Overseas Citizenship of India - OCI

The place to apply for OCI is the embassy/consulate the jurisdiction for which your regular residence falls under.

For applicants in India you can directly send your application to the MHA or through the FRRO or CHO.Though experience says the FRRO's just act as 'postmen' so direct sending to the MHA is a faster bet.

The timelines between application and physically getting the OCI card currently averages 2.5 months.Consider a timeline of 1-4 months.If you are planning to visit India within this time keep your options for a visitor visa open as well.

If one of the potential applicants is below the age of 16 please consider a PIO card for now.There are no restrictions which hold to 'adult' PIO cards (Under 16's do not require FRRO registrations for long stay) and it will save you a lot of money.One can always convert to an OCI at a later date and even at the end of this conversion you will have saved yourself close to $100 as against going for an OCI directly.

To apply for OCI you need the following documents

1. Completed application Forms A (printed from website) & B in duplicate.
The form can be downloaded from the MHA website.You have two options:
a.Download and fill the entire form
b.Fill Part A online and Part B is to be handwritten

The pros of filling Part A online is that a reference number is generated immediately which can maybe make your application a bit faster.Of course you still have to print out Part A as well as Part B so there isnt a saving there.Also there is less chance of a mistake being committed by the authorities in India.The con of this is that the security of the data is questionable.
You have to print out two sets of the form regardless of which route you take.But to save time here is what you can do:Print out two sets of Part A.Print out one set of Part B and fill it in EXCEPT FOR THE SIGNING PART.Take a xerox of your filled in Part B.Sign both copies-there are two signatures per form.
In case there is a baby applying their thumbprint is required instead of their signature.There is also a special column in the form to be filled for the parent in case the application is for a minor.
The form is pretty straightforward.

2. Two Full copies of Indian Passport
Indian passport-Your own or your parents or your grandparents.
(If it is your own,please make sure it is cancelled or send the original along with your OCI application for cancellation)*Main Info page,*Photo page,Address page,Back cover page.

PIO card (If applicable)-* Main Information page,Back cover page

3. Two Full copies of Foreign (eg British) Passport
-*Main Info Page,*Photo page (if seperate),Place of Issue page (If seperate),Endorsements

3a. Additional documents
a) If you are a former Indian citizen:
*Naturalisation certificate

b) If OCI is based on parents passport:
*Birth certificate showing parent's name (Long form in US parlance) or School record.

c) If OCI is based on grandparent's passport:
*Birth certificate showing parents name
*Birth certificate (or other proof of relationship) between your parent and grandparent

You do not have to send any originals.The passport and PIO card are not to be sent at this stage.

4. All copied pages should have:-

Self Attested

5. 4 spare 35X35 Passport Photos excluding the two stuck on the two Form A's. (Check Photo specifications.)
The number of photographs required vary from place to place.Please check your embassy website for details.But you have to stick one photograph on each of the two copies of the form.So whatever number is given to you by your embassy you need that + 2 photographs.

Size of photographs also seems subject to much variation.In the end please remember that the embassy requires the photograph to be square roughly of the dimensions they mention.You can send the standard US passport size photo.If you send the Indian passport size photo they may accept it but the scan appears weird and elongated.

People can have their digital photo printed at their pharmacy/Walgreens.For someone with enough expertise they can do it on their computer with Adobe Photoshop and/or other softwares available for cropping digital pictures.Photograph should have a clear view of theface in any light coloured background (Though white is preferred)

6. Fee of 165.00/USD275.00 (Cash or Demand Draft) per applicant.
The payment is US$275 PER APPLICANT (irrespective of age) + return mail charges (amount varies as per location).If you have decided that you will pick it up in person do not send the mail charges.Most embassies do not offer a refund once the money is paid even if you go collect it personally.If you hold a PIO card your charges are US$25 + return charges.The conversion rates used by the embassies are not the same as the rates you see in the daily newspaper.Please contact the embassy for the exact amount in your currency.You have to send one DD/Banker's check for the full amount. In case you apply as a family there is an option to send one "mega-check" for the whole amount.It can save you in Bank Charges but if one application gets held up,all applications would be held up as they do not process the payment if something is not in order.Some banks give DD's for free.In that case just have seperate DD's made out for each family member.

7. In case of a family application (OCI) do all applicants physically need to be present at the counter at the time of filing the application?

For procedure on Cancellation of Indian Passports see: Cancellation section.

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