New regulations restricting some activities for Overseas Citizenship of India cardholders

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Photo: PWM

New Delhi has specified that an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholder shall require a special permit for various activities which includes missionary, journalistic activities or to visit any place which falls within the Protected or Restricted or prohibited areas as notified by the Central Government.

The Home Ministry issued a notification on Thursday March 4, 2021, giving details about the rights of OCI cardholders.
“The OCI cardholder shall be required to obtain a special permission or a Special Permit, as the case may be, from the competent authority or the Foreigners Regional Registration Officer or the Indian Mission concerned,” the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said.

The special permit would be required to undertake several activities, including any missionary or ‘Tabligh’ or mountaineering or journalistic activities, any foreign Diplomatic Missions or foreign Government organizations in India.

The ministry also said that there is an exemption from registration with the Foreigners Regional Registration Officer (FRRO) or Foreigners Registration Officer for any length of stay in India provided that the OCI cardholders who are normally residents of India shall intimate the jurisdictional FRRO by email whenever there is a change in permanent residential address and in their occupation.

For OCI cardholders, entry fees to be charged for visiting national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, national monuments, historical sites and museums in India and tariffs in airfares in domestic sectors in the country shall be at par with the Indian nationals, the Ministry ordered.

OCI cardholders will also have parity with Non-Resident Indians in the matter of inter-country adoption of Indian children subject to the compliance of the procedure as laid
down by the competent authority for such adoption.

Other such matters where OCI cardholders will have parity with Non-Resident Indians include appearing for the all India entrance tests such as National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET), Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) (Mains), JEE (Advanced) or such other tests to make them eligible for admission only against any Non-Resident Indian seat or any supernumerary seat; and purchase or sale of immovable properties other than agricultural land or farm house or plantation property.

The ministry further said that the OCI cardholders can pursue the professions in India as per the provisions contained in the applicable relevant statutes or Acts as the case maybe, which includes doctors, dentists, nurses and pharmacists, advocates, architects, chartered accountants.

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