Foreigners married to Indians can heave a sigh of relief. They will not have to run around for their visas to visit or live in India.
The government has decided to amend the Citizenship Act that not only rechristens the “overseas citizen of India” but also extends the facility to foreigners married to Indians.
Foreigners married for more than two years in their country of origin would be entitled to be registered as an “Overseas Indian cardholder” (OIC).
Their requests, however, would first have to be vetted by the security establishment. Nationals of Pakistan and Bangladesh continue to be barred from getting the OIC, according to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill introduced in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday.
The OIC, however, would be withdrawn if the marriage is dissolved or the foreigner marries a third person.
Overseas Indian cardholders are allowed to acquire, hold, transfer, or dispose of immovable properties in India, except for agricultural properties and can travel to India without a visa.
Government officials said they had proposed to withdraw the nomenclature “Overseas Citizens of India” due to confusion that it granted citizenship to the card holders.
Also, it would be sufficient for an OIC to undertake short-term foreign travel before applying for Indian citizenship.