Good News: OCI Cardholders can travel to India

In March 2020, when the Government of India put the country on lockdown, they suspended all existing issued Visas and also clubbed the Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) cardholders with them. OCI cards are basically lifelong visas to India issued to people who have a connection with the country via their bloodline.

This decision put a lot of people in a tight spot. For instance, those who were OCIs via marriage to an Indian or were Indians working abroad had kids who were born overseas and got the citizenship of the other country. A lot many Indians who lost their jobs in the USA and are expiring the 60-day grace period to get another visa sponsors are not being able to return to the country on repatriation flights because they have kids who are US Citizens and OCI cardholders.

Anyhow, the good news is that the Government has reversed their stance today, and will allow specific categories of Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) cardholders to travel to India. These include minor children born to Indian nationals abroad; those who want to travel for family emergencies and university students who are OCI cardholders but whose parents are Indian citizens living in India.

According to the order, issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs today,

It is now been decided to permit the following categories of Overseas Citizens of India cardholders who are stranded abroad.

1) Minor children holding born to Indian nationals abroad and holding OCI cards
2) OCI cardholders who wish to come to India on account of family emergencies like death in the family.
3) Couples where one spouse is an OCI cardholder and the others is an Indian national and they have a permanent residence in India.
4) University students who are OCI cardholders (not legally minors) but whose parents are Indian Citizens living in India.”

Here is a copy of the order issued today.
a paper with text on it


This is good news for those who have been waiting for an opportunity to come back to India but were not able to go back because of various permutations and combinations of their family which included people who were OCI cardholders.

About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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  1. I am USA citizen holding OCI status living in Bangalore. My helper/assistant is Indian passport with 10 year USA b1 domestic visa. He has traveled to USA with me twice as well as other countries since he is my caregiver. I want to go home to USA for a visit and return to my home in India after 3 months or more.
    Can my assistant travel with me ? Will I have problems returning to india

  2. Although I am OCI cardholder, I have never left India for good. Iam still working and residing in India. I had come on a vacation to London and was supposed to travel on 14th March 2020 where I had to cancel my travel abruptly because of ban on OCI card holders in India. Now I am stranded in London how will I travel back. Plz help

  3. I leave india for sweden on 11.03.2020 for meet my son and tourism and my return ticket to india was 04.05.2020.but standered due to cancellation of flight. My schengen visa was valid upto 19.05.2020.
    Is extention of visa is required to back my country India.
    Am I a OCI card holder?

    • You are not OCI card holder.
      You must be Indian citizen with Indian passport.
      You should have been able to travel back on the special repatriation flights operated by Air India, if any from Sweden.

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