Home Ministry Issues Notification Specifying Rights Of OCI Cardholders

Home Ministry Issues Notification Specifying Rights Of OCI Cardholders

The Central Government issued a notification dated 04th March 2021 indicating some rights to Overseas Citizen of India Cardholders (hereinafter referred to as “OCI Cardholders”).

The Hon’ble Home Minister indicated that the OCI Cardholders can submit an application for multiple entry lifelong visa for visiting India for any purpose.

However, the Hon’ble Home Minister mentioned that the OCI cardholder shall be required to obtain a special authorization/permit to visit India from the competent authority or the Foreigners Regional Registration Officer (hereinafter referred to as “FRRO”) or the Foreigners Registration Officer (hereinafter referred as to “FRO”) if the Indian mission visit is for following purposes:

  • to undertake research; 
  • to undertake any Missionary or Tabligh or Mountaineering or Journalistic activities; 
  • to undertake an internship in any foreign Diplomatic Missions or foreign Government organizations in India or to take up employment in any foreign Diplomatic Missions in India; 
  • to visit any place which falls within the Protected or Restricted or prohibited areas as notified by the Central Government or competent authority.

For any time period to stay in India and the exemption from registration with the FRRO or FRO, the OCI cardholders can also claim exemption from registration with the FRRO or FRO. Necessary to mention the OCI cardholders who are ordinarily resident in India shall intimate the FRRO or the FRO through email every time there is a change in permanent residential address and their occupation.

The Hon’ble Home Minister also stated that OCI Cardholders are equal to the Indian nationals and Non-Resident India (hereinafter referred as to “NRI”) in the matter of:

  • tariffs in air fares in domestic sectors in India; 
  • entry fees to be charged for visiting national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, national monuments, historical sites, and museums in India.

OCI cardholders are also given parity with NRI’s in the matter of: 

  • inter-country adoption of Indian children subject to the compliance of the procedure as laid down by the competent authority for such adoption; 
  • appearing for the all India entrance tests such as National Eligibility cum Entrance Test, Joint Entrance Examination (Mains), Joint Entrance Examination (Advanced), or such other tests to make them eligible for admission only against any Non-Resident Indian seat or any supernumerary seat.
  • purchase or sale of immovable properties other than agricultural land or farmhouse or plantation property; and
  • pursuing the following professions in India as per the provisions contained in the applicable relevant statutes or Acts as the case may be, namely:- 
  1. doctors, dentists, nurses, and pharmacists; 
  2. advocates; 
  3. architects; 
  4. chartered accountants;

In regard to all other economic, financial, and educational fields not specified in this notification or the rights and privileges not covered by the notification made by the Reserve Bank of India under the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (42 of 1999), the OCI cardholder shall have the same rights and privileges as a foreigner, the notification reads.

Sneh Somani
Experienced Legal Research Assistant with a demonstrated history of working in the law practice industry. Skilled in Journalism, Research, and Writing. Strong legal professional with a bachelor of arts and law focused in Law from Symbiosis Law School, NOIDA. Engrossed work in Gender studies and Women Empowerment and Contemporary Issues.