OCI holders may go to India on old cards on lifting of travel curbs.
Three weeks after barring travel to and from India by Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) card holders due to covid lockdown, India has extended the deadline for reissue of OCI cards till Dec 31.
As and when curbs on international air travel are lifted and OCI card’s status as a lifelong Indian visa is restored, OCI cardholders may be allowed to travel on the strength of existing OCI cards bearing old passport number, the Indian Embassy in Washington announced Monday.
However, this will be subject to the condition that the OCI cardholder will have to travel along with old and new passports and the OCI card having an old passport number, it said.
Under OCI guidelines in force since 2005, OCI card is required to be re-issued each time a new passport is acquired by the cardholder up to the age of 20 years.
OCI card is also required to be re-issued once on acquiring a new passport after completing 50 years of age.
Earlier, on Sunday India relaxed rules for travel by some categories of OCI card holders.
Permitted categories of OCI card holders include minor children born to Indian nationals abroad and holding OCI cards and those wishing to visit India on account of family emergencies like death in family.
Couples where one spouse is an OCI cardholder and the other is an Indian national and they have a permanent residence in India and University students whose parents are Indian citizens living in India are also permitted.
As of March 2019, over 3.25 million foreign citizens of Indian origin were registered as OCI with a right to live and work in India indefinitely.
India however put a freeze on that right on May 5 requiring OCI card holders to get visas to visit their motherland like other foreigners.
An order issued by Indian Ministry of Home Affairs kept in abeyance multiple-entry, life-long visa facility given to OCI card holders till international travel remains suspended.
However, OCI card holders who are already in India can stay in the country for any length of time. But those who wish to travel to India on their own “for compelling reasons” were required to get visas.