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The OCI (of the spouse of an Indian) for dummies

After ten years of adventures visa-related, the time to end this story of annual meetings, endless trips, rule changes, frustration, had finally come. In short, I completed in August two years of marriage, which gave me the right to apply to become an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI), some kind of lifelong visa allowing me to live and work in India. Lifelong if you please! Well, at least as long as my marriage stands. Because it is the fact that I am married to an Indian person that gave (earned??!) me the right to this illustrious honor.

To put it simply, after two years of marriage, I could finally apply for an OCI. You know me, I was well ready on the D-Day – i.e. the day of my anniversary. But I had to wait till I had a few hours free in my calendar to go to the Foreign Registration Office in Delhi six days later. With the following papers (mentioned in this document / more information on the official website, where we also need to apply and upload documents):

  1. My passport (with my current visa and my registration to the FRRO) / also to be uploaded on the site
  2. My husband's passport / also to be uploaded on the site
  3. Our marriage certificate / also to be uploaded on the site
  4. A photo of myself and one of my signature / also to be uploaded on the site
  5. Our lease (not mentioned, but just in case, and it proved required)
  6. An 'indemnity bond' certified by a notary with a 100-rupee stamp (also not mentioned but I had often heard about it, so just in case, and by the way they kept it) / see an example of this document here
  7. A DD (Demand Draft) of 15,000 rupees to be drawn at 'Pay and Accounts Officer (Secretariat), Ministry of Home Affairs' payable at New Delhi
  8. The print-out of the form we have to fill up online

I will not spend time on how the office made fun of me when he checked my marriage date and my filing date – ‘you are not wasting time’! I’m not THAT eager to get the OCI, you see, it’s not the Holy Grail or anything, but I have heard that it takes more than three months and my visa expires in five and frankly if I could avoid going back to the Gurgaon FRRO...

When he was done laughing, he, in all seriousness, informed be about a (not so) funny rule: one must have lived for more than eight months in a city to apply (not six or twelve, no, eight). Obviously, this is mentioned nowhere on the site and obviously, I am far from it, having three months to complete. 24 months that I have been waiting and this jocker comes up with this crazy rule! I could cry. Maybe that’s why, seeing my face – or maybe I got a bit upset and yelling and shouting, I can’t remember – the officer accepted my file not without warning me “if it is rejected it won't be my fault”.

I then had to upload the passport of my husband under the ‘Proof of Indian Citizenship’. And finally I leave with a file number in my pocket!

But it would have been too easy wouldn’t it?

Two weeks later I get an email asking me to resubmit my marriage certificate. And when I comply, they explain to me that the words ‘marriage certificate registered under Special Marriage Act, 1954’ are missing on my certificate made in Mumbai. And then, the fun part begins.

a. We go to the Marriage Court of Gurgaon to register our marriage again. It’s illegal.

b. We try to find an agent who could get our certificate modified in Mumbai. The Bandra court replies that it is the standard certificate there and they won't change it. But maybe we can have them sign an affidavit. Except that the guy who married us has just be transferred and his replacement is on leave. And on that the agent stops picking up the phone.

c. We are still left with the option to re-register our marriage by getting married again, as per lawyers’ advice. But not in Gurgaon because the system has changed and one can no longer corrupt them. No, we would have to go to Ghaziabad and go take pictures at the temple and pay 15 000 rupees. I would do it for the experience you can imagine, except that it seemed a little too crazy... And I could really picture the scene where my marriage would be registered in 2016 and not in 2014 and I would have to wait another two years to apply (even though I was assured that antedating the document would not be a problem).

d. In despair, I thought I would send my favorite Indian plead our case in Mumbai.

e. And then finally, after three months of efforts and stress, I gave up. They can go to hell with their OCI...

India,OCI,FRRO,Foreign registration office,visaTwo days later, I'm not lying, I received a message stating that my application was approved and I had to send a new DD (the former having expired). I could not believe it. But the next day an officer showed up at my place – a normal procedure where they check that I live here where I say I live. And three days later I was officially an (Overseas) Indian Citizen!


Visa and OCI process for a baby born in India with Indian and foreign parents (as on February 2015)

1.     First step: a visa

 You need to get a 'new visa' done at the FRRO for which you need:

·         Form filled online here and printed out

·         Letter issued by the consulate

·         1 copy of marriage certificate

·         1 copy of baby and parents’ passports

·         1 copy of foreign parent's visa / PIO / OCI

·         1 copy of baby's Indian birth certificate

·         1 copy of residence proof

·         1 copy of the 2 forms in pages 3 & 4 of this document (it is not mentioned anywhere but I gave it and they filed it so I guess it is meant to be included - nice to notice that it has to be signed by

·         both parents, so don't forget in case only one parent makes it to the FRRO)

·         2 photos 3.5 x 4.5 cm with white background

·         Cash to pay the visa fee (4 800 rupees for 6 months for a French national)

NB: The visa will be valid from the date of passport issue and then it will take 3 months to get the OCI. You may want to take this into consideration to apply for a 6 month or 1 year visa!

It is said that you will pay a fine if you don’t process the visa within 2 weeks of receiving the passport. This didn’t happen to me, though I was almost 2 months late.

When to go: You need to go to the FRRO on the day you get an appointment (which you get once you have filled the form and uploaded the documents online).

Baby has to be there as his pic will be clicked.

Timing: Submissions are from 9:30 to 12 AM. The same day (either right away if the officer is there or at 3 PM) you will get the visa and registration!


2.     2nd step: the OCI (Overseas Citizen of India)

india,fro,frro,visa,oci,pio,passport,registration,newborn,babyAfter that you need to apply for OCI (there is no more PIO) at the FRRO. This is lifelong and doesn’t require registration. As the spouse of an Indian national you can also apply, after completing 2 years of marriage.

For which you need to bring:

·         2 print outs of the form filled online here (you can do it before getting the baby’s visa) – the baby has to ‘sign’ it, by putting his thumb print in the cell below the picture (left thumb for a boy, right thumb for a girl)

·         2 copies of baby's birth certificate (the Indian one if born in India or the foreign one with official English translation if born outside)

·         2 copies of marriage certificate self-attested

·         2 copies of baby's passport, visa and registration

·         2 copies of parents' passports self-attested

·         2 copies of foreign parent's visa / PIO / OCI self-attested

·         2 copies of residence proof self-attested

·         2 photos 5.1x5.1 cm with light blue background

·         Demand draft of 15 000 rs payable at ‘Pay and accounts (Secretariat) Ministry of Home Affairs, New Delhi’

When to go: You go to the FRRO, straight to the PIO / OCI section, without appointment.

Baby doesn't need to be here provided he has signed the form!

Timing: Submissions are from 9:30 AM to 1 PM.

After that there will be police verification at your place within 2 weeks. And then the OCI process will take around 3 months.

You keep the passport with you so you can travel with the visa given prior to the OCI application! 


If you go early for the visa and the officer is there to sign it, you can immediately apply for OCI and avoid a second trip! If not, you may try and apply in the afternoon - they are open though it says they don't take submissions! 


The Indian visa for dummies

The tourist visa:

1.     Validity: 6 months or 1 year

2.     Important: you can’t stay more than 90 days with a 1 year tourist visa!

3.     Entries: simple, double or multiple. But be careful, once you leave India, you need to wait 2 months before you are allowed to come back! (you can get a derogation from the local Indian authorities though). Apparently this rule has been lifted in December 2012 (see this site). The best is to check what is written at the bottom of the visa...

4.     Extension: can not be extended nor exchanged in India. But it is possible to extend it in another third country


The business visa:


1.     Validity: 3 months to 1 year

2.     Entries: simple, double or multiple

3.     Extension: can not be extended nor exchanged in India

4.     Important: You can’t stay more than 30 days with this visa in India!


The employment visa:


1.     Validity: 6 months or 1 year

2.     Entries: multiple

3.     Important : Can only be obtained in your country of origin, not in India

4.     Extension: You can extend it 4 times, every year, in India; after that you have to go to your home country and get a new visa (to sum up you can stay maximum 5 years in India with a visa)

5.     Condition to fulfil to be eligible: earning minimum 100 000 rupees (about 1 500 euros) per month except for ethnic cooks and translators

6.     For any change in location (moving to another city), of position (within the same company), of company, you will have to go back to your country of origin and get a new visa

7.     There is a possibility to change visa (from employment to tourist) in a third country

Important: Anyone staying more than 6 months in India has to register to the local Foreign Registration Office.

There are also other visas: journalist, student, spouse, yoga, medical etc. but I am not too aware…



In India (Mumbai) :

In your country: local website of VFS Global

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