OCI Card: Professor Sujit K Pandit has some suggestions……..

I wrote to Prof Pandit today and he emailed the following matter.

His email goes like……..
Thank you for doing a useful service to the community.

I would like you to read my update too:

Updated Sept 17, 2009

OCI RULES CAN BE CHANGED

Following my e-mail message (a copy is attached below) about my aggravation at the Kolkata airport over the OCI card, I have received about 300 responses. I am absolutely overwhelmed and thankful to all those who have written.  I had no idea how deeply the Indians all over the world feel about this issue.  Most people were thankful to me for sharing my story so they can learn from my bad experience.  The majority, about 90% of the responders was outraged at the lack of common sense and common courtesy of the immigration officials at the Kolkata airport. More than a dozen people have narrated their own horror stories, very similar and even worse than mine at airports in India when they arrived with an OCI card only, these are really heart wrenching stories involving small children and the whole family members undergoing incredible hardships.  Others were alerted at the last moment by the airlines officials at the departing airport in the USA about the need to carry the visa sticker that may be in their old passport.  Some were surprised that I had the problem because they have gone to India with just the OCI card and they were allowed to enter India without having to show their visa.  Some assumed that the problem may be at the Kolkata airport and probably the corruption is rampant there. They suggested that the officers there might be looking for a bribe. Many were still confused about the rules of the OCI and have asked me for advice.  Many others narrated the appalling treatment they have received at the various Indian consular offices.

About 10% of the responders said I got what I deserved at the Kolkata airport for not reading rules of the OCI card and for not following the rules strictly.  They thought the officers were just doing their duties.

Some especially from England and Canada told me that they have PIO (Person of Indian Origin) cards and had never had to show their visa at the Indian airports.  And the OCI is supposed to be the upgraded version of the PIO card.  Go figure. 

One person has written that for a family of five (three children) under the current OCI rules he has to carry fifteen travel documents when going to India (five old passports,  five current passports and five OCI cards)

I am thankful to all who have taken the time to write to me. 

I know it was my mistake for not taking my old passport with the visa sticker with me and I will never make the same mistake again; the main purpose of my mail was to warn my friends not to make the same mistake that I made. 

But, then my friend Dr. Dinesh Patel from Boston pointed out to me that the rules CAN be changed and the bad/confusing rules SHOULD be changed. I think that is a great point.  Rather than just accepting and following the bad rules and thus perpetuating them, we should try to change the bad rules. In addition because of the confusing name of the OCI and the false buzz about the “Dual Citizenship” many people make the same mistake as I did. When so many people make the same mistake in spite of the rules, then may be the system needs to be fixed.  Confusing rules of OCI needs to be changed. The bad rules can only be changed if there is enough pressure from the public to the politicians and the civil servants. .

I believe, just like the persons holding a PIO card the OCI card holders should also be allowed to enter India without having to bring the old visa sticker every time.  The fact is, whenever any one is granted his/her OCI card, he/she is thoroughly vetted and only then the OCI card is issued along with a life long visa sticker.  Both go hand in hand.  You cannot get an OCI card without a life long visa.  I know that in spite of the puzzling name (Overseas CITIZEN of India) the OCI card is not a passport, right now we can not have both American (or Canadian or UK) passports as well an Indian passport But, the OCI card can be and should be the visa substitute. As far as the entry requirement to India the OCI card could act like the US Green card.  Once you have it there will be no need to carry a separate visa ever.

When an individual has a US Passport and an OCI card, production of a visa should not be insisted upon, because, the  evidence of a valid visa is implicit in the OCI card, which may be deemed to be a certification higher than the visa itself.

The other problem is the utter lack of common courtesy and competence at the various Indian Consular Offices. I have received more than 15 mails that detail their dreadful experiences at various Indian Consular Offices.  These Consular offices are amateurish and incompetent.  I myself had a horrible time trying to get my OCI card in Chicago.  When I complained, there was no response. I can not even think about going back there to get my visa sticker transferred from my old passport to my new one, and what about when I get yet another new passport?  This is a disgrace that the officials at the Consular offices are not trained to be courteous to their customers like real professionals.

We need to bring pressure on the politicians and civil servants to simplify the procedure and let the OCI card be the visa substitute. Please send this mail to others once again and may be some one knows an important person who will understand the problem and solve it. That will make travel to India a joy and not stressful. We also need to make the Indian Consular offices more “Professional”. 

 
I am attaching a copy of my original e-mail:
MY DUAL CITIZENSHIP WOES: MY RECENT EXPERIENCE WITH THE IMMIGRATION DEPARTMENT AT THE KOLKATA AIRPORT AND THE LESSONS I LEARNT

My advice to all my friends who hold an OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) Card and those who aspire to get one.

I am an American citizen.  I also carry an OCI card (Overseas Citizen of India) since 2007. 

On Saturday, June 20, 2009, I arrived at the Kolkata Netaji Subhas Airport from Detroit via Singapore, by Singapore Airlines (SQ 516) at 10:30 P.M.

I presented myself to an Immigration Officer  (Mr. Biswas) for immigration clearance.  I gave him my American passport and my OCI card.  He demanded to see my visa from the Indian consular office.  Unfortunately, that visa was attached to my old passport and I did not bring it with me.

I explained to him that I am sorry I forgot to bring my old passport but since I do possess a valid OCI Card that would automatically mean that I do also possess a permanent (life long) visa for India and there are proofs that I have traveled multiple times to India after I had received my OCI card. 

 Mr. Biswas detained me for two hours inside the airport   and then he told me that he is going to allow me to stay in India for 72 hours and asked me to report to the Foreign Relations Regional Officer (FRRO) in the city within 72 hours.  He kept my passport.  During all that time I had no opportunity either to approach his OC (Officer in Charge) although I asked for it, or to contact my relatives who came to the airport to receive me and were waiting outside and had no idea why I was being held back or if I have even arrived.

Forgetting to bring my old passport was my own fault but I ‘forgot’ to bring it partly because I knew I have my OCI Card with me and I thought, that means something, I really believed that I am a citizen of India too.  Why would a citizen also need a visa to enter his own country?   I thought I have a dual citizenship for both the USA and India. Other wise, what is the difference between an ordinary foreigner and the OCI Card holder?

Next day was a Sunday, I called a friend in Ann Arbor who went into my house, got my old passport and sent me the scanned copy of my old passport and a copy of my permanent visa by e-mail. 

So, on Monday I went to see Mr. Bibhas Talukdar, the FRRO.  He hardly looked at the documents (the scanned visa) that I had with me he simply asked me to get my old passport by courier mail within another seven days.  He appeared gleeful telling me that it is only out of  “pity” that he is allowing me to stay in India for seven more days.  He was totally unimpressed by either my status as a Professor Emeritus of the University of Michigan or my age (70+)

I called my friend in Ann Arbor again who then sent my old passport by FedEx.  Three days later the passport arrived.  Since I had to leave Kolkata for prescheduled visit to Bangalore, my niece took it to Mr. Talukdar. But due to lack of communication between the FRRO office and the airport immigration department my passport had not arrived at the city office even after 9 days.  My niece had to go to the FRRO’s office three times once waiting until 6 P.M. still they did not have my passport.  They only promised: “it will come soon”.  At last, 12 days after my arrival, my niece got my passport.
From this painful and anxiety provoking experience I have learned a few valuable lessons:

1.    The loud talk about “Dual Citizenship” for Indian Americans is just a political hoax.

2.    The OCI card just does not have any value.  It is just a piece of expensive junk. You still need a visa every time you travel to India whether or not you possess an OCI card.  Only difference is that for the high price of getting an OCI card you will get a “life long ” visa.  A 10-year visa is much cheaper.
 
3.    When coming to India always consider yourself a foreigner and bring your visa with you, there will be no exceptions. Your OCI card is not a visa substitute.

4.     In fact, you will probably be treated worse than an ordinary foreigner arriving without a valid visa.  Because a foreigner especially a white Caucasian will at least be treated with courtesy and probably offered a temporary visa if there is no reason to deny it, but not you.

5.    Since the word “CITIZEN” in the OCI card is the root cause of confusion, the name should be changed.

 

Please feel free to forward this mail to any of your friends who may benefit from my experience.  Especially feel free to forward this to any influential politician or civil servant in India that you may know.

Sujit K. Pandit M.D.
Professor Emeritus
Department of Anesthesiology
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI
48109, USA

45 thoughts on “OCI Card: Professor Sujit K Pandit has some suggestions……..

  1. India DOES NOT allow Dual Citizenship. You have voluntarily relenquished Indian Citizenship when you adopted US as your Homeland.

    OCI card is just a lifelong visa and GOI does not hide that information.

    You admit that you forgot to take your Visa with you and I would say as a foreigner you have been far better treated in India then some other countries (including US) would have treated a person arriving without Visa.

    Do you know YOUR country sends back hundreds of people from airport citing lack of proper documents and various other reasons which are FAR Less sever then Forgetting to carry the Visa?

    As is said in YOUR country, Not knowing the law is not an excuse.

    So please stop blaming GOI for your own fault.

    You are just a foreigner in India and will remain so no matter how much you want to be an Indian Citizen. You cannot eat the cake and have it too.

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    • I think this is a very discourteous reply to an elderly gentleman and a prominent teacher. This is certainly not Indian culture or Hindu teaching which is to respect teachers whether he is your teacher or somebody else’s.

      There are many reasons people leave India and try to settle overseas. Some people leave because they cannot get employment (e.g Muslims who are under represented in civil service and private sector). They dont go to Pakistan, they go to where the opportunity is and even if they become citizens of other countries , they travel back to India even when its infrastructure is dilapidated and they have to face corrupt officers, auto drivers, porters and others. (although to be fair infrastructure has developed and i have not been asked a bribe by immigration or customs officers in chennai airport for the past 15 years!) Just because they leave India and in many cases they have to renounce their citizenship does not mean they have forgotten their roots and are disloyal. Loyalty does not depend on the passport but the love you have for your mother country and the willingness to help it. There are many traitors with Indian passports in India and overseas. Those who take bribes especially immigration officers and policemen who are in charge of India’ security and the corrupt politicians who have been entrusted with the gullible public who misuse their authority are the disloyal passport bearing Indians. I am sure Gandhiji will agree with me. Help does not have to be in the form of military service fighting foreign nations. It can be in the form of repatriation of money, tourism, medical tourism, setting up educational institutions and industries back home. I think NRI’s have been in the forefront in this. Perhaps OCIs and PIOs are better Indians because they leave the country, family with tears to get ahead in life and of course wanting to come back as soon as possible. However other events overtake them and they sadly have to renounce their passports. Do you know how many times i have cried standing on the ships deck of the Rajula or straits of madras sailed out of India and how happy i was to see the Indian land mass appearing when we returned. I was born in India but I would not have the chance to study in England under full scholarship for my Masters and PhD degrees if i had been at home. I would not have been able to help my family members and the hundreds of business men from autodrivers, taxis, bus companies, railway, hotels and restaurateurs when i go back.

      I dont think any Indian born will stop loving his country, his language and his religion and the people of India. This is built into the psyche of human beings. Even the Prophet of Islam Muhammad peace be upon him was very sad when left Makkah to Madinah under Gods instructions. And when he opened up Makkah 9 years later , he forgave the people of Makkah who tortured and planned to assassinate him. I am sure being Makkan played a great part in this.

      We don’t eat the cake and have it too, we eat the cake and share it with other unfortunate Indians. I think we are better than the officials and politicians who even steal relief money which the Indian government distributes during disasters and the money given by foreign ex Indian citizens.

      Why do we want to leave our comfort and go back to India despite the corruption, smell, overcrowding etc. ; it is because I love my India whether i carry its passport or not. I think it is only jealousy which makes Indians behave this way to people who want to come back in their old age and keep our family connections and contribute. for example, i just like the professor want to come to India to teach at a salary which is 1/6th of what i am getting now in Malaysia to contribute to education and community development. which is far behind other countries. I have become an OIC, i dont have a U sticker in my old passport , just the OIC card which at the inside back cover says life time visa.

      I hope i dont face the same trouble! This does not mean I do not love my adopted country. When a country does not give its all to its citizens, why should the citizen give its all to its government. The ex Indian citizen can still love both his adopted country and his country of birth or ancestry. Just like an adopted child when he grows up and meets his original parents, he cant forget the parents who nourished him or her.

      Jai Hind, India Zindabad! Malaysia berjaya!

      Associate Professor Dr Shahul Hameed Mohamed Ibrahim
      MA, PhD, FCCA, CA(M)
      Kuala Lumpur

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  2. Respected Professor:

    Indian Consulates, Embassies and also the US Consulate sites UNAMBIGUOUSLY state that OCI card-holder does NOT enjoy dual citizenship. They also ask the OCI card-holders to take the passport that has the U sticker (visa) with them along with the OCI card. Therefore, as you have admitted, the fault was squarely on you in NOT taking the old passport that had the U sticker.

    The immigration officials, either of India or of USA, try to treat the traveler with courtesy etc. There are always a few sour apples in all countries at the immigration point. It is indeed sad that you felt you were not treated professionally.

    My two cents suggestions to the GOI.

    1. Paste the U sticker on to the OCI card; this way, the person carrying the OCI card automatically also carries the U visa sticker at all times.
    2. Change the name of the card so that there is no ambiguity that the card awards dual-citizenship. Foreign Citizen of Indian Origin (FCIO) is an appropriate name that would indicate that the card-holder is a foreigner, an alien whose Indian origin has been verified and therefore is given the privilege of lifetime multiple visits.

    As immigration rules may continually change per the needs of the country, it certainly is advantageous for one to have the OCI card. There is this new rule that permits a Tourist visa holder (10 year visa holder) to re-visit India after a lapse of 2 months. The OCI card holders may visit India as often and at any time and also stay as long as she/he wishes – certainly an added advantage.

    Respectfully

    Annaswamy Natarajan
    Chesterfield, VA 23832

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  3. 1. The real problem here is the total incompetence of the GOI (as one apologist call it) to explain the rules clearly, and moreover to provide realistic avenues to resolve problems. I have encountered major problems with the Indian Embassy simply in obtaining my OCI card and sticker. Suffice to say for now that I have both, but the sticker is on my expired US passport and because of the huge delays in processing at the Embassy, and the impossibility of inquiring about the status of one’s applications (for anything!) with anyone at the Embassy, I am now afraid to get the sticker transferred for fear of giving the GOI another chance to screw up my paperwork!

    2. It is utterly ridiculous to say that Indians who have moved to another country like the US should not be given any reasonable treatment because their adopted country doesn’t behave nicely either. This is the same flawed logic that has held India back for many decades. Many Indians from the diaspora have great wealth and expertise that want to give back to India. But stupid rules and procedures, of which the OCI is just one example, prevent them from doing this.

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    • 1. Check this site http://www.cgihouston.org/OCIProcedure.html

      Also check http://mha.nic.in/pdfs/oci-chart.pdf
      Everywhere GOI has unambigously communicated what OCI is and that one need to carry both OCI card AND the Visa Sticker.
      What else do you expect ? GOI should call every OCI holder and remind them of this every day ?
      When you went through your F1-H1-GC-Citizenship, was it you and your attorney who looked up the law or was it INS who called you to inform about the law?

      You NEED NOT transfer the sticket. You can just carry the old passport. You applied for OCI for your own convenience knowing the law so why crib now ?

      I have got my passport renewed at Indian Embassy within 10 days (through mail) with no hassle.

      2. The expat Indians with “great wealth and expertise ” should first learn to look up law of land. A simple google search is enough to find it. Not knowing the law is not an excuse.
      The reasonable treatment was extending OCI and PIO . Now, if one just do not have the “ability” to look up the law (and then bash GOI for no reason) , I do not think he/she will have a “great wealth” to contribute to India.

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  4. The OCI is a visa not dual citizenship. So if any case you wish to travel to India (or any other) from any country , you need to have a valid visa to travel which is the sticker present on your passport , and that is why this is more important than the OCI booklet. It is not dual citizenship because a lot of other countries do not allow dual citizenship which will make the OCI system irrelevant.

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  5. Dear critics,
    you are browsing the technical notes of MHA’s/MOIA’s instructions today. But for years, GoI was propagating OCI as dual citizenship. Explicitly. And if you look in the benefits of OCI, the ‘visa free travel’ and ‘lifelong visa’ are mentioned always in the first place. The GoI has played the game to create an illusion giving dual citizenship, but for obscure ‘security reasons’ was not willing to do so. BTW, if you read anywhere that the Indian constitution does not allow dual citizenship, that’s complete nonsense and only non lawyers who read Art 9 Const without the context can claim this. Read the chapter by the High Level Committee on the Indian Diaspora (Dr LM Singhvi committee report) for more information on this.
    And it is not correct to say that OCIs are not at all citizens of India. They have a very special status and one can discuss in length what ‘citizenship’ means. But clearly saying that they are ‘just foreigners’ is not very convincing. It’s not everything black and white, mere dost!

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    • For stuff like citizenship/immigration etc what matter is law … not some rumour or hearsay. Can you cite one GOI official site which says OCI is “dual citizenship” or allows “visa free travel” ? There are NONE.

      True , it is “lifelong visa” , and so if you do not carry the visa you are not entitled to enter India.
      GOI never created an illussion — it clearly says OCI is not a dual citizenship … otherwise there was not need to create a OCI. It could have directly given passport.
      India does not allow dual citizenship except for a child born abroad (involuntary citizenship) and that too, if the child does not have a passport of foreign country. It does not matter what some committee report says — it matters what the law is.

      No matter what you say, OCIs are not at all citizens of India. You may not be convinced but that is the law and you remain a foreigner till India change law.
      But you do have an option , you can renounce your foreign citizenship and get Indian citizenship if you really want to be Indian.

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    • Haters like Krish will never be convinced that the GOI needs to improve anything. Notice how he/she keeps comparing the GOI to other gov’ts with barely disguised contempt for anyone who dares criticize the OCI “scheme”. Just because another country behaves as badly (or worse) than the GOI doesn’t mean that we should all settle for stupid and/or misleading policies from the GOI.

      The fact is that the whole OCI thing is poorly conceived and – worse – is currently poorly explained and supported on Indian gov’t websites. There is no good logic behind having to carry the “U” sticker separately from the “U-visa”, and there is zero logic behind having NO in-person process to resolve problems or answer questions regarding the OCI.

      This is the case at the Indian Embassy in DC – I am not sure but willing to bet that it is also the case at other Indian consulates/embassies around the world. That means that we are left listening to biased screeds from people like Krish and hoping that the latest text on GOI embassy/consulates is accurate (and at least in the case of the Washington DC embassy, it is frequently inaccurate, and changes often!).

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      • LOL ! Grow up ! I am not a hater. I am showing you the reality. If you cannot read and comprehend the law , it is NOT GOIs problem.
        I am not comparing OCI to anything but posters like Ajay tried to compare it with US Green Card.
        GOI website explains things very clearly but it is people like you who think you are supposed to be treated like God when you are in India.
        Immigration officers such as the one who handled Prof, just burst that bubble.

        That and only that is the reason why you NRI folks are so hurt. Why should you be treated separate from others ? Just because you got your education on Indian Tax Payers money and then left for a greener pasture !

        I will very clearly say — India does not need the expertise or investment of people who cannot respect the law of India.

        The logic is very strong … to avoid forgery. You can argue that the U Visa too can be forged . But forging a visa on a passport is much more difficult then forging just one single document.
        And the process of having VISA + additional document is prevailing in MANY country.

        Disclaimer: I am an NRI (but I am a follower of law and I do not think I deserve any special treatment in India)

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  6. My query is related to the miscellaneous services, I have searched in vain for a clarification on this and am hopeing some of you may have an answer for me. When filling the online form to transfer a childs OCU ‘U’ sticker to a new passport, the online form by default was showing the old passport number and date of issue, am I right in assuming we have to overtype this info with the new passport number and issue date? The field is marked as passport number, would help if it said ‘new’ passport number. As some of you have mentioned, I am not a fan of the HCI staff and would hate to go in with the wrong details on the form. I will appreciate any advise anyone can give on this.

    Thank you, Hiten.

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  7. Respected Professor,

    I also agree with your position and I think it should be enough to present OCI card to the immigration officer. It is obvious that if one carries OCI card, he must have U-visa. It is even possible to deduce U-visa number from OCI card itself. So, not sure why it is essential to carry old US passport along with OCI card? This is a stupid law and must be changed.

    BTW, I think you were mistreated by immigration officer probably because you landed at Calcutta airport and immigration officer did not know the rules. He should have granted you TLF for 14 days. Any person of Indian origin who does NOT have valid visa is entitled to get 14 days stay by paying processing fee of $40. Once you get TLF, you can also extend your stay by visiting at FRO / FRRO office.

    Recently I also encountered similar situation. I visited India on 6th of June 2010 and forgot to carry old passport of my wife and sons with me. However, at the Delhi Airport, I was well treated by immigration officer. They behaved professionally and granted me 14 days TLF in 10-15 minutes by charging $40 fee. They also told me to contact FRO office and further extend my stay.

    However, my experience with FRO office was terrible. I first contacted Darjeeling FRO office, but FRO office did not know what to do in my case. Since I was traveling to Bhagalpur, I decided to get this done from Bhagalpur FRO office. Bhagalpur FRO office told me that it might be easier if I can directly visit office of Deputy Secretary of Home, Passport Section, Patna because all stay extensions are finally approved by the Deputy Secretary. When I visited deputy secretary office, office clerk refused to entertain my application. I then insisted to personally meet the Deputy Secretary. The Deputy Secretary was not very supporting either, he was more interested to defend his staff rather than help me out. After some argument with Deputy Secretary, he finally agreed to look at my application. I was requested to submit application and come after one week. When I told him that I did not have one week time, the clerk requested to me come in next couple of days. After two days, when I met the clerk, he did not even know the rules and was not sure how to handle the case. He looked at the GOI service manual and the manual also did not provide enough information about how to handle this case. I did have some printout from ministry of external affairs web site that I showed him to educate him about the rules, but still he was not fully convinced. I felt so bad and frustrated that I finally requested him to reject my application on the ground that service manual was not clear enough and also provide me some written proof so that I could use that at Delhi airport at the time of departure. He was even not willing to do that. I requested him to consult Deputy Secretary and even ministry of external affairs. Finally after 2-3 days of frustration and lots of arguments, I was able to get extension of stay. However, I really think India has long way to go.

    Regards,
    Ajoy

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  8. I wish I had known about your experience before applying for the OCI card. I submitted application a couple weeks ago. Upon reading the website information and instructions, it was quite convincing that if we purchase the OCI card, it should not require any additional visa fees or transit visa to visit India. It is ridiculous, does the Consulate General’s left know what the right is doing by now? I am going to print the OCI instructions posted online and keep these with me along with birth certificate, etc to support my Indian Origins. This means pay about $300 to carry more documents, unbelievable to have to carry all of the expired passports, OCI card, US passport….who knows what else is to be added on to the list.
    Frustrating is understatement. Thanks for sharing your experience. Hopefully the problem has been fixed after a year now!

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    • You are right. With OCI you need not pay Visa Fees again. However, per law you will need to carry your OCI card, the current valid passport AND the passport which has the U Visa stamp (if current one does not have it).
      You NEED NOT carry all your passport.

      Check this site http://www.cgihouston.org/OCIProcedure.html

      Also check http://mha.nic.in/pdfs/oci-chart.pdf
      Everywhere GOI has unambigously communicated what OCI is and that one need to carry both OCI card AND the Visa Sticker

      So Indian Consulate exactly knows what need to be done but the problem seems to be more with some (arrogant) ex-pats who think that they shuold be above law.
      Funny none of these ex-pats probably uttered a word when they queued up for visa to get to their current home country, when they carried truckload of documents to consulate as well as when travellling, when they were waiting in long queues , often stretching to years , to get their permanent residence.

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  9. Krish,

    What a load of crap! Why even issue an OCI card if you need your old passport? Which country in the world require you to retain your old passport besides India? Like the good doctor has said, it’s not a question of whether it’s a law or not, it’s a question of does the law make any sense or only exists to extort more money out of People of Indian Origin. No wonder so many people who leave India never want to return to a corrupt country.

    India has more than enough corruption, if the people at the top intend to show the west that it’s trying to root it out so that the West invests in India – start at the door.

    Amar

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    • @Amar
      Many countries require you to hold the old passport IF the Visa stamp is in Old Passport … one example is US (you need to carry your H1 or L1 approval AND the passport carrying Visa Stamp IN ADDITION to current unexpired passport) .
      Heck, you cannot even board a plane to US if you do not carry a valid visa.
      So why does one need a Visa if the Govt. of US has already given a 797.

      Remember OCI is nothing but a VISA . It is NOT citizenship as some of you claim .
      Every country impose fee for visa and if you think that is extortion first make sure your adopted homeland abolish visa fee.

      You just said “No wonder so many people who leave India never want to return to a corrupt country. ” So then why are you cribbing about Indian Visa laws. Never visit India and you will be in peace.

      The law is clear and YOU are not above law. If you do not like the law of India do not visit India . Plain and simple.

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  10. Krish,

    OCI is not VISA. At worst it is equivalent to US Green Card. You do not have to get VISA if you have US green card. OCI card itself should be sufficent. What is rational behind requiring separate visa when you are issuing separate OCI card?

    Regards,
    Ajoy

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  11. @Ajoy,

    Every Visa , including US Green Card, is nothing but a Permit offered by the concerned Government with different set of rules associated. Even a Green Card can be revoked and you may be thrown out of US. One ought to know the rules and agree to follow those when applying for such a permit. If you do not agree to the rule, you have right to say against it but till it is changed you do not have the right to violate it and then cry hoarse. Being in an Western Country you should know the basic premise — ignorance of law is never an excuse.

    There are many differences between US Green Card and OCI.
    For example, with US Green Card, if you stay outside US for extended period (typically over 2 years) , you loss you Green Card. There is no such restriction with OCI. Did you ever become vocal on “what is the rational ”

    BTW, Green Card is also called “Immigrant VISA”

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  12. @Amar,

    Regarding your comment “it’s a question of does the law make any sense or only exists to extort more money out of People of Indian Origin. ” …. for a US Green Card, just for the 485, the fees is over a thousand USD. There are other fees before that which are paid by employer. So , does the law exist only to “Extort money” . Go and preach to US Govt. to abolish these fees.

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  13. [Edited]. The Dr. has learned nothing in the years that have passed since he was detained at the POE in India. OCI is NOT dual citizenship and you don’t deserve to be treated differently than millions of other foreign citizens entering India

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  14. I think there are many points to be discussed
    the name “OCI ” is a misnomer . There never was never has been dual citizenship. Dont know why India Govt choses to confuse people with the word ” citizen ” in OCI !!!. So while people shouldn’t assume without reading all the info, the govt shoudlnt use this name itself . WHenever a new name is coined , it is typically self explanatory so the word OCI due to its connotations itself is a misnomer .
    The requirment of having to carry the old passport on which the visa was affixed along with the OCI card should have been made public and this is the GOVT s fault completely . It now discloses this requirement on the website but ealrlier whn the OCi was still new , wasn’t done and innocent people like the professor had to suffer.

    @ annaswamy .. your point regd FCIO is a great idea so as to not confuse people

    @ Krish … you have some very valid points .
    All visas and green cards are at the mercy of the issuing posts and you can be denied entry at the port of entry . Without proper visa one is not allowed to board a plane to the US and that not knowing is no excuse . I know many instances where people with valid visas that have travelled to the US for several eyars have been detained and questioned

    The only thing i have to add is that while you are a citizen of India and you enter the US on a green card you dont have to still show your old US visa on the Old Indian passport right ?

    Ultimately Indian govt. can make weird rules and it is true one will have to follow them to enter the country as we dont make the rules even if we personally dont agree with them.
    I guess everyone indirectly is talking about here is changing the rules to make it easier for the people who are travelling who dont have to carry all these documents .
    Rules are rules they have to be followed but some change to make it simpler would be nice. right? Rules are made by the govt after all to help people .

    Also Krish only now the consulates across the world are writing on their websites about having to carry old passports and OCI card. Earlier in the days of the OCI cards infancy all this wasnt disclosed and that was when this professor s incident happened .

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    • “The only thing i have to add is that while you are a citizen of India and you enter the US on a green card you dont have to still show your old US visa on the Old Indian passport right ?”

      You are again making a mistake of comparing GC with OCI . I believe GOI (and citizens of India) will be happy to make OCI like GC in all respect but that means —

      1) Holder of OCI will be treated as a Tax Resident of India and pay tax in India on WorldWide income

      2) OCI will be cancelled if the holder does not make India his/her permanent residence. That means, the holder will have to permanently live in India .

      3) OCI will be valid for 10 years and need to be renewed .

      Are you sure you want all these strings attached to OCI ?

      Let us agree OCI and GC are two different thing with two different rule. Once you pick up any of these you need to abide by the rule.

      Whether the rule need to be changed ? That is a completely separate debate then crying hoarse when an officer challenge you for not following the rule.

      To be honest, I do not know what GOI websites said during the infancy of OCI but as of today there should be no ambiguity. The post was made in Sept 2009 (professor travelled in June 2009) and I checked the GOI websites almost immediately and the information were there.

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  15. OCI card itself is an extortion here in Australia. We need to pay nearly $ 450 to get this piece of useless garbage. Anyways, I will use my old Indian Passport to visit my relatives in India, even though I am Australian Citizen now. They even charge $ 147 to surrender old Indian Passport! LOL!

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  16. 21 Feb 2011
    Hello,

    I have a question that I hope you can answer for me. I’ve googled, but haven’t been able to locate the answer (I could be asking the wrong question!)

    I’m an Australia Citizen and I hold a PIO card. I’m currently living in India and will probably stay here for quite a while now (married to an Indian you see).

    I’m in the process of filling out the application for my OCI and a friend of mine advised me to think twice about it as if I was to get OCI, I won’t be eligible for assistance by the Australian Consulate if needed. I’m not sure if this is already the case since I have a PIO.

    So my concerns are:
    1. Will I still be eligible for Australian Consulate assistance, if required?
    2. What implications are there on taxes – I get that if I work, I’ll have to pay tax here, but will I also pay tax in Australia (as it’s considered foreign income) – You may say, ask your accountant, and that’s fair enough, I’ll do that too.
    3. Should I get the OCI or just stick with my PIO?

    Thank you,
    Tina

    Like

  17. @ Tina
    I am an Australian citizen as well and just about to apply for my OCI as soon as I get my Passport.
    I have been doing the research on your issue for a long time and I have been told
    Even after you get OCI you still remain a citizen of Australia. so that means you will get support if required by Australian government.
    As you are an Australian you might remember what happened when there was war in Lebanon, all the people with Australian Citizenship were brought back to Australia.
    OCI is far better than PIO.
    But you should not forget it’s JUST A VISA and like any other visa you can TRANSFER it to your new passport which no one does. just check the link to verify. It is from the website of consolate general of India Melbourne
    http://www.vfs-in-au.net/overseascitizenofindia_faq.html
    Read q 19 and 41

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  18. The entire episode is because of GOI propagating that Dual Citizenship is being considered to persons of Indian Origin in the beginning of the issue of the so called OVERSEAS CITIZEN OF INDIA. ( O C I ) as a replacement of PIO card.

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  19. Completely shocking that you are a professor, who cannot even understand a simple rule that has clearly been outlined on the government website. Logical or not, it needs to be followed if you are traveling to India. I am Australia originally from India and if you read the website: http://www.vfs-in-au.net/overseascitizenofindia_faq.html it clearly says the following:

    Q.17 Will a separate OCI passport be issued?
    Ans No. A separate registration Certificate in the form of a Booklet will be issued. This booklet cannot be used for travel without the Foreign Passport of the applicant on which the OCI ‘U’ Visa Sticker is stamped

    What is even more (not really) shocking, is your attitude given what you wrote, i.e “He was totally unimpressed by either my status as a Professor Emeritus of the University of Michigan or my age (70+)”

    Seems like you should be exempt from the laws because you are (shockingly) a professor!?! FYI several of the hijackers in 9/11 were studying higher degrees in Europe.

    Like

  20. And by the way, it is mandatory to renew your sticker if your passport has been renewed either when you are younger than 20 years or older than 50 years (so considering you are a 70 year old wise man, he was well within his rights to be stern with you)

    Source: http://www.hcindia-au.org/overseascitizen_main_re-issuance.html#sf1

    ‘OCI registration certificate and visa carries the passport number of the registered OCI. Accordingly, each time a new passport is issued to an OCI holder, it has to be captured on the registration certificate and visa. This would require re-issuance of OCI registration certificate and visa each time a new passport is issued. However, as the major benefit of OCI Scheme is life long visa to visit India, problems arise each time a new passport is issued. In some countries old passports are not returned. Further, in many countries, the validity of passport is for 5 years. To obviate these difficulties, the following scheme has been incorporated:

    OCI registration certificate and visa have got to be re-issued by availing this service, each time a new passport is issued up to the completion of 20 years of age and once after completing 50 years of age.
    Re-issuance of OCI registration certificate and visa is not mandatory, each time a new passport is issued between 21-50 years of age. However, if the applicant wishes to avail this service, he/she can apply for the same.’

    Like

    • And when was this beautiful law to re-issue OCI to minors made? Definitely not when my family and I got our OCI cards issued back in 2008. Heck! My son traveled to India twice carrying his old+new passports and not a word was mentioned that we need to have the sticker transferred. Now, in 2013, the GOI issues an advisory (to who? Its consulates) that this is absolutely required. I have a “lifelong” visa issued. Why the hell will I bother to check the websites (BTW, each consulate’s website has its own interpretations) before each travel? The jokers have the email addresses of people who applied for the OCI. It is their darned responsibility to inform people if such “advisories” get conjured up. Now people like me, who renewed their children’s passports have to run from pillar to post to find alternatives. And the worthless employees of the GOI at the consulates here do not even answer emails or phone calls. They ask you to call the outsourcing agency, where I have to talk to American employees who are totally clueless. What a country!

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      • Why do you want to step to such a country ? I do not know about immigration laws of your country but immigration laws of US is not something written on stone. It keeps changing. A foreigner is expected to remain updated about the laws.

        BTW, it is good to know that you carried the old+new passport of your son …. the professor DID NOT and that is what caused all the problem. I have not heard anyone having a problem if they carry the passport on which OCI sticker was affixed.

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  21. Exactly that is the whole point..that your kid was carrying the old+new one. If you had been carrying ONLY the new one you would have been stopped. And if they still dont stop you, consider it a favour as they are bending the rules for you. It is NOT their responsibility to email OCIs all around the world. It is ridiculous for you to expect that. It is YOUR responsibility to check travel advisories and check the relevant website.

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    • Krish indicates – A foreigner is expected to remain updated about the laws. This does not make sense. No foreigner is expected to see Indian web sites. I am expected to check if my passport is valid. Do I have a visa and when the OCI card was issued what were the rules and follow it to the dot (Take my new passport, OCI card and the passport with U visa). There was no mention anywhere when OCI card was issued that I need to get my OCI reissued when I get a new passport. How do you justify that? If GOI wants to pursue this reissue issue, then they can at best at point of entry fine the person and provide the rules but should not deny entry.

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      • First, reissue of OCI is NOT required. You need to carry the Passport which has the OCI Visa stamped. That have been the rule from Day 1. You acknowledge that the rule have always been “Take my new passport, OCI card and the passport with U visa” . Apparently professor DID NOT follow one of the rule ( to carry “the passport with U visa”) and then started crying foul — why I am not treated special .

        Second, google for Neufield memo …. A few years back USCIS issued a memo with some legal mumbo-jumbo regarding maintaining the Employee-Employer relationship for H1 employees. Thousands of H1 holders who were in US on valid H1 visa , could not extend there H1 petition due to this memo — bottomline a foreigner is expected to remain updated about changes in law of host country (though it did not happen in case of OCI)

        Third, if you know the definition of Visa — a Visa is just a permit to request entry at PoE. The immigration officer at PoE may or may not allow entry. As a matter of fact, every day many foreigners are denied entry to US even after travelling with a valid Visa.

        Now , please do not come up with those crappy arguments -OCI is not a visa but like Green Card. I asked those people to join me in petitioning GOI to treat OCI same like Green Card … which should also include implementing rules similar to Green Card like residing in India Permanently and pay tax on Worldwide income . They were just willing:)

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  22. I have a suggestion, if all OCI card holder can be updated on internet prior to departure India and a confirmation slip comes, then simple take the slip and current passport should be enough. But India has to change the rule and policy.

    Or you should allow the photocopies of the OCI card sticker and old passport copy only. Arv

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      • Yo Yo Yo Yo – Just cause of retrogression you don’t need to be a hater just cus everyone is a playa. India is rotten and horrible, wonderful and majestic all at the same time. It is all good in the hood.

        Krish is right up to a point – the OCI card states a website in it but does not state categorically that a holder must check the website to be up to date on the laws. What is stupid to me is the notification of the re issue OCI rule. It should be stated in the booklet. Oh well. Life goes on. Can’t hold grudges on Obama forever.

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  23. fresh experience
    i hold indian passport
    son was born is usa, us passport, valid pio card
    his us passport got renewed, i carried new passport and pio card, not the old passport

    I was denied to board the plane on emirates flight on 13th

    Mad as hell

    Like

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