All you foreigners out there (as in born somewhere outside of India) who are looking for an OCI opportunity, you’ve gotta get yourself hitched to a native of the mother land if you’re looking to get an OCI card.
We recently just went through the process of applying for an OCI card for me and I thought maybe there’s some other people out there who are also looking into the process and might need some guidance. Getting anything done with the government and involving paperwork in India is a big big big mission and it can be very frustrating or even seem impossible. Big sigh. I know. I’m with you, boo.
Okay, so, here’s the best information that I can tell you from my personal experience. One of the biggest mistakes people often do is they don’t realize that after you get married to your brown sugar of choice you HAVE TO BE MARRIED FOR TWO YEARS before you can even apply for the OCI card. Got it?! Otherwise you will go through the hassle of all of the paper work and fees and then be rejected and then have to reapply and pay again when it is the appropriate timing.
Shortly after our two year anniversary, which we celebrated and had the best time (you can read my whimsical retelling of that night here), we headed on the train to Bombay to do a fast and furiously quick trip to submit paperwork for my OCI card. Every city has a certain jurisdiction for submitting paperwork and since we live in Goa it falls under the Bombay precinct. You’ll have to ask your local FRRO office where to submit your papers but it’s usually in the capital cities.
The train is always my favorite way to travel around India, but this time, it was a slightly different experience. Ahem. My darling husband couldn’t resist the 250 rupee ticket deal and booked immediately. Little did we know there were “better” cars on that specific train and we didn’t get the best seats for such a long ride. If you’re not traveling very far the cheapest seats are totally fine and good, but if you’re going on a long ride then I’d recommend not getting seats without a bed. . .as in sleeper class. Sleeper class A/C is the way I like to go. You can sleep all you want and you don’t have to smell the charming scents at random stops. Heh heh.
However, we did get to see a train culture that you don’t see in other compartments and the views were just stunning. Lush jungle, mystical rivers, coconut trees all flew by like panoramic views in an epic movie.
I particularly love stopping at the stations because all the food sellers come on and walk down the aisles shouting out their products like an auctioneer yelling at a crowd of people with paddles. They even speak so fast and repeat so often they just roll the words in a circular motion round and round and round. I can’t help but giggle and wobble my head as they say things like “koo-ker-eh-koo-ker-eh-koo-ker-eh-koo-ker-eh.” Half the time I don’t even understand what they are advertising and I have to ask Magic Man to decode.
Our ten hour train ride ended up being four hours delayed and boy, oh boy, were we tired. We quickly realized that although cheap seats are a great deal they are not a good idea for such long rides because you can’t take a nap. That totally sucks. We paid for that mistake arriving into Bombay at 3am without any sleep and then having to wake up for office work at 8am. Let’s just say, never again.
I haven’t spent much time in Bombay so I found the architecture that we passed on the way to the FRRO office to be surprisingly gorgeous. So many of the buildings had cool gargoyles and arched windows with stained glass that were reminiscent of a time long long ago. The structures were majestic, large, and sometimes looking straight out of a fairy tale or maybe a building at Hogwart’s.
Well, I can’t say for the FRRO’s in other cities, but this is what the Bombaby one looks like. . .
The best part of this office is that they have photo copies and the correct size picture taking available in the same hallway as where you submit paper work so you don’t have to run around for those things last minute. By the way, you will need photo copies of everything and also multiple copies of each as well.
To start your OCI process, you must first go to the website and fill out the online application here. Then you will need to print out that application and submit with all other paper work.
LIST OF THINGS YOU NEED TO SUBMIT FOR OCI:
1) Foreign Passport (need photocopy of info page)
2) Valid Indian X visa (need photocopy of visa page)
3) Stay Visa and Residence Permit (photocopies of both pages)
4) Entry into India stamp page of passport if passport collected overseas
5) Indian Cancelled Passport (apply to only ex- Indian)
6) Indian Passport Surrender Certificate (apply to only ex-Indian)
7) Birth / Marriage Certificate (photocopies of both)
*Marriage certificate must be apostled if married outside of India to be valid
8) Indian Spouse Passport (photo copy of info page)
9) Copy of Assento de Nascimento if holding Portuguese Passport (for ex-Indian)
10) Copy of OCI of family members, like spouse (if any)
11) Notarized affidavit from Indian spouse stating they will inform government of any divorce within 1 month
12) 4 Photos (can be taken in the hallway of FRRO office in Bombay)
· Light background (Strictly not white / cream)
· 51 x 51 mm
· 80% Face Area
13) Demand Draft for Rs. 15000/- in favour of :
PAY & ACCOUNTS OFFICER (SECRETARIAT) Ministry of Home Affairs
Payable in New Delhi
Once you have all required documents you are ready to go to the FRRO office. You must submit papers in person. Mailing is not an option. Since we were pretty organized (and they had the copy machine and picture taking in the same hallway) we didn’t end up having to do any running around. That was a total surprise. It’s usually way more complicated because for some reason no one likes to inform people on the correct documents so it turns into a wild goose chase.
I hope this helps you. Good luck.
After we finished at the FRRO office, we were feeling pretty relieved and enjoyed the walk back. Magic Man indulged in one of his favorite treats and I loved all the sights. . .
Less than 24 hours later we were back on the train heading to our precious jungle paradise. . .in the A/C sleeper class. Hooray! The big cities are beautiful but we love our little tranquil bubble away from all the noise and chaos.
Remember, when you’re doing anything in India that requires forms and paper work, you must have a lot of patience and stay calm. It can be a very frustrating experience and it’s much better for everyone involved to keep your cool, dude.
Okay, as always. . .
Love yourself. Love the planet. Love life. Then things will always be Goangood! 😉