Overseas Citizen of India Cardholders to Face Increased Enforcement of Rules and Requirements

March 9, 2021

Key Points

  • Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders performing research, conducting journalistic activities, performing work as missionaries, or visiting any Protected, Restricted and Prohibited area in India will be further enforced to obtain special permission from the relevant jurisdictional Indian government authority
  • OCI cardholders living in India will also now be required to notify their jurisdictional Foreigners Regional Registration Office or Foreigners Registration Office if they make changes to their Indian residential address and/or place of employment

Overview

Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders are permanent residents of India. This status is granted to people of Indian origin and their spouses. The OCI status allows cardholders to live and work in India indefinitely, and travel to and from India without a visa. To better be able to monitor the flow and activities of OCI cardholders, the Indian government is reiterating and expanding certain enforcement regulations.

What are the Changes?

Last week, the Ministry of Home Affairs of the Indian government issued an announcement that certain OCI cardholders will face stricter enforcement of the pre-approval requirement of gaining special permission from the appropriate Foreign Regional Registration Office or Foreigners Registration Office before beginning their work. Those who are undertaking the following activities will be required to obtain this special permission:

  • Those performing research;
  • Those undertaking journalistic activities;
  • Those participating in any internship or gaining employment in any foreign Diplomatic Missions or foreign Government organizations; and
  • Those visiting any place which falls within the Protected or Restricted or prohibited areas as declared by the Central Government or competent authority.

Additionally, all OCI cardholders who are residing and/or working in India will be required to notify the appropriate jurisdictional Foreigners Regional Registration Officer or Foreigners Registration Officer by email whenever there is a change in their permanent Indian residential address and/or in their occupation.

Who is Affected?

Employers in India that hire journalists, research scholars, or those that are participating in foreign Diplomatic Missions or working with foreign Government Organizations need to ensure their OCI card-holding employees notify the Ministry of External Affairs in order to secure the relevant special permissions prior to the employee’s start date.

Employers should also ensure these same employees notify the appropriate jurisdictional Foreigners Registration Officer of any recent changes to their place of residence or occupation to make certain they are in compliance with the new administrative OCI rules.

Looking Ahead

Employers and OCI cardholders should anticipate further strict enforcement or expansion of rules and policies as the Indian government seeks to strengthen their means of monitoring the activities of OCI cardholders. For more information on these changes, please refer to this link provided by the Ministry of Home Affairs of India.


Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an Envoy-affiliated attorney or another qualified professional.

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