21 June 2021 19:42

Indian Government rolls out new OCI rules; Check how this will impact you

Indian Government has made a new development for Overseas Citizens of India (OCI).

An OCI Cardholder (including a PIO cardholder), according to the Government notification is a:

“foreign national holding passport of a foreign country and is not a citizen of India.”

The Ministry of Home Affairs has issued a new notification on March 4.

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This new notification issued under Section 7B of the Citizenship Act, 1955 will supersede the 3 earlier notifications issued on April 11, 2005January 5, 2007, and January 5, 2009.

Indian Parliament has delegated to the Government of India via Section 7 B of the Citizenship Act, the power to decide the rights of OCIs through notifications.

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All earlier notifications laid down the rights of the OCIs with reference to the Indian state.

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The Indian Government has specified the following rights to the OCI cardholder:

  • grant of multiple entry lifelong visa for visiting India for any purpose – Provided that for undertaking the following activities, the OCI cardholder shall be required to obtain a special permission or a Special Permit, as the case may be, from the competent authority or the Foreigners Regional Registration Officer or the Indian Mission concerned, namely:- (i) to undertake research; (ii) to undertake any Missionary or Tabligh or Mountaineering or Journalistic activities; (iii) to undertake internship in any foreign Diplomatic Missions or foreign Government organisations in India or to take up employment in any foreign Diplomatic Missions in India; (iv) to visit any place which falls within the Protected or Restricted or prohibited areas as notified by the Central Government or competent authority;;
  • exemption from registration with the Foreigners Regional Registration Officer or Foreigners Registration Officer for any length of stay in India – Provided that the OCI cardholders who are normally resident in India shall intimate the jurisdictional Foreigners Regional Registration Officer or the Foreigners Registration Officer by email whenever there is a change in permanent residential address and in their occupation;
  • parity with Indian nationals in the matter of (i) tariffs in air fares in domestic sectors in India; and (ii) entry fees to be charged for visiting national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, the national monuments, historical sites and museums in India;
  • parity with Non-Resident Indians in the matter of (i) inter-country adoption of Indian children and appearing for the all India entrance tests;
  • purchase or sale of immovable properties other than agricultural land or farm house or plantation property; and
  • pursuing the following professions in India (a) doctors, dentists, nurses and pharmacists; (b) advocates; (c) architects; (d) chartered accountants.

In addition, the notification now equates OCIs to “foreign nationals.”

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This is mainly in respect of “all other economic, financial and educational fields” for the purposes of the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 2003 although past circulars by the Reserve Bank of India under FEMA will hold ground.

Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi at an informal meeting of heads of state and government of the BRICS countries Hamburg 2017
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Do you think declaring OCIs as “foreign nationals,” is in the best interest of the Narendra Modi led Indian Government? 

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