed Guide

Looking for the details on 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 2023.

If you’ve 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 an 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 here. I also covered the step-by-step procedure for my wife’s Indian passport renewal.

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 (and still get) 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! 😉

But before we jump into it and I show you everything you need, I need to ask you something.

Do you send money to India?

If you do and blindly trust your bank to send money to India, you’re doing it wrong! After losing lacs in hidden charges for years, I learnt from my mistakes and never used banks for international money transfers again.

Let me introduce you to the alternative money transfer services in the UK and show you how you could be losing thousands every month (without even realising it!). You can stop that TODAY – check out my personally curated best money transfer deals.

Be aware of how much you’re actually paying for your international money transfers and don’t trust any provider blindly (especially conventional banks) – do your research!

Okay, let’s get right into the OCI requirements in the UK.

OCI Application in the UK – Your Complete Guide

Here’s the entire process from start to finish covering EVERYTHING that you need to know about the 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 the 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, Linked In 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, still 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 (and thousands of others) followed to submit 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.

Okay, 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 applying for an Indian eVisa or a regular visa for India?

OCI (Overseas Citizenship of India) card is a multiple-entry lifetime 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.

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.

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

OCI Card Benefits and Disadvantages

You might think, “Aman, 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 lose your voting rights in India.

Still curious? Click here to find out OCI card benefits and disadvantages.

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 Indian 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 when I got my OCI. Can you please do me a favour and let me know what happens in your case? You can drop the info using the comments section at the end of this post – want to be sure before I update this post.]

Here’s what 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: London, Birmingham and Edinburgh.

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.

Want to know more about the “visible mark” question? Click here to find out What is Visible Mark on the OCI application?

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 the 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 the 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 a max size of 900×900 px.

I scanned my photograph and edited it to fit 200×200 pixels 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 the “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 the 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’re 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 the “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 can 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.

Important

As per the latest update to the OCI process (a rather silent one – yet again!), you can now upload all the supporting documents as part of your online application itself. No photocopy or original supporting documents needed to submit with your application. To upload multiple documents, combine them into a single PDF and upload under an available similar category. As per the notification, any application without all documents uploaded online won’t be accepted.

As you can imagine, this guide would yet again require an update (after the recent changes to the appointment booking portal). Please follow the VFS documents checklist list and upload them online instead, I’ll update this guide to move things around when I get a chance. Also, please add your updates and feedback about your experience, timelines, and any tips in the comments – that’s the only way we can have at least one guide on the internet that’s up to date – by coming together to help each other! 😉

Additional OCI documents (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.

You can combine the docs and upload a single pdf file if you want to.

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 got the OCI Application form, the 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 in the UK

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

The old Online Appointment System for VFS to book and reschedule appointments has now been closed. The process in this post has been updated for the new Appointment Booking System on the HCI (High Commission of India) website.

To book a prior OCI application appointment in the UK, follow the below steps:

  • Step #1. Go to this link and click “Schedule an Appointment” to access the Online Appointment System for VFS.
Online appointment booking for OCI - High Commission of India
  • Step #2. Select service as “OCI” and then select Location. The page will refresh and bring up the calendar with available slots.

Look for an available (GREEN) one and click on it to book it.

OCI Appointment Booking Selection High Commission of India Website - VFS UK

RED: Already booked or No service available on the day
GREEN: Appointments available
GREY: Slots not yet open for booking

The VFS appointment centre options for each jurisdiction are:

Jurisdiction (Mission to Select on Form)Location to Submit the Application
LondonVFS Goswell
VFS Hounslow
VFS Cardiff
VFS Belfast
BirminghamVFS Birmingham
VFS Bradford
VFS Leicester
VFS Manchester
EdinburghVFS Edinburgh

I booked my OCI appointment at VFS Hounslow which is one of the other two four options (now) for London jurisdiction (the other ones are Goswell, Cardiff and Belfast).

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.

Follow this link to find out your jurisdiction based on your county.

  • Step #3:Select a date and then, pick a time slot. Once you have selected a date and time for your VFS appointment, the below two fields will be filled for you based on your date-time selection.
    • Date of submission of application
    • Appointment Time
  • Step #4 (Last Step): Now, enter Applicant Details (shown below).
    • Name of the applicant as given on passport
    • Passport Number
    • Email ID
    • Mobile Number

If you’re applying together as a family, you can at this point select the option and add the names and passport numbers for your family members. A family of three persons can book a single appointment. If you’re booking the appt. for more than three people, you can split them into multiple groups and book another appointment.

Enter Applicant Details - VFS appointment for OCI application in the UK

Click “Schedule Appointment Now” to proceed.

At this point, 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 with a summary of your appointment details.

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

OCI appointment – What happens on the day?

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

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 center

Important

As per the latest update to the OCI process (a rather silent one – yet again!), you can now upload all the supporting documents as part of your online application itself. No photocopy or original supporting documents need to be submitted with your application. To upload multiple documents, combine them into a single PDF and upload under an available similar category. As per the notification, any application without all documents uploaded online won’t be accepted. As you can imagine, this guide would yet again require an update (after the recent update to the appointment booking portal. Please follow the below list and upload them online instead, I’ll update this guide to move things around.

Here’s a checklist of 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 the 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 on case by case.

If you are planning on visiting India anytime soon, you need to consider the OCI processing time so it fits with your itinerary and plans. If you cannot apply for an 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 – follow my detailed guide here!)

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 expensive compared to the Royal Mail option.


OCI Card UK: Wrapping Up

I hope this detailed guide helps you in the 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 anymore.

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

When I started to prepare my OCI application, I had a lot of 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: Maybe, you have a question?

Drop me a quick comment below. I personally reply to comments and questions that come in. However, I’m a one-man team in this area and my response could sometimes be delayed. Please sift through the comments already on there as most scenarios have already been answered.

You can also try using Ctrl/Cmd + F to find the phrase you’re after. To keep the community vibe going, I have decided not to switch off comments as they help in keeping the guide up to date that helps everyone.

If you found the guide helpful, please don’t forget to share it with your friends, colleagues and family members. Please also spread the word and consider leaving us a review on Trustpilot – means the world to me.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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 features 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 the 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 printout 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 the 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, duplicate OCI documents are issued only after a personal interview.

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397 Comments

  1. Hi Aman,
    Appointment completed 14Feb22.
    To help other members here, I am posting a few points after the OCI application submission at BirminghamVFS.
    (1) They took the original surrender certificate and original British passport. Said these will be returned in a week.
    (2) Both times (surrender and OCI applicaiton), it was a struggle to get them to accept our own envelopes as they kept threatening that Royal Mail can take months and that they are not responsible about it. It is an illegal rip off by VFS to charge 15/- for a courier service. For surrender, we insisted on using our own Royal Mail special delivery and it worked well. This time, we asked for British passport to be returned using their 15/- rip off service (oops courier) and OCI card our own envelope. When all their intimidation tactics failed, they then refused to accept our envelope saying (1) it is too big (2) it is a used envelope and they wont be sealing the envelope. In the end we gave up and purchased 15+8 = 23. If we were not planning a travel, I would pay no more than 8+8 = 16.

    The whole Surrender and OCI process need to be streamlined by India, and they should reduce the need of 2 vistis (in all honesty, I fail to see why it can all not be done by post in the UK!)

    1. Hey Shanthi,

      Thanks for sharing your experience.

      Regarding your point 2), I can see VFS pushing people into using their own courier service using fear and sales tactics but there is nothing wrong with using the RoyalMail ones. I’ve tweeted the VFS customer care here. Please retweet it so it gets some traction so they can answer our query. 😉

      https://twitter.com/comparism_/status/1495695770300911619

      Regarding your point about surrender and OCI separate applications, I couldn’t agree with your more. I hope in the coming years, they combine them reducing the hassle.

      Cheers
      Aman

      1. will retweet!

        On a positive note, Appointment 14-Feb-22, Acknowledgement by Birmingham Consulate 15-Feb-22, Passport and Surrender Cert received 17-Feb-22

        On a not so positive note, Birmingham IHC has changed OCI timeline as 4-12 weeks for fresh!!! (previously it was 4-6 weeks on the site and VFS said 6 weeks)

        By the way, your site does not send any follow-up comments email to me….

        1. Hey Shanthi, Thanks for your update here.

          I think that’s the promised SLA they’ve updated but the process shouldn’t take that long from what I am hearing from the people who successfully got their OCIs after following my guide.

          Thanks for letting me know about the comments. Did you confirm the optin as I have set it to only send emails if you agree to receive them by clicking the confirmation link delivered to your email?

          Cheers.

          1. Thanks Aman. (1) we got OCI in about 4 weeks (posted timeline and details in a new comment)
            The notifications have been coming through fine now – thanks

  2. You are a lifesaver ! The official guides were as clear as mud and had too much unnecessary and confusing information. Not written for the user in a hurry at all ! I was just look for a step by step guide without the jargon and this article is fantastic !

      1. Hi Aman, I made a comment with our experience at VFS Birmingham, thought it will be useful to others.
        But as before, the post is not here …

        1. Hey Shanthi, The comments go into a moderation queue – your comment has been approved now. Thank you for sharing your update here, appreciate it. 🙂

  3. Hi Ambi,

    Thanks much for your kind comment – I’m glad you found this useful. 🙌🏼
    Please consider leaving us a review on Trustpilot, and subscribing to my free newsletter.

    Regarding your query, the requirement now is indeed to use the same photo as the one you used on the digital form. The size needs to be 2x2inch (50x50mm).

    Your options are:

    • Take the digital copy (that you uploaded) to a Boots photo service (or something similar around your area) and get them printed
    • If you have a printer, you can print at home. You’ll need photo paper.
    • Or, you can use this online service; you can upload your photo for a printed version to be delivered at your home (https://comparism.com/go/ivisa-photos/)

    All the best!

    Thanks
    Aman

    1. Thx Aman , information you wrote about OCI is Very useful . With your guidance I got my and my son OCI today

      1. Thanks a lot, Mr Dhillon 😊

        I’m glad you found it useful. I hope you didn’t mind adding your timeline here so others could have a reference – thanks, really appreciate it.

        Also, please consider leaving a review on Trustpilot, would mean the world. 🙌🏼

        Cheers
        Aman

        1. Hi Aman ,thanks for your guide , its brilliant
          i was literally back from vfs , Cardiff for an oci submit 11/02/2022 even i’ve got couple of doubts ,
          do i need to take one more appointment to collect docs ,i was upload docs under marriage and pio i got no option for them
          vfs guys told me its okay ?

          Thanks
          Sun

          1. Hi Sun,

            Sorry for the late reply. Comparism readers who used this guide have been telling me, the second visit is no longer required. Your OCI card and the supporting documents are now returned to you by mail.
            Yes, uploading between categories is not a major issue.

            Cheers

      2. Hi Mr Dhillon, will be very helpful if you can clarify a couple of points, our appointment is day after.
        (1) did you have to submit British Passport? If so, how soon did you get that and other original documents back?
        (2) what return delivery service did you use
        Thanks in advance

  4. Hi Aman,

    I recently applied for OCI in London.

    1. On address proof just wanted to add they did accept mobile bill, payslip which has address on it and a letter from my bank Lloyds. You do not necessarily need a utility bill or rental agreement.

    2. They do not take your british passport original. Just need it with you to verify it. And you do not need to go back a 2nd time to vfs to give your british passport. They do not need the original at all.

    3. They do accept the royal mail A4 silver envelope. No need for a hard cover envelope to be given to them.

    4. All documents being submitted need to be self attested. They made me self attest everything i was submitting to VFS.

    They did say OCI currently as of 21.01.2022 is being issued very quickly and did tell me i should receive it in 2-3 weeks.

    Hope this helps anyone looking for advice.

    1. They took our British Passport. It was returned in just a few days in one of the two courier envelopes (we paid £15 for the first courier as we needed passport for travel and opted for the £8 courier for OCI card itself)

  5. Hi Aman

    Thank you very much for the comprehensive and helpful guide.

    Do you (or anyone else) know about a possible issue with viewing uploaded documents? The 3rd document I have uploaded (Indian Origin Proof) seems unviewable. Everytime I try to view it to verify, it gives me an error saying ‘Error loading pdf’. I have tried re-uploading as well but no luck. The file size is well under 1 MB.

    I am thinking of starting a fresh application to see if that would help and just abandon this one.

    Mohammed

    1. Hi Mohammed, thanks for your comment. 🙏

      Please check if your PDF filename has any special characters? Try once without any (with only alphabets).

      Hope this was the issue.

      Leaving this open for others to add their view as well. 🙂

      Cheers.

      1. Hi Aman, thanks for accepting my comment.

        I found the issue.

        The problem is not the file, it is the category of ‘Indian Origin Proof’ itself.

        I tried uploading another file under this category (a file that had successfully uploaded under another category and was viewable) and it had the same issue. I also tried uploading my Indian Origin Proof document under another category and guess what, it worked fine. There is definitely something broken about the ‘Indian Origin Proof’ category at the moment.

        Obviously, I had to upload my passport and surrender certificate somewhere. So I uploaded it under the ‘Indian Visa’ category and added an explanatory page at the start of my UK passport pdf, explaining the situation.

        I have my appointment at VFS in Edinburgh on February 2nd. I will update this thread as my application progresses. Hopefully it should be ok!

        Mohammed

      2. Hi Aman

        I have had so much headache trying to apply for an OCI on multiple occasions, the process is so longwinded and complicated…gave up and thought I would try it again.

        I stumbled across you ‘very detailed’ guidance – absolutely AMAZING!! THANK YOU!!
        You have made it so easy to follow. My only concern is the photo I have uploaded on the application form is a digital photo and don’t have 2 more that I need when visiting the office – do you think this will suffice?

        Thanks again – your guidance is excellent!!
        Ambi

      3. this issue now seems resolved, I am able to view the Indian Origin Proof, but decided to leave repeat copy of the same I had uploaded in Visa category

    2. I have the same issue. Did a new application, the third document passport and related are 900kb, pdf, but no matter what it is not viewable. hope this helps

      1. An update that Mohammad’s solution worked.
        Also, Aman, my posts do not seem to appear in the Surrender or OCI sections.
        The Application form seems to have changed a bit in the last couple of weeks

        1. Hey Shanthi, Thanks for your update here.

          I can see your earlier comment on the OCI post? Are you facing any issues? Please let me know.

          Also, can you please let me know if anything specific? Anyways, we are going to be applying for OCI in a month or so. So that would be a great opportunity to have the updated 2022 version (with all new screenshots etc) that should then help others for years to come 😉

          Thanks.

  6. Hi Aman Bhaji, I want to share timeline for OCI. First of all I want to thankyou that I followed step by step guideline on the comparison website. Very well explained and easy to follow all the steps.
    vfs Edinburgh appointment 29th Nov.21,
    1st December 21 acknowledgment,
    5th Jan OCI Processed and printed,
    6th Dispatched from New Delhi and today 12th Jan 2022 I received my brand new OCI via special delivery.

    I hope this helps and everyone get their OCI very soon.

    Many Thanks,
    Sukhdeep.

    1. Congratulations!
      If you had to upload all documents along with the application, please update as requested by Aman in this guide above:
      Did you have to make 2 visits to VFS or was the British passport collected at the first visit and returned?
      Did you require photocopies of everything?

  7. Hi Aman,

    Great guide – I just went by the step by step as prescribed for both surrendering passport and processing the OCI. I have had no major issues. My OCI status says PROCESSED. SO I presume I should get the card in 2 weeks or hopefully less.

    But I had one thing to point out which was a hickup for me. They asked me for an attested Offer Letter (attested by Manager) or Payslips. I had payslips handy, so could go out and get a quick print.

    Another thing is that it was an OCI for me. I had not applied for my wife who is Greek. But they insisted that I should provide the copy of wife’s passport. Thought it should be added to the new list of rules.

    Hope this helps.

    Best Regards,
    Dhiraj

  8. Hi Aman,

    Recently i applied for OCI for my 5yr old kid details below –
    Application submitted – 3rd November
    Application acknowledged – 5th November
    Received Passport and other documents after verification – 15th November
    Application PROCESSED and printing – 30th November
    OCI card despatched from Delhi and received in London – 2nd December
    Waiting for OCI card now.

    When i raised case with OCI helpdesk they are telling still the application is UNDER-PROCESS but as per status its already processed and sent to London.Kid tickets booked for 9th december.

    If i dont receive OCI on time, can he travel to india carrying the OCI number or does he need to wait till he gets OCI?
    Also, howmany days it will take for VFS london to despatch OCI card to applicant?

    Could you please shed some light on my queries.

    Really appreciate your help.

    1. Hi Sriram,

      First of all, my apologies for the late reply. I hope you got your son’s OCI in time and that he is getting to travel as planned.

      As far as I understand, unfortunately, the immigration officers in India will require a physical card and not just the number. Having said that, I haven’t come across this scenario before so curious to hear back from you.

      All the best, brother. Would you please mind letting me know how it goes?

      Regards
      Aman

  9. Hi Aman,

    I am currently in process of applying OCI for my family of 4. I have filled online application and now need to book appointment at VFS to physically submit application. I am from Birmingham jurisdiction but there are no appointments available in any VFS in Birmingham jurisdiction. I am thinking to resubmit application in London jurisdiction and submit application at VFS Belfast because there are many appointments. I have couple of queries on this

    – Do we need to visit VFS twice, if yes then do we need to same VFS second time to submit British passport when OCI application status shows approved? Or we can visit any VFS in that jurisdiction?
    – I am planning to visit on my own to submit application on behalf of my wife and kids. I will take an authorisation letter from my wife. Is there anything else I need to carry?

    If anyone can answer who has recently submitted OCI application then it will be really helpful.

    Thanks
    Jayesh

    1. Hi Jayesh,

      Thanks for your patience. Please refer to this comment I made on this topic earlier: https://comparism.com/oci-card/#comment-6310.

      Also, I’m leaving this thread open if anyone who recently got their OCI or was in a similar situation might want to add.

      You’ll be fine to attend the appointment on your family’s behalf.

      Cheers
      Aman

  10. Hi Piyush, Yes, sorry I completely forgot about the temporary eVisa suspension for British citizens.

    You can try calling VFS at +442037938629 or 09057570045 Monday – Friday 08:30 hrs – 17:30 hrs (except for holidays).

    Alternatively, drop an email to [email protected]

    All the best mate.