OCI Application: VFS OCI Card Application In the USA

Written By: Armando Du Preez
Fact Checked By: Richard Nathan

Aug 29, 2022

17 min read

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You have probably heard about something called the "OCI Card." You are in the right place if you have but do not know what it means. In this post, I will tell you everything about the OCI Card.

In this post, we'll cover information such as what is an OCI Card, who can apply for the OCI Card, the required documents, and the application process.

Let's get your OCI Card:

What Is A OCI Card?

As I mentioned earlier, you probably have heard of the OCI card, but what does it mean? The Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) is a Smart Card issued to Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) who emigrated from India and then obtained citizenship in another nation.

The OCI card is a travel document that allows holders to travel to and from India without needing a visa. The card is valid for the holder's lifetime, and there are no restrictions on the number of times the holder can enter or exit India. The OCI card holder also enjoys all the rights and privileges of a regular Indian citizen, including the right to work and live in India.

It is essential that you understand the OCI Card is not considered dual citizenship. It only serves as a way of multiple entries to India instead of an India visa for US citizens.


What Do I Need To Know About The New OCI Card Registration?

Okay, now you know the meaning of the OCI Card. However, there is still some important information you must know before applying for your OCI Card. In this section, I will explain who can apply for the OCI Card, the OCI Card fee, and the processing time.

For the first few sections of this post, I will mainly focus on the requirements and application process of registering a new OCI Card. This will include information such as the registration of a new OCI Card required documents and a new OCI application process. Please use the links provided if you want to navigate each section.

After the new registration of an OCI application process, I will explain the different OCI services.

Who Can Apply For The OCI Card?

You're probably asking who can apply for the OCI Card? Before applying for the OCI Card, you must meet specific requirements. Please note that if you, your parents, grandparents, or great grandparents are or were citizens of Pakistan or Bangladesh, you may not register as an Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder. Please find below the requirements that foreign nationals must meet before applying for the OCI Card:

  • If you were a citizen of India at the time of, or at any time after January 26, 1950
  • If you were eligible to become a citizen of India on January 26, 1950
  • If you belonged to a territory that became part of India after August 15, 1947
  • If you are a child, grandchild, or a great-grandchild of such a citizen
  • If the applicant is a minor child of such persons mentioned above
  • If the applicant is a minor child whose parents are citizens of India or one of the parents is a citizen of India

Please keep in mind that this only applies to PIO that has gained citizenship in a foreign country outside India.

Where Can I Apply For My OCI Card?

You can apply for your OCI Card at any Indian Mission/Post in the United States. However, you can only apply for your OCI Card through VFS Global. Don't worry about the application just yet because I will give you an 8-step application guide on how you can apply for your new OCI Card. Later I will also explain the different OCI Services and essential information about each.

Do I Need To Renunciate My Indian Citizenship?

Because India does not allow dual citizenship, you must first file for renunciation of Indian citizenship before seeking an OCI card. In addition, you must surrender your Indian passport if you have one.

What Is The Fee For A New OCI Card?

As you might have guessed, you must pay an OCI Card fee before granting it. Please remember that the OCI service fee below only applies to registering a new OCI Card. Later in this post, I will explain the important information about the different OCI services.

  • New OCI Card registration: 275 USD (Excl. courier and label fees)

Mandatory fees that must be paid when applying for any OCI service:

  • ICWF (Indian Community Welfare Fund): 3 USD
  • VFS Global Visa Service Fee: 15.90 USD

What Is The Processing Time For A New OCI Card?

The processing time for a New OCI Card can take between 5-6 weeks. I know this looks pretty long, but note that once your required documents reach the Consulate General of India, it is only processed after 48 hours.

Can I Renew My OCI Card?

The OCI card is considered a lifelong visa and does not require reapplication. However, the OCI registration certificate and visa must occasionally be re-issued to keep records current. In the following situations, you must apply to re-issue your OCI Card:

  • If you are under 20, you must re-issue your OCI Card each time you get a new passport
  • Once you turn 50, you must apply for an re-issuance of your OCI Card
  • If your documents change, you must get a new OCI Card. An example will be if you get a new passport between the ages of 20 and 50.

Can I Still Use My PIO Card?

There's good news! The deadline for foreign nationals of Indian descent to change their PIO cards to OCI cards has been extended again. The government of India had previously set a deadline of December 31, 2021. However, according to a recent news statement from Indian Missions around the world, the new deadline for PIO cardholders to obtain the OCI Card is December 31, 2022.


What Are The Required Documents For A New OCI Card?

Before beginning the OCI Card application process, you must gather the required documents. This section is divided into USA nationals by birth and USA nationals by naturalization.

Required Documents For Adults: USA National By Birth

If you were born in the USA, but your parents were Indian nationals, you must submit the following documents:

  • Government online application form
  • Photograph and signature
  • Proof of OCI Card fee payment
  • Birth certificate
  • Current passport information page copy (your passport number and details must be visible)
  • Parents' Indian passport
  • Signed copy of your consent letter
  • Proof of marital status (copy of marriage certificate, divorce decree, or death certificate)
  • Proof of address (utility bill, mortgage, income tax return, etc.)
  • US passport information page (foreign passport)
  • Courier label (FedEx prepaid labels are not accepted)

Required Documents For Adults: USA National By Naturalization

Perhaps you are a USA citizen, but you were born in India. In that case, you must submit the following documents when applying for a new OCI Card:

  • Government online application form
  • Photograph and signature
  • Proof of OCI Card fee payment
  • Current passport information page copy (your passport number and details must be visible)
  • Copies of Indian passport (first 2 and last 2 pages)
  • Proof of renunciation of Indian citizenship
  • Naturalization certificate
  • Signed copy of your consent letter
  • Proof of marital status (copy of marriage certificate, divorce decree, or death certificate)
  • Proof of address (utility bill, mortgage, income tax return, etc.)
  • Courier label (FedEx prepaid labels are not accepted)

What Are The Required Documents For Minors?

Okay, now you are sorted if you apply for the OCI Card, but what if you apply for a minor? Don't stress because we've got you covered. This section will explain what documents you must submit when applying for a minor.

Required Documents For Minors: USA National By Birth

If you are applying for a minor that was born in the USA, you must submit the following documents:

  • Government online application form
  • Photograph and signature
  • Proof of OCI Card fee payment
  • Birth certificate
  • Current passport information page copy (your passport number and details must be visible)
  • Parents' Indian passport
  • Signed copy of your consent letter (signed by parents)
  • Proof of parents' marital status (copy of marriage certificate, divorce decree, or death certificate)
  • Proof of parent's address (utility bill, mortgage, income tax return, etc.)
  • Parents' US passport information page (foreign passport)
  • Parents' legal status (Holding a non-US passport)
  • Courier label (FedEx prepaid labels are not accepted)
  • Name change affidavit (if applicable)
  • Copy of parents' OCI Card (if applicable)

Required Documents For Minors: USA National By Naturalisation

Perhaps you are applying for a minor, but the minor was not born in the USA. In that case, you must use these documents below for the OCI Card application:

  • Government online application form
  • Photograph and signature
  • Proof of OCI Card fee payment
  • Current passport information page copy (your passport number and details must be visible)
  • Copies of Indian passport (first 2 and last 2 pages)
  • Proof of renunciation of Indian citizenship
  • Naturalization certificate
  • Signed copy of your consent letter
  • Proof of parents' marital status (copy of marriage certificate, divorce decree, or death certificate)
  • Proof of parents' address (utility bill, mortgage, income tax return, etc.)
  • Parents' US passport information page (foreign passport)
  • Parents' legal status (Holding a non-US passport)
  • Courier label (FedEx prepaid labels are not accepted)

What Are The Required Documents When A Foreign Spouse Applies For A New OCI Card?

The last required documents section when applying for a new OCI Card is for the Spouse of foreign origin of a citizen. Here is a list of the documents you must submit during your OCI Card application process:

  • Government online application form
  • Photograph and signature
  • Proof of OCI Card fee payment
  • Self-attested photocopy of passport
  • Apostilled marriage certificate
  • Name change affidavit (provide original affidavit)

How To Apply For A New OCI Card In The US?

I can only assume you feel bombed with soo much information, but finally, we are at the application process. Remember to only use the 8 steps below when applying for a new OCI Card. Later in this post, I will explain the different OCI Card services.

Step 1: Identify The OCI Card Category

The first step is identifying the OCI Card service you want to use. As I mentioned throughout the first section of this post, I will explain the registration of a new OCI Card.

Step 2: Gather The Required Documents

Before starting your OCI Card application, you must gather the required documents. Please take note that the required documents vary between adults and minors.

Step 3: Complete The OCI Online Application Form

After you have gathered your required documents, you can start completing your online application form. At the start of the online application form, you will select the type of OCI Card service you want to use.

Please use the online application form guide if you struggle with anything.

If you need to travel to India due to an emergency, I advise you to apply for the India Emergency Visa

Step 4: Complete Your Mail-In Application Registration And Pay The Application Fee

After submitting your documents online, you must send your online application to a VFS Indian Consular Center based on your state of residence.

Step 5: Submit Your Physical Application

Once you've finished the mail-in application registration, you'll be able to send your physical application packet to the VFS Indian Consular Application Centre. You must use the shipping method you choose while completing your online application. You must use prepaid courier labels when applying to a Mission outside your home state's jurisdiction.

Step 6: Wait For Notice Of Submission Via Email

VFS systems will be updated upon receipt of your application, and you will be notified through email. A review procedure is started to see if the application satisfies the Mission/requirements. Post's

Please be aware that, due to the safety precautions imposed by Covid 19, VFS staff will attend to packages 48 hours after they arrive. Therefore, you can track the status of your application after three to four days from the day your documents are delivered to the VFS Indian Consular Application Centre.

Step 7: Wait For Your Application To Be Processed

The last thing you must do is wait for your application to be processed. The processing time of a new OCI Card is usually between 5 to 6 weeks.

Step 8: Get Your OCI Couriered To You

You will receive an email or SMS notification as soon as your OCI Card is processed. After receiving the process confirmation, your OCI Card will be couriered to your specified address.


What Are The Different OCI Visa Services?

Although the OCI Card is a general Smart Card, you must choose between different OCI visa services. The OCI visa service you choose depends on the status of your PIO Card or other relevant situations. It is important to note that all the OCI services follow the same application process as the new OCI Card application.

New OCI Registration

The new OCI registration was discussed earlier in this post. But just to recap, ensure eligibility before continuing with the application process. You will use this service if you do not have a PIO or an OCI Card.

OCI Registration In Lieu Of Valid PIO Card

You can use this OCI service when you have a PIO Card, but you want an OCI Card. The required documents will mostly be the same for the new OCI Card. Still, please head over to the mandatory checklist for detailed information. Also, remember to submit an affidavit instead of the original documents.

OCI Registration In Lieu Of Lost PIO Card

If you have lost your PIO card and want to apply for an OCI Card, you must use this service. The OCI registration in lieu of a lost PIO card is the same as the previous OCI registration, but you must add a police report to your mandatory documents. Also, you must print out the checklist and affidavit.

OCI Miscellaneous Service

If you want to use the OCI Miscellaneous Service, you must be an OCI Cardholder. You can use this service when you have changed personal particulars or received a new passport. In addition, you must complete the affidavit and checklist as part of the required documents.

OCI In Lieu Of Damaged Or Lost OCI Card

If your OCI Card has been damaged or lost, you must use this service when applying for a new one. Please add the checklist to your list of required documents, and complete the affidavit. Also, you must add a police report if your OCI Card is lost.

Cancel OCI Card

If you return to India and want to regain your Indian citizenship, you can use this service to cancel your OCI Card. In doing so, you renounce your OCI Card. In addition, you must complete forms XXII and XXII A with a signed and completed checklist.

All minor applications must be accompanied by a parental authorization form.


What Are The Different OCI Service Fees?

After discussing the OCI service fee of registering a new OCI Card, I must also inform you of the other applicable OCI service fees. These OCI Card fees are divided into 5 different OCI services as outlined above. Please remember that the OCI service fees below only apply when choosing which OCI application you will be doing. Below the OCI service fees is a list of mandatory fees for an OCI application.

  • OCI Registration (In Lieu of Valid PIO Card): 100 USD (Excl. courier and label fees)
  • OCI Registration (In Lieu of Lost PIO Card): 200 USD (Excl. courier and label fees)
  • OCI Miscellaneous Service: 25 USD
  • OCI in lieu of Damaged/Lost OCI Card: 100 USD
  • Cancel OCI Card: 25 USD

Mandatory fees that must be paid when applying for any OCI service:

  • ICWF (Indian Community Welfare Fund): 3 USD
  • VFS Global Visa Service Fee: 15.90 USD

What Are The Benefits Of Having An OCI Card?

You're probably wondering what the benefits of going through this tedious OCI Card application process are. Well, here is a list of advantages of the OCI Card:

  • You enjoy multiple-entry and a multi-purpose life-long visa to India;
  • You are exempt from reporting to the Police the length of your stay;
  • Parity with NRIs in financial, economic, and educational fields except in acquiring agricultural or plantation properties.

Is An OCI Card Better Than A Visa?

The OCI Card enjoys much more benefits than an Indian Visa. As I mentioned above, the benefits of the OCI Card outweigh the Indian Visa. If you do not want to apply for the OCI Card, you can always apply for the Indian E-Visa. Alternatively, if you are a US citizen, you qualify for the 10-year India Tourist Visa.


Your OCI Card Application Couldn't Be Easier

I hope you are ready to travel to India with your new OCI Card. However, before traveling to India, I suggest you check our travel guide when traveling to India during COVID.

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