Are you an OCI cardholder planning a trip to India? Here’s what you need to know

With Christmas and New Year’s holidays approaching, Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders across the world are travelling to India to be with their loved ones. However, a number of such travellers are reporting difficulties and are often not being allowed to board their flights because the passport number on their OCI cards and the number on their current passport do not match. 

The card allows the holder to visit India without a visa.
The OCI card allows the holder to visit India without a visa. Photo courtesy: YouTube

This has prompted Indian consulates around the world to issue the rules and regulations regarding OCI cards and new passports. 

So, if you are an OCI cardholder and are planning a trip to India, here’s what you need to know:

  1. For an OCI cardholder who is 20 years of age or younger, the OCI card must be renewed each time a new passport is issued.
  2. For an OCI cardholder who is 21 to 49 years of age, it is not mandatory to renew OCI card each time a new passport is obtained.
  3. For an OCI cardholder over 50 years old, OCI card must be renewed only once after the issuance of a new passport.
  4. If an OCI cardholder renews his/her foreign passport of 10-year validity any time between the ages of 41 to 49 which will remain valid till he/she attains the age of 51 to 59, the old OCI card would remain valid till he/she obtains a fresh passport.
  5. If the OCI card is issued for the first time after the age of 50 years, then there is no need for re-issuance of an OCI card in case a new passport is obtained. However, if the applicant so desires he/she can apply under Miscellaneous Services for re-issuance of the OCI card to reflect the updated passport number, change in personal particulars etc.
  6. As far as Indian immigration authorities are concerned, the OCI cardholders (excluding OCI cardholders mentioned at point 1 above) will be permitted to enter/exit India on the strength of the OCI card even if it contains the old passport number of the cardholder.

According to the Home Ministry of India, any person who is eligible to be a citizen of India on or after the Indian Constitution came into effect on January 26, 1950, or who was a citizen of a territory that became part of India after August 15, 1947 or a child, grandchild or great-grandchild of anyone eligible under these rules can be issued an OCI card. Spouses of Indians living abroad or OCI cardholders are eligible as well if their marriages have been duly registered.

The card allows the holder to visit India without a visa.