India to cancel some OCI cards: Know about eligibility, benefits, restrictions and more

Sep 25, 2023 01:30 PM IST

The Indian government plans to cancel OCI registration of pro-Khalistan card holders amid a diplomatic standoff with Canada over Trudeau's allegations.

The Indian government is in the process of cancelling the registration of over a dozen Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) card holders for carrying out pro-Khalistan activities and anti-India propaganda, reported HT's sister publication Live Mint quoting two persons aware of the matter. The development comes amid a diplomatic standoff between New Delhi and Ottawa over the latter's unsubstantiated claims about the alleged involvement of Indian agents in the killing of designated Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada in June.

India has already suspended visa services for Canadian citizens and has also directed to cut its diplomatic staff in India. (HT File Photo/Vijay Bate)
India has already suspended visa services for Canadian citizens and has also directed to cut its diplomatic staff in India. (HT File Photo/Vijay Bate)

India has already suspended visa services for Canadian citizens and has also directed to cut its diplomatic staff in India.

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A dossier put up by Indian intelligence – seen by HT – shows the thriving network of Khalistan terror on Canadian soil despite repeated requests from India to rein in pro-Khalistani activities. The proposed cancellation of OCI cards of pro-Khalistani elements is seen as India's tough stance against the unproved allegations by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

A total of 4.06 million OCI registration cards were issued till January 31, 2022, according to information available on the ministry of external affairs website.

What is Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI)?

Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) is a special immigration status and visa category that the Government of India provides to people of Indian origin who are foreign citizens or foreign nationals. This status was introduced in response to demands from the Indian diaspora, particularly those who may have held Indian citizenship at some point or have Indian ancestry.

Here are some key points about Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI):

Eligibility: OCI is typically available to individuals who can prove their Indian origin. This includes people who were citizens of India on or after January 26, 1950, or who were eligible to become citizens of India at that time. It also covers their descendants, such as children and grandchildren.

Benefits: OCI status provides several benefits, including the ability to travel to India without requiring a visa, the ability to own property in India, and the ability to open bank accounts and make investments in India. OCI holders are also eligible for certain educational and employment opportunities in India.

Restrictions: While OCI status offers many privileges, it does come with some restrictions. For example, OCI holders cannot vote in Indian elections, hold certain government positions, or acquire agricultural land in India. They also do not have the same political rights as full Indian citizens.

Application Process: To obtain OCI status, individuals typically need to apply through the Indian embassy or consulate in their country of residence. The application process involves submitting various documents to establish their Indian origin and paying the required fees.

Dual Citizenship: OCI is not the same as full Indian citizenship, and it does not grant the same rights and responsibilities as Indian citizens. India does not allow dual citizenship, so individuals with OCI status are still considered citizens of their respective countries of nationality.

Renewal: OCI cards are typically issued for a lifetime. However, there may be a need to renew the card in certain situations, such as when the cardholder obtains a new passport.

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