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Am I eligible to become an Overseas Citizen of India?

Publish Date: 02/11/2023

Becoming an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) is a route many Indian-born Canadian citizens may look to pursue because India does not allow dual citizenship. Upon coming to Canada, many immigrants desire to eventually obtain citizenship due to the benefits it provides, including being able to vote in federal elections and hold a Canadian passport.

However, when an immigrant becomes a Canadian citizen, some foreign nationals will be required to forfeit their original citizenship because of the laws in their home country. An OCI is someone who holds a foreign (non-Indian) passport and is not a citizen of India but applies for a card that provides them with a “multiple entry, multi-purpose, life-long visa for visiting India, exemption from registration with Foreign Regional Registration Officer or Foreign Registration Officer for any length of stay in India, and [the right] to general parity with Non-Resident Indians.”

Who is eligible for an OCI card?

Canadian citizens of Indian origin can apply to become an OCI if they:

  • Were an Indian citizen when or after the Constitution of India took effect on January 26, 1950
  • Were eligible to become a citizen of India on the day the Constitution of India took effect (see above)
  • Are a citizen of another country but “belonged to a territory that became part of India” after August 15, 1947
  • Are minor child, child, grandchild or a great-grandchild of someone who meets the above criteria*
  • Are a minor child with at least one parent who is an Indian citizen
  • Are the spouse (themselves of foreign origin) to an Indian citizen or an OCI cardholder registered under section 7A of India's Citizenship Act, 1955**

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