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Step-by-Step Guide: How to Apply for an OCI Card in the UK

  • In Updates
  • 04 Aug 2023, 12:27 AM
  • By Technologist Confidant
Step-by-Step Guide: How to Apply for an OCI Card in the UK

Comprehensive Guide to Applying for OCI Card - Blog

If you are an overseas citizen of Indian origin residing in the UK and planning to visit India frequently, obtaining an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card is a smart choice. The OCI card offers multiple-entry, life-long access to India, without any restrictions on the length of stay. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through every step of the OCI application process in the UK to make it as smooth as possible.


What is an OCI Card?

An OCI card, which stands for Overseas Citizen of India, is a unique identity document issued by the Indian government to individuals of Indian origin who are foreign citizens. The OCI card provides the holder with significant benefits, including a multiple-entry, life-long visa to visit India. It also grants the holder parity with Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) in various fields, such as financial, educational, and economic sectors, except for the acquisition of plantation/agricultural properties.

The OCI card is a valuable document for individuals who have migrated from India, or those who are married to Indian citizens, or have Indian-origin parents or grandparents. Minor children with foreign nationality are also eligible for an OCI card if their parents are either Indian citizens or OCI cardholders.


Advantages of Having an OCI Card:

  • Multiple-entry, life-long visa to India: The OCI card offers the convenience of travelling to India multiple times without the need for a separate visa for each visit.
  • One-time cost: The application fee for an OCI card is a one-time expense, making it an economical choice for frequent travellers to India.
  • No need to report to authorities for the length of stay in India: OCI cardholders are not required to register with local authorities for any duration of their stay in India.
  • Parity with NRIs in financial, educational, and economic fields: OCI cardholders enjoy similar benefits as Non-Resident Indians, allowing them to invest, buy property, and pursue educational opportunities in India.
  • Facilitates quicker immigration clearance and consular services: The OCI card expedites the immigration process at Indian airports and enables access to consular services in India.


Disadvantages of Having an OCI Card:

An OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) card is a valuable document that provides certain benefits to foreign nationals of Indian origin. However, it also comes with some disadvantages. Here are some of the disadvantages of having an OCI card:

  • Restricted political rights: OCI cardholders do not have the right to vote or hold public office in India. This means they cannot participate in the democratic process, which may be considered a disadvantage for those who wish to actively engage in Indian politics.
  • Limited property rights: While OCI cardholders have some property rights in India, they are not allowed to acquire agricultural or plantation properties. This restriction can be a drawback for those looking to invest in certain types of real estate.
  • Visa requirements for certain countries: Although an OCI card allows for visa-free travel to India, some countries may still require OCI cardholders to obtain visas for entry. This can be an inconvenience for those who frequently travel to countries with such visa requirements.
  • Dual citizenship limitations: India does not permit dual citizenship, so even though OCI cardholders enjoy many benefits, they are not considered full Indian citizens. This could be a disadvantage for individuals who desire the full rights and privileges of citizenship.


Applying for an OCI Card in the UK involves the following steps:

Fill up the OCI online application form: Visit the official VFS Global website (https://www.vfsglobal.com/india/uk/) and fill out the OCI application form online. Once you have completed the form, take a printout of it.

Gather required documents: Collect all the necessary documents needed for the OCI application. These typically include passport-sized photographs, proof of Indian origin, proof of current citizenship, proof of residence in the UK, and other supporting documents as mentioned on the VFS Global website.

Submit the application to the VFS centre: Visit the nearest VFS Global centre in the UK along with your completed application form, required documents, and the OCI application fee. VFS Global will verify your documents and accept your application.

Wait for processing: The processing time for an OCI application can take around 6-8 weeks, as advised by VFS Global. You can track the status of your application online through the VFS Global website using the application reference number provided during submission.

Visit VFS centre with the status printout: Once your application status updates to "Processed," visit the VFS Global centre again. Bring the printout of the application status as proof. You will be required to submit your original foreign (British) passport at this stage.

Return of your British passport and OCI card: According to the updated process, VFS Global will now collect your British passport on the first visit itself and return it back to you within 7-10 working days. They will stamp your OCI visa in the passport, and you will receive both your passport and the OCI card with the stamp.


Step 1: Gather the Required Documents

Before you begin the application process, ensure you have all the necessary documents ready. These documents are vital for a successful application, and they include:

  • A valid foreign passport with a minimum validity of 6 months: Make sure your passport meets the validity requirements to avoid any delays in the application process.
  • Surrender Certificate (if applicable): If you canceled your Indian passport after obtaining British citizenship, you'll need the surrender certificate as proof.
  • Proof of Indian Origin: This can be a copy of your canceled Indian passport and surrender certificate, demonstrating your Indian heritage.
  • Naturalization certificate (if applicable): If you have acquired British citizenship through naturalization, include the naturalization certificate.
  • Proof of address in the UK: Provide a document that confirms your current residential address in the United Kingdom.
  • Passport-size photographs: Prepare a few passport-sized photographs meeting the specific size requirements for the application.
  • Additional documents for specific cases: Depending on your situation, you might need to submit additional documents, such as a spouse OCI card, relationship certificate, or PIO card.


Step 2: Complete OCI Application Online (Part-A)

Visit the official OCI Online Registration website (https://ociservices.gov.in) and select "New OCI Registration."

OCI New Registration Step 1

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  • Answer the captcha security question and click "Enter."
  • Choose "Fresh Application" and select "UK" as the place of submission.


OCI Registration Fresh Application Step 2

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  • Fill in your personal information, passport details, and occupation details accurately. Take your time and ensure all the information is correct.

As you proceed with the form filling process, you will notice a Temporary Application ID generated in red at the top right section of the OCI form. It is essential to make a note of this ID as it serves as a reference for accessing and continuing the same application later, if needed.

  • Verify the information, save your progress, and click "Proceed to Part-B" to move on to the next step.


OCI Registration Form Applicant's Information Step 3

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Please ensure that you enter the details of your current foreign passport in this section of the application (and not your Indian passport). It is common to automatically enter the Indian passport number due to years of usage. However, providing the incorrect passport details may lead to rejection of your application by the officer at VFS.

  • After completing the necessary details, click on the "Update & Continue" button to advance to the next part of the application.
  • This will direct you to Page-II of Part-A in the online OCI application form.


OCI Online Form Enter Family Information Step 4

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Step 3: OCI Application Form Page-II of Part-A

In this section, you will provide details related to your occupation and address. Follow these steps to complete Page-II of Part-A:

  • Occupation Details: Enter the necessary information about your employer. If you are self-employed or run your own business, provide the address of your company or business.
  • Present Address: Input your current address in the UK.
  • Native Place Address: Enter your address in India. If you do not have a specific address in India, you may use an address in the UK. For instance, you could use your parents' address in India.

Once you have filled in the required details, click "Next" to proceed.


OCI Registration Occupation Details and Address Step 5

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Verification of Entered Information:

On the subsequent screen, carefully review the information you have provided in the following sections:

  • Applicant Information
  • Family Information
  • Passport Information
  • Occupation Details
  • Residential Address Details

Please note that after submission, you will not be able to make any changes to the OCI application form. If any modifications are required, you can click "Modify" to edit the details before finalizing the submission.


Submitting the OCI Application:

  • When you are satisfied with the accuracy of the information, click "Submit" to complete the OCI application form.
  • Upon successful submission, a confirmation message will appear, and you will receive an OCI File Reference Number that begins with GRBL.


OCI Registration File Reference Number Part A Successful

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Important Note: Ensure to save the GRBL number as it is your OCI Registration number, which will be required for booking your VFS appointment to submit the OCI application physically.

Congratulations! You have successfully completed Part-A of the OCI online application form. Proceeding with Part-B will bring you closer to obtaining your OCI card and enjoying the privileges of being an Overseas Citizen of India.


Step 4: Upload Scanned Image and Signature (Part-B)

  • In Part-B, you will need to upload square-sized passport photographs and signatures meeting specific size and aspect ratio requirements.
  • For passport photographs, ensure they are between 200x200 pixels and 900x900 pixels in size. Signatures should have an aspect ratio of 3:1, ranging from 200 x 67 pixels to 900 x 300 pixels.
  • Take care when uploading the images, ensuring they meet the guidelines and are clear and legible.
  • Verify the uploaded images and click "Proceed to Upload Documents" to proceed.


Upload Applicant Image and Signature OCI Registration Step 7

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Step 5: Upload Supporting Documents

Part-B of the OCI application form primarily deals with your Citizenship Details. It is divided into three sections: Citizenship Details, Present Nationality Details, and Other Details. Follow these steps to complete Part-B:

Citizenship Details: Answer all the questions regarding your citizenship as per the provided questionnaire.


OCI Card Registration Part B Citizenship Details Step 9

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Present Nationality Details: Provide information on how you acquired British Citizenship, including details about naturalization or registration. Enter the date of becoming a British Citizen.

Other Details: If you previously held any other nationality, select and provide relevant details. If you have any relatives residing in India, select "Yes" and provide their information.


OCI Card Registration Part B Applicant Nationality Details Step 10

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Once all the sections are filled out, click "Submit" to proceed.

You will then be presented with a confirmation screen.


OCI Card Registration Upload Documents Part B Successful Step 11

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Congratulations! You are almost done with the OCI application process. By successfully completing Part-A (including online document upload) and Part-B, you have made significant progress.

The final step is to upload the supporting documents required for your OCI application.



Step 6: Pay the OCI Application Fee

  • After submitting the application form and uploading documents, proceed to pay the OCI application fee online.
  • The application fee is a one-time cost for a lifetime visa, making it a cost-effective choice for frequent travelers to India.
  • Make sure to keep a record of the payment confirmation for future reference.


Step 7: Book an Appointment with VFS Global

  • With the application and payment complete, it's time to book an appointment with VFS Global, the designated outsourcing agency for OCI services in the UK.
  • Visit the VFS Global website (https://www.vfsglobal.com/india/uk) to schedule an appointment.


Book VFS appointment High Commission of India Website

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  • Choose the nearest VFS Global Application Center and select a date and time that works best for you.


Select VFS appointment online OCI Application

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Step 8: Visit VFS Global Application Center

  • On the day of your scheduled appointment, visit the selected VFS Global Application Center in person.
  • Bring the printed OCI application form, original documents, and photocopies as per the checklist provided by VFS Global.
  • During your visit, you'll also need to complete biometric data, including fingerprints and a photograph.
  • The VFS Global staff will assist you throughout the process, ensuring everything is in order.


Step 9: Wait for Processing

  • After submitting the application, patiently await the processing of your OCI application by the High Commission of India.
  • Processing time typically takes 6-8 weeks, so be patient and avoid any unnecessary inquiries during this period.
  • You can track the application status online using the reference number provided during the application process.


Step 10: Collect OCI Card and Original Passport

  • Once your application is processed, you'll receive an email notification from VFS Global informing you of the status update.
  • If your application is approved, return to the VFS Global Application Center to collect your OCI card and original British passport.
  • Congratulations! You now hold an OCI card, granting you multiple-entry, life-long access to India.

By following this step-by-step guide, you have successfully completed the OCI application process in the UK. Your OCI card opens the door to countless adventures in India, allowing you to explore its rich cultural heritage, breathtaking landscapes, and warm hospitality. Embrace the convenience and benefits of this lifelong visa, and embark on unforgettable journeys to India whenever you wish.



What documents are required for OCI application submission at the VFS centre?

  • OCI Application form (printed earlier)
  • Signed Declaration Form
  • 2 photographs (50mmx50mm)
  • Copy of valid British Passport (along with the original for verification)
  • Marriage certificate (if applicable)
  • Naturalisation certificate or relevant document for acquiring British Citizenship
  • Employee Letter (for employed individuals) or proof of last employment and bank statements (for unemployed individuals)
  • Proof of Indian Origin
  • Two self-addressed Royal Mail special delivery envelopes (Silver A4 sized) per application


Are there any additional documents required based on specific cases?

  • For those who acquired foreign nationality before May 2010 or cannot produce the Indian Passport Surrender certificate, additional documents may be required.
  • For OCI applications based on Indian origin of Parents/Grandparents or Spouses, additional documentation may apply.
  • Special documents are necessary for OCI application for minors and PIO to OCI conversion.


What are the guidelines for document comparison and submission?

  • Take single-sided print-outs of the documents.
  • Provide self-attested photocopies of all original documents.
  • Carry the documents in two separate bundles - one for Originals and the other for self-attested photocopies.
  • Ensure you have two special delivery envelopes per application.


Do you need to get a new OCI card when your passport is renewed/re-issued?

  • It depends on the age at which you obtain your first OCI card. Re-issuance is mandatory up to the age of 20 and only once after turning 50 due to frequent changes in facial features during this period.


Can you apply for OCI on behalf of family members?

  • Yes, immediate family members may submit applications on behalf of other family members, providing proof of relationship (original passport/identity document).


Can you apply for OCI by post?

  • No, applying for OCI in the UK can only be done through VFS in person.


Do you need to submit your original passport for OCI application?

  • Original passport is needed for verification when submitting the application initially. It will be returned to you after verification. Once the status shows "processed," you will need to resubmit your original British passport to receive the new OCI booklet.


Do you need to book an appointment again to submit the original British Passport and status proof?

  • No, you do not need to book another appointment. You can submit the documents when the online status shows that HCI has received the OCI application.


Can you apply for duplicate OCI documents in case of loss?

  • Yes, you can apply for duplicate OCI documents. You will need to file a police complaint and attend a personal interview for this process.


What are the primary documents required for uploading online for a fresh OCI application?

  • Current British passport and Naturalisation Certificate for British Citizenship
  • Proof of Indian origin - Copy of cancelled Indian passport and surrender certificate.


How should I upload multiple documents online for my OCI application?

  • To upload multiple documents, combine them into a single PDF file and upload it under an available similar category. Make sure to follow the instructions provided during the online application process.

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