PASSPORTS AND CITIZENSHIP
The Indian government recently launched a program called "Overseas Citizens of India" or "OCI". This program often has been mischaracterized as "dual nationality" or "dual citizenship." However, a person who holds an OCI Card in reality is granted an Indian visa, not Indian citizenship. Thus, an American citizen who obtains OCI status remains a citizen only of the United States. The OCI Card is a special visa which grants the holder the right to indefinitely visit, study or work in India, and also the right to own most types of property in India (excluding certain agricultural and plantation properties). A holder of an OCI card also need not register with local police/immigration authorities, unlike other holders of Indian visas. An OCI holder, however, does not receive an Indian passport, and has no other political rights in India, including the right to vote or eligibility for government employment.
The OCI card is similar to a Person of Indian Origin (PIO) Card, except that PIO cards are not granted for life, and PIO Card holders may be required to register with police/immigration authorities under certain circumstances.
An American citizen who wishes to obtain a PIO or OCI Card, may apply outside of India at the Indian Embassy in Washington, DC, or at an Indian consulate in New York, Chicago, San Francisco or Houston. An American citizen who resides in India can apply at the Foreigner’s Regional Registration Office (FRRO) in New Delhi (tel. 2671-1348). The FRRO also maintains offices in Mumbai, Chennai (known as the Chennai Immigration Office), Calcutta and Amritsar. In Delhi, applications also may be made at the Foreigner's Division of the Ministry of Home Affairs, located at Jaisalmer House, 26 Man Singh Road, New Delhi (tel. 2338-7436). For more information on the OCI program, please see http://mha.nic.in/uniquepage.asp?Id_Pk=553