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Overseas Citizenship of India

The Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) Scheme was introduced by amending the Citizenship Act, 1955 in August 2005. The Scheme provides for registration as Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) of all Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) who were citizens of India on 26th January, 1950 or thereafter or were eligible to become citizens of India on 26th January, 1950 except 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.

A registered Overseas Citizen of India is granted multiple entry, multipurpose, life-long visa for visiting India, he/she is exempted from registration with Foreign Regional Registration Officer or Foreign Registration Officer for any length of stay in India, and 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'. Detailed instructions and procedures/benefits of the OCI Scheme are available on the OCI website: https://ociservices.gov.in/

Applicants Not Entitled To OCI Card:

  • OCI is not to be misconstrued as 'dual citizenship'. OCI does not confer political rights to vote.
  • To be a member of a Legislative Assembly or of a Legislative Council or of the Parliament of India.
  • To hold Indian constitutional posts such as that of the President, Vice President, Judge of the Supreme Court or High Court etc.
  • He/she cannot normally hold employment in the Government.
  • To undertake any Missionary work, Mountaineering and Journalism work without prior permission of the Govt. of India.
  • OCI cardholder shall also require Protected Area Permit (PAP)/ Restricted Area Permit (RAP) to visit any place which falls within the Protected/Restricted Area notified by the Government as in the case of any other foreigner.


Applicant Is Eligible For OCI Card If He/She Is:

  • A citizen of another country who was an Indian citizen during or after the commencement of the Constitution.
  • A citizen of another country who was eligible to become an Indian citizen during the commencement of the Constitution;
  • A citizen of another country who belonged to a territory that became a part of India after August 15, 1947;
  • A child, grandchild, or great grandchild of any of the three above-mentioned citizens;
  • A minor child of any of the four above-mentioned persons;
  • A minor child whose parents are both Indian citizens;
  • A minor child whose only one parent is an Indian citizen;
  • A foreign spouse of an Indian citizen who have been married for at least two years before applying for OCI card;
  • A foreign spouse of an OCI cardholder registered under section 7A who have been married for at least two years before applying for OCI card.


Complete OCI Card Application Process:

All OCI applications should be sent to the respective VFS Global Centers per your jurisdiction. VFS Helpline Number for OCI services: +1 800 320 9693

  1. Step 1 Identify OCI Application Category- This could be either for a brand-new application or an OCI renewal. Even miscellaneous OCI services are provided like when:
    • Applicant has a new passport.
    • Applicant's personal particular's viz. name, father's name, nationality, etc.
    • Request for loss/damage of OCI registration certificate/visa.
    • There is a change of address/occupation
    • Cancel or Renunciation of OCI
       
  2. Step 2 Complete the Online Application Form- By selecting the correct OCI Services. PIO cardholders should opt for the section that is in lieu of the valid PIO card. If you are applying as a family, each member will fill out an individual application online.
     
  3. Step 3 Registration At VFS Website
    • Each applicant should make an individual profile on the VFS Global website.
    • Opt for the respective state of residence as per the Consular Jurisdiction.
    • Opt for the respective passport category per your purpose of visit.
    • Opt for Mode of Submission as Postal since Covid-19 doesn't permit for in person applications until further notice.
       
  4. Step 4 submit Completed Physical Application to VFS Global- Please refer to Indian Embassy USA, to verify which center you should send your application to. Mail your physical application packet filled out in black ink to the respective VFS Indian Consular Application Centre. The send mode will be by post only and has to be chosen as the shipping method when registering. OCI applicants applying at the Mission which is out of the jurisdiction of their state of residence must use their own prepaid courier labels.
     
  5. Step 5 Await Receipt Notice visa Email- After 48 hours of receiving the application packet, VFS systems will be updated and you will receive an email notification.
     
  6. OCI Card Fees- The fees for issuance of fresh OCI cards is US $275. Any request for conversion of PIO card to OCI card will be charged a fee of $100.


Types Of Accounts Nri's Can Open

NRIs / PIOs / OCBs are permitted to open bank accounts in India out of funds remitted from abroad, foreign exchange brought in from abroad or out of funds legitimately due to them in India, with an authorized dealer. Such accounts can be opened with banks specially authorized by the Reserve Bank in this behalf. NRIs can open and operate the following three types of Bank accounts. That are described as below:

Accounts and features NRO NRE FCNR(B)
Purpose of Account To park Indian earnings like rent, Indian salary, dividend etc To park overseas savings remitted to India after converting to INR To park overseas savings without converting into INR
Who can open an account Any person resident outside India (other than a person resident in Nepal and Bhutan). Individuals / entities of Bangladesh/ Pakistan nationality / ownership as well as erstwhile OCBs require prior approval of RBI) NRIs (individuals / entities of Bangladesh/ Pakistan nationality/ ownership require prior approval of RBI) NRIs (individuals /entities of Bangladesh/ Pakistan nationality/ ownership require prior approval of RBI)
 
Nomination Permitted Permitted Permitted
Currency in which account is denominated Indian Rupees Indian Rupees Pound Sterling, US Dollar, Japanese Yen, Euro, Canadian Dollar and Australian Dollar
Account Types Savings Bank Account
Fixed Deposit
Current Account
Savings Bank Account
Fixed Deposit
Current Account
Fixed Deposit
Joint Holding Both with resident / non-resident Only with NRIs Only with NRIs
Tax deducted at source Subject to tax deducted at source Exempt from tax deducted at source Exempt from tax deducted at source
Repatriation of Principal The principal amount is not repatriable and can be used only for local payments. Funds up to USD 1 million (or equivalent) per financial year can be repatriated out of the balance held in NRO accounts for the education of your children, for medical expenses for your family and you, etc Freely Repatriable Freely Repatriable
Repatriation of Interest Freely Repatriable Freely Repatriable Freely Repatriable
Period for fixed deposits As applicable to resident accounts. At the discretion of the bank For terms not less than 1 year and not more than 5 years.
Rate of Interest Banks are free to determine their interest rates on savings deposits under NRO Accounts. However, interest rates offered by banks on NRO deposits cannot be higher than those offered by them on comparable domestic rupee deposits. Banks are free to determine the interest rates of saving have and term deposits of maturity of one year and above.
Interest rates offered by banks on NRE deposits cannot be higher than those offered by them on comparable domestic rupee deposits.
Subject to cap :
LIBOR / SWAP rates + 200 basis points  for tenor of 1 year to less than 3 years & LIBOR / SWAP rates + 300 basis points  for tenor of 3 years to 5 years (w.e.f. May 4, 2012) for the respective currency / corresponding maturities.
Operations by Power of Attorney in favor of a resident by the non-resident account holder. Operations on the account in terms of Power of Attorney are restricted to withdrawals for permissible local payments or remittance to the accountholder himself through normal banking channels. Operations on the account in terms of Power of Attorney are restricted to withdrawals for permissible local payments or remittance to the account holder himself through normal banking channels. Operations on the account in terms of Power of Attorney are restricted to withdrawals for permissible local payments or remittance to the accountholder himself through normal banking channels.
Loans
  1. In India
    1. to the Account holder
    2. to Third Parties
  1. Permitted
  2. Permitted
  1. Permitted up to Rs.100 lakhs
  2. Permitted up to Rs.100 lakhs
  1. Permitted up to Rs.100 lakhs
  2. Permitted up to Rs.100 lakhs
b. Abroad
  • to the Accountholder
  • to Third Parties
  • Not Permitted
  • Not Permitted
  1. Permitted
    (Provided no funds are remitted back to India and are used abroad only)
  2. Permitted
    (Provided no funds are remitted back to India and are used abroad only)
  1. Permitted
    (Provided no funds are remitted back to India and are used abroad only)
  2. Permitted
    (Provided no funds are remitted back to India and are used abroad only)
c. Foreign Currency Loans in India
  1. to the Account holder
  2. to Third Parties
  1. Not Permitted
  2. Not Permitted
  1. Not Permitted
  2. Not Permitted
  1. Permitted up to Rs.100 lakhs
  2. Not Permitted
Purpose of Loan
  1. In India
    1. to the Account holder
Personal requirement and / or business purpose
  1. Personal purposes or for carrying on business activities.
  2. Direct investment in India on non-repatriation basis by way of contribution to the capital of Indian firms / companies
  3. Acquisition of flat / house in India for his own residential use. (Please refer to para 6(a) of Sch.1 to FEMA 5)
  1. Personal purposes or for carrying on business activities.
  2. Direct investment in India on non-repatriation basis by way of contribution to the capital of Indian firms / companies
  3. Acquisition of flat / house in India for his own residential use. (Please refer to para 9 of Sch. 2 to FEMA5)

 

ii. to Third Party Personal requirement and / or business purpose Fund based and / or non-fund based facilities for personal purposes or for carrying on business activities *. (Please refer to para 6(b) of Sch. 1to FEMA 5) Fund based and / or non-fund based facilities for personal purposes or for carrying on business activities *. (Please refer to para 9 of Sch. 2 to FEMA 5).
b. Abroad
To the account holder and Third Party
Not permitted. Fund based and / or non-fund based facilities for bonafide purposes. Fund based and / or non-fund based facilities for bonafide purposes.


Process Of Account Opening

An NRE account or NRO account can be opened at any bank. Maintaining an NRE account is the best way to keep your savings in India. You can also invest your hard-earned foreign currency by opening an NRE fixed deposit through online NRI banking facilities. You can apply for an NRI account online through a Bank's website. You can fill the account opening form online and upload the scanned copy of required documents. Every NRI who has an interest in investing in India can open NRI account Online.

It has some excellent benefits which are not available in any other savings or current account. There are different types of NRI accounts to choose from. The interest earned on NRE account or NRO account is fully repatriable to overseas and you can always transfer funds through NRI banking. The interest on savings account varies from one bank to another. Before you open NRI account online you can check the benefits and eligibility for opening the account.

Documents required opening NRI account:
Like all Savings Accounts, few documents are required for opening NRI Account. Here is a list:

  • ID Proof- Photocopy of Valid Passport
  • ID Proof- Copy of Permanent Account Number (PAN)/ Form 60 (in absence of PAN)
  • Proof of NRI Status- Copy of valid visa/ work permit / Overseas Resident Card
  • Address Proof- The address on the document must be the same as the address mentioned in the application form
  • Along with the documents required for opening an NRI account, you also need to provide a photograph and an initial payment cheque/ draft from your own account.


Opening NRO/NRE account is very easy. You can open the account as online or offline.

  • For opening the account online, please click here.
  • For opening the account offline, please download the account opening form.
  • Duly filled account opening forms shall be mailed to your branch of choice along with the documents.


Foreign Currency Non Resident Account Deposit (FCNR)
With our FCNR Deposit scheme, you can hold your earnings in foreign currencies of your choice in India, that too with high returns. FCNR deposit account has a clear advantage that the customers' fund is protected from fluctuations in exchange rates. Moreover you can earn the interest on this deposit in the designated foreign currency.

  • FCNR accounts can be opened by a remittance from abroad in the designated currencies mentioned above.
  • The remittance can be by way of DD, TT, MT or personal cheque, traveler's cheques or foreign currency tendered by the account holder personally during temporary visit to India or transfer from existing NRE account of the depositor/ prospective third party depositor.
  • In the case of DD, it should be drawn on a bank in the country of the currency
  • Click here for list of corresponding banks
  • Please inform the branch in prior for making FCNR deposit and mention the purpose of remittance as FCNR Deposit while sending the remittance.

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