Persons of Indian origin settled abroad, have persistently demanded dual nationality for several years from the Indian government. However, as the Constitution of India, does not allow holding Indian citizenship and citizenship of a foreign country at the same time. Dual citizenship has not been a awarded to former Indian citizens. After repeated demands from persons of Indian origin, the Government of India on 2.12.2005 announced the start of the Overseas Citizen of India scheme (OCI). By virtue of the Citizenship Act 1955, section 7A, foreign citizens who met the guidelines of being deemed to be of Indian origin, where allowed to register as 'Overseas Citizens of India'. This is commonly referred to by some people as dual citizenship. However OCI is not dual citizenship of India. Registration as an OCI provides the registrant, with an Indian visa for life, and some other specified benefits.
Excerpt from Citizenship Act, 1955 Section 7A (Extract from the
Citizenship Act, 1955)
7A. Registration of overseas citizens of India.- The Central Government may, subject to such conditions and restrictions as may be prescribed, on an application made in this behalf, register as an overseas citizen of India- (a) any person of full age and capacity,-(i) who is citizen of another country, but was a citizen of India at the time of, or at any time after, the commencement of the Constitution; or(ii) who is citizen of another country, but was eligible to become a citizen of India at the time of the commencement of the Constitution; or(iii) who is citizen of another country, but belonged to a territory that become part of India after the 15th day of August, 1947; or(iv) who is a child or a grand-child of such a citizen; or(b) a person, who is a minor child of a person mentioned in clause (a):Provided that no person, who is or had been a citizen of Pakistan, Bangladesh or such other country as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify, shall be eligible for registration as an overseas citizen of India.
OCI is not dual citizenship
There was initially some confusion created when OCI was announced. Some people assumed that OCI meant that they would be able to become dual citizens, get Indian citizenship and an Indian passport. OCI however, did not mean dual citizenship but allowed the benefit of visa free, lifetime travel to India, along with certain benefits by which OCI holders would be treated at par, with other non-resident Indian citizens in economic, financial and educational fields.Persons registered as OCI are not given Indian passports. OCI holders are given a passport like booklet that may look like a passport, but is basically a ceremonial document. This document, while it shows that the holder is registered as an overseas citizen of India, is not a valid travel document and is not accepted as a travel document at Indian airports. It is a requirement that those traveling to India must have their foreign passport, on which the OCI 'U' visa is stamped with them or they can be denied entry.The Indian government has clarified, via announcements and notices on their consulate websites, that OCI should not be confused as Indian citizenship. Some people however, still seem to think of OCI as dual citizenship. An OCI card is similar to a US. "green card" in that a holder can travel to and from India indefinitely, work in India, study in India, and own property in India (except for certain agricultural and plantation properties). OCI holders, however, do not receive an Indian passport, cannot vote in Indian elections, and are not permitted to work in any capacity for the government of India.
OCI REGISTRATION - LIFELONG VISA FOR INDIA
To apply for OCI now you MUST have Surrender Certificate
Everyone applying for OCI now must have proof of Renunciation of Indian citizenship such as a passport ‘Surrender Certificate’Detailed information on Renunciation and Passport Surrender is provided here