On January 21, 2022, the Indian government announced an extension of the filing deadline for reissuance of Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cards. Applicants may now file for reissuance of OCI cards through December 31, 2022. The government’s move to extend the deadline is a response to the ongoing disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Updated Guidelines for OCI Card Reissuance
Introduced in 2005, the Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) scheme allows certain individuals of Indian origin and their spouses to live and work in India without the need for an employment visa or work permit. The OCI card allows for unrestricted entry into India for the life of the cardholder, and confers other benefits, such as access to professions.
Under normal rules, OCI cardholders must periodically apply for reissuance of the OCI card. For example, up to age 20, cardholders must apply for reissuance of the OCI card each time a new passport is issued by uploading a copy of the new passport and a new photograph. Similarly, cardholders must also apply for reissuance and upload a new passport and photograph after turning age 20 and again after turning age 50.
However, according to the relaxed reissuance guidelines, only those individuals who receive a new passport after turning age 20 must apply for reissuance. Such individuals should complete an application online and then submit the required forms, documentation, and fees to the relevant Indian mission or visa application center in the applicant’s jurisdiction. As noted above, such individuals may now file for reissuance of OCI cards through December 31, 2022.
Upload Requirements Continue
Under the relaxed guidelines, individuals up to age 20 and turning age 50 who receive a new passport are exempt from the reissuance requirement, but must still upload a new passport and photograph within three months of receiving a new passport.
In addition, individuals who have obtained an OCI card on the basis of marriage to an Indian citizen or OCI cardholder must upload a copy of their new passport and photo online each time a new passport is issued. They must also upload a declaration confirming the underlying marriage and a copy of their spouse’s Indian passport and OCI card (as applicable).