What is the difference between OCI and eVisa in India?
OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) and e-Visa are two types of documents that allow foreign individuals to enter India, although they serve different purposes and have different qualifying requirements and advantages. Here are the key distinctions between OCI and e-Visa in India:
OCI (Overseas Citizen of India)
- Purpose: OCI is a long-term immigration status granted to foreign nationals of Indian origin or certain spouses of Indian citizens or OCI cardholders. It provides them with a lifelong right to visit India for various purposes, including tourism, business, employment, or educational pursuits.
- Eligibility: OCI is available to individuals who meet specific eligibility criteria, such as being of Indian origin, having parents or grandparents who were citizens of India, or being married to an Indian citizen or OCI cardholder. It is not limited to specific countries.
- Duration of Stay: OCI allows for multiple entries into India with no specific limit on the duration of stay. However, if the stay exceeds 180 days in a single visit, registration with the local Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) is required.
- Benefits: OCI cardholders enjoy several benefits, including the ability to live, work, or study in India, exemption from reporting to police authorities for any length of stay, and parity with Indian citizens in terms of economic, financial, and educational fields. However, OCI cardholders do not have voting rights or the ability to hold certain public offices in India.
- Purpose: The Indian electronic visa (e-Visa) permits foreign citizens to visit India for tourism, business, medical treatment, or to attend conferences or events. It is a temporary visa option.
- Eligibility: Citizens of qualified countries can apply for an e-Visa. The list of qualifying nations may change, and various types of e-Visas (for example, tourist e-Visas, business e-Visas, and medical e-Visas) may have different criteria and limits.
- Duration of Stay: The length of stay permitted with an e-Visa varies according on the category. A tourist e-Visa, for example, allows for stays of up to 90 days, whilst a business e-Visa allows for stays of up to 180 days.
- Application Process: Online e-Visa applications are accepted, and the visa is electronically connected to the passport. When entering India, travelers must have a printout of their e-Visa approval.
In summary, OCI is a long-term immigration status that grants those of Indian descent or certain qualified groups perpetual multiple-entry access to India. In contrast, an e-Visa is a short-term electronic visa that may be used for tourist, business, medical purposes, or to attend events. The eligibility, term of stay, and application process for OCI and e-Visa vary.
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