India slackens rules for OCI cardholders

Travelling to India for OCI cardholders becomes hassle free

Diaspora

December 19, 2019

/ By / Kolkata

Rules for OCI cardholders relaxed till June 30, 2020

Rules for OCI cardholders relaxed till June 30, 2020

The Indian government relaxes certain OCI guidelines for reissue of passport for those below the age of 20 and above the age of 50.

India amends its recent Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) guidelines for re-issue of passports and allows the cardholders below the age of 20 and above the age of 50 to continue with their travel to India till June 30, 2020. The travellers are required to carry their old as well as new passports in addition to their OCI card, as per an official notification that was issued on December 17. The move has been appreciated by the Indian-American OCI card holders who in the last few months had complained incessantly about the inconveniences caused by both immigration authorities and airline officials while executing dormant laws which remained out of practice so far.

There had been instances when the traveller had to either return mid-way from places like Dubai and Singapore, or had to cancel their trip altogether.

The matter was highlighted only when Indian-American social activist Prem Bhandari, appealed to  Harsh Vardhan Shringla, the Indian ambassador in America to reach a solution through special attention towards public information and awareness campaigns in USA. Shringla then requested the Ministry of Home Affairs to adequately brief international airlines so that members of Indian diaspora travelling to India were not harassed at the airports.,

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) revealed that relaxation will be granted only under given circumstances: “In case an OCI card holder below the age of 20 years has not got OCI card re-issued on change of passport, he/she may travel on the strength of his/her existing OCI card bearing old passport number subject to the condition that along with the new passport, the OCI cardholder carries old passport mentioned in the OCI card. In case an OCI cardholder who has attained the age of 50 years and got his/her passport renewed subsequently but has not go his/her OCI card re-issued on renewal of passport, he/she may travel till June 30, 2020 on the strength of existing OCI card along with the new and old passports.”

Guidelines that have been in effect since 2005, entails the re-issuance of the OCI card each time a new passport is acquired by the cardholder up to the age of 20. The card needs to be re-issued upon completion of 50 years of age. It is not required of people holding OCI cards between the ages of 21 to 50 years to re-issue their OCI cards on every new passport they attain. The time-relief window given to the Indian diaspora is to facilitate speedy compliance with the existing guidelines.

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