Foreign Origin Spouse of Indian Eligible for Overseas Citizen of India Card, Says MHA

New Delhi: The foreign-origin spouse of any Indian national or an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholder will now be eligible for obtaining the privileged OCI card, which grants multiple entry, multi-purpose, life-long visa for visiting the country, the home ministry said on Tuesday.

The ministry has also simplified the process of renunciation of Indian citizenship, providing relief to Indians who have applied for foreign passports.

In a notification, the ministry said a person, who is a foreign-origin spouse of a citizen of India or of an OCI cardholder, and who fulfil the laid down conditions shall be eligible to apply for registration as OCI cardholder. So far, they were not allowed to apply for this facility.

A registered OCI is granted multiple entry, multi-purpose, life-long visa for visiting India. He or she is exempted from registration with Foreign Regional Registration Officer or Foreign Registration Officer for any length of stay in India, an official said.

The person is entitled to general parity with Non-Resident Indians in respect of all facilities available to them in economic, financial and educational fields except in matters relating to the acquisition of agricultural or plantation properties.

The OCI card scheme was launched during the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas convention 2006 in Hyderabad. The scheme provides for registration as Overseas Citizen of India of all Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) who were citizens of India on January 26, 1950 or there after or were eligible to become citizens of India on January 26, 1950 except who is or had been a citizen of Pakistan and Bangladesh.

The home ministry has also amended the Citizenship Rules, 2009, related to the declaration of renunciation of citizenship.

A declaration of renunciation of citizenship of India shall be made by a citizen of India in the prescribed form and on receipt of the declaration of renunciation of citizenship of India, the authority concerned will process it, the notification said.

On being satisfied about the correctness of the particulars of the declaration made under the relevant rule, the declaration will be registered by the authority concerned and a certificate of renunciation of Indian citizenship will be issued to the declarant, it said.

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