Everyone I have talked to about their experience of applying for an OCI card has had horror stories of missed application fees or multiple trips to complete the application in the exact way the government wants
One is eligible for an OCI card if one satisfies one of the following conditions:
Applying for an OCI card is a 2-step process and the salient features of the process are listed below:
Step-1: (Submission of fully completed application to a passport agent)
(a) Processing of documents at passport agent
(b) Processing at Embassy / Consulate in US
(c) Dispatch of applications to New Delhi from Embassy / Consulate
(d) Verification of OCI application at New Delhi
(e) Granting and Printing of OCI cards at New Delhi
(f) Dispatch of OCI Cards from New Delhi to country of application
(a) Arrival of printed OCI cards to US Embassy / Consulate
(b) Notification to the applicants to send US / Foreign Passports to passport agency for match-up.
(c) Dispatch of US / Foreign passports from applicants to passport agent
(d) US / Foreign Passports are sent to Embassy / Consulate for match-up
(e) Match up of OCI Cards with your Current Passport at Embassy / Consulate
(f) OCI Cards & US / Foreign Passports received at passport agent
(g) Return of OCI Cards & US / Foreign passports to the applicants.
The term "Passport agent" refers to a private firm (e. g. CKGS in the US) that has been entrusted with the job of screening the applications and making sure they are in proper order. The OCI card fee per individual is US $280 and there are some other overheads to take care of, so let us round it up to $300. Just reading the list above made my head spin a bit and I was thinking that the process is way too procedural and perhaps it can be simplified without removing any of the security aspects.
Everyone I have talked to about their experience of applying for an OCI card has had horror stories of missed application fees or multiple trips to complete the application in the exact way the government wants and so on. Some gave up after a few tries because they felt that the effort is not worth it.
Here are my suggested steps for getting an OCI card:
Families visiting India will be given an option of applying for an OCI card upon arrival
(a) While going through immigration, the official can determine if the visitor(s) is eligible for an OCI card and offers to process it for a fee.
(b) If they agree, copies of the passports and photographs can be taken (cameras are available in all counters or they can be sent to special counters that are setup for OCI processing) and the signatures can be obtained so the application can be sent to New Delhi for processing. This should take no more than 10 minutes per family.
(c) Once the application has been deemed approved, OCI cards can be mailed directly to the applicant's residence.
The Indian government must realise that its diaspora are its biggest friends and assets. They will be motivated to participate in its growth and success. This will go a long way in affirming its commitment to better governance.