Nov. 9, 2019

The Indian government has revoked author Aatish Taseer’s Overseas Citizen of India card as his father was a Pakistani national. Taseer grew up in India, and holds a British passport and a Green Card in the US.


  • Timeline:
    • An Overseas Citizen of India, or OCI, is a category introduced by the government in 2005.

    • Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) of certain categories as specified in the Citizenship Act, 1955 are eligible for being OCI cardholders.

    • Some of the benefits for PIO and OCI cardholders were different until 2015, when the government merged these two categories.

  • Eligibility:
    • The Ministry of Home Affairs defines an OCI as a person who was a citizen of India on or after January 26, 1950; or was eligible to become a citizen of India on that date; or who is a child or grandchild of such a person, among other eligibility criteria.

    • According to Section 7A of the OCI card rules, an applicant is not eligible for the OCI card if he, his parents or grandparents have ever been a citizen of Pakistan or Bangladesh.

  • Benefits:
    • OCI cardholders can enter India multiple times, get a multipurpose lifelong visa to visit India, and are exempt from registering with Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) no matter how long their stay.

    • If an individual is registered as an OCI for a period of five years, he/she are eligible to apply for Indian citizenship.

    • OCI cardholders can open special bank accounts in India, they can buy non-farm property and exercise ownership rights and can also apply for a driver’s license and PAN card.

  • Limitations on their rights:
    • However, OCI cardholders do not get voting rights, cannot hold a government job and purchase agricultural or farm land.

    • They cannot run for public office either, nor can they travel to restricted areas without government permission.