Govt plans to issue OCI cards for expatriate Indians

The government is considering a proposal to issue Overseas Citizen of India or OCI cards up to fifth or sixth generation of expatriate Indians, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said on Saturday.

Delivering the keynote address on the occasion of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, Swaraj said the proposal of issuing Aadhaar cards to Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) was also under consideration.

“So far Aadhar cards have been given to those Indians who live in India. It is not for Non-Resident Indians. But you will be happy to know that the prime minister wants the card to be given to the NRIs the way it is issued to people living in India,” she said, calling upon the Indian diaspora to join ‘Make in India’, ‘Skill India’ and ‘Digital India’ campaign launched by the Narendra Modi government.

The Person of Indian Origin or PIO cards were issued to expatriate Indians or their descendants only up to fourth generation.

  The Centre had in 2014 discontinued issuing the PIO cards and decided to issue only OCI cards to all. 

A foreign national can get an OCI card if he or she was eligible to become citizen of India on January 26, 1950, or was a citizen of India on or at any time after January 26, 1950, or belonged to a territory that became part of India after August 15, 1947.

The son or daughter or grandson or grand-daughter of such a foreign national can also get a OCI card provided his or her country of citizenship allows dual citizenship in some form or other under the local laws. The minor children of such person are also eligible for OCI cards. A person, however, will not be eligible to get a OCI card if he or she ever had been a citizen of Pakistan or Bangladesh.

After the discontinuation of the PIO scheme and its merger with OCI scheme, a person is eligible to get a OCI card if he or she at any time had held an Indian passport or he or she or either of his or her parents or grandparents was born in or was permanent resident in India, as defined in the Government of India Act, 1935, and other territories that became part of India thereafter.

The government was considering a proposal to expand the OCI’s eligibility criteria to entitle the descendants up to fifth or sixth generation of the expatriates to get the benefit.

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