Can I Travel With An Old Oci And A New Passport?

There have been changes recently made to the OCI rule; which may actually make it easier for Overseas Citizens of India to visit the country. The privileges provided by the OCI program remain unchanged; holders of this card are treated as citizens with very few privileges being withheld.

One of the core benefits of having this card is that one is allowed unhindered access into the country. One can get the OCI card, and use it to enter India anytime, rather than having to get a visa for every visit, like a stranger.

However, the problem with the OCI program is that for the card to be valid it has to be updated whenever there are any changes to the holder’s name or identity, or the holder’s identification documents, including the holder’s passport. So this often raises the question of whether or not it is possible to travel with an old OCI.

Can I Travel With An Old Oci And A New Passport?

According to the new rules you do not have to update your OCI when you get a new passport. That means yes, you can travel with an old OCI and a new passport, without having to carry the old passport which was matched with the OCI document when it was first made.

This greatly reduces the stress of having to update your OCI when the old passport expires, in fact, it was noted that this requirement actually prevented many overseas citizens from visiting the country at their opportune time. The new rules came into effect in 2021, and the news was greeted with relief from many OCI holders.

However, this new rule does not change the requirement for OCI holders who receive their first cards as teenagers. If a person who got his OCI and passport before he reaches age 20 has his passport renewed at that age, he will still need to have his OCI updated.

Indian Overseas Citizens who have crossed the age of 50, and who get new passports will also need to update their details with the OCI, although this may not require a re-issuance of the card; just the updating of your information with the OCI database.

With that done, one can enter India as a citizen without having to worry about the need to get a new OCI whenever a new passport is issued. One does not even have to carry the old passport, or even to keep it, once a new one has been issued.

Who Qualifies For OCI?

OCI means Overseas Citizen of India; and it is a means of integration between India as a people, and the larger Indian Diaspora community scattered all over the world. With this program, and this document people of Indian descent can have a kind of near citizenship, thus affording them the opportunity to travel to India, or to live in the country so as to pursue economic activities.

Therefore, to qualify for OCI one has to be of Indian descent, or be born to parents or grandparents who come from India. This program also extends to those whose parents or grandparents or great grandparents were citizens of India as at 26-01-1950, when the constitution came into force.

People whose parents or grandparents were citizens of India after that date also qualify, as do those whose parents or grandparents were eligible to receive Indian citizenship as at 26-01-1950, or anytime after that.

Those who were born in any territory which later became part of India after 15-08-1947 also qualify for OCI status.

Spouses of Indian Citizens can also apply for OCI, even if their spouse has died, and they have children together.

Children with only one Indian parent may also apply for OCI.

How To Get OCI

The process of getting Overseas Citizenship of India starts online; you will need to get online to fill and download an application form. You can do so by visiting https://eoi.gov.in/eoisearch/MyPrint.php?6454?001/0005 ; you can copy and paste that link into your browser.

After that one needs to attend an interview at the Indian High Commission in your home country, bringing along your passport, as well as your ID, Birth Certificate, and other relevant documentation. You will also need to produce documentation proving your relationship with India, such as your parents’ or grandparents’ birth certificates, ID cards, or any other form of documentation.

It is advisable to contact the Indian High Commission in your country so as to get more information about the OCI program, and about the Interview.

Who Cannot Get OCI

People who have Pakistani or Bangladeshi heritage cannot get OCI; although Indians who have now gained Pakistani or Bangladeshi citizenship can still get OCI.

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Summary

If you received your passport after the age of 20, then yes, you can travel with an old OCI and a new passport. Formerly you would still need to carry your old passport whenever traveling to India; or better still, update your information with the ministry, and then have your OCI reissued.

If on the other hand, you received your passport before attaining the age of 20, then you would need to have your OCI reissued when you get a new passport. The same thing occurs after the age of 50.

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