- OCI and OCI in Lieu of PIO Card Holders Can Travel Without Universal Visa
- August 17, 2015
- Law Firm: Fragomen Del Rey Bernsen Loewy LLP - New York Office
- Foreign nationals who apply for new Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cards or for the new category of OCI in lieu of Person of India Origin (PIO) cards will no longer be issued Universal (U) visa stickers in their passport but will instead only be issued an OCI booklet upon approval. This means OCI and OCI in lieu of PIO card holders who obtain new passports can travel with just their OCI booklet and passport, without having to carry their old passport with the U visa endorsement.
This process change is related to this year’s merger of the OCI and PIO categories.
Prior to this rule change, OCI cards issued to foreign nationals of Indian origin were accompanied by a U visa endorsed in the OCI applicant’s passport, which is a multiple entry, multi-purpose lifelong visa. OCI card holders had to carry their passport containing the U visa as well as the OCI booklet to enter and exit India.
Indian missions worldwide will now progressively stop issuing the U visa and will include a ‘Visa Validity - Lifelong’ endorsement in the OCI booklet.
As per existing OCI guidelines, OCI card holders below the age of 20 will still need to update their OCI card with each new passport issued. Those between the ages of 20 and 50 do not need to update their OCI card when they obtain a new passport and those above 50 will need to update their OCI card at least once.
What This Means for Foreign Nationals
Foreign nationals of Indian origin with OCI cards or OCI in lieu of PIO cards can enter and exit India based on their OCI booklet and current valid passport. Those with new passports will no longer have to carry their old passports bearing the U visa endorsement.