OCI Cardholders don’t Need to Carry Old Passports for Travel to India until December 31, 2021

March 27, 2021: Recently, some airlines denying boarding to certain passengers below 20 or above 50 years of age for not having a new OCI card, in compliance with Indian government’s enforcement of the latest OCI card validity policy, stirred agitation among the foreign citizens of Indian origin in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, Singapore, New Zealand and the Middle East. The current deadline – June 30, 2021 – for OCI cardholders below 20 and above 50 years of age to get their cards issued has been extended until December 31, 2021, according to the Consulate General of India, New York.

Unlike before the OCI cardholders are not needed to carry the old passports, the number of which features on their existing OCI cards. The requirement of carrying the old passport along with the new passport has been done away, according to the Consulate General of India, New York. However, carrying the new passport is mandatory.

June 2020 (previous version): A major relief for Overseas Citizens of India with renewed passports but old OCI cards came just before the launch of Air India’s VBM flights for repatriation of Indians and Indian-origin foreign nationals abroad. In view of the Coronavirus pandemic, the rigid enforcement of the OCI validity and renewal policy by immigration authorities and airline officials was relaxed to ensure smooth travel to India till June 30, 2020. OCI card holders below 20 or above 50 years of age went on to take flights to India with their new passports, old OCI cards, and old cancelled passports post June 30, 2020. As per the latest reports, the Government of India announced a new deadline – June 30, 2021 – for OCI cardholders below 20 and above 50 years of age to get their cards reissued.

OCI card news, OCI card renewal rules, OCI card validity

In case OCI card holders below 20 or above 50 years forget to carry or fail to produce their old cancelled passport while traveling to India, they will be denied boarding. However, re-issuance of OCI card at the time of passport renewal for those below 20 or above 50 is a mandatory requirement that they must fulfill within the new deadline, June 30, 2021. The extended deadline is a welcome relief as long as they possess the old cancelled passport.

“Inadequate awareness about the sudden enforcement of the OCI card renewal rules which have been in place for years had resulted in a mounting number of trip cancellations and cases of harassment at origin airports or during transit at connecting airports before the COVID pandemic brought air travel to a standstill. However, the Government of India has been considerate towards OCI cardholders by not only extending the deadline further, but also allowing certain categories of OCI cardholders to travel to India on VBM and air bubble flights,” said the chief customer relations officer of Indian Eagle Travel.

Also Check: Eligible Categories of OCI Cardholders for Travel to India

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43 thoughts on “OCI Cardholders don’t Need to Carry Old Passports for Travel to India until December 31, 2021

  1. Mayur

    There is no clarity and mass NRIs are confused.
    Indian government should make it simple rule to avoid inconvenience and harassment
    Copy of notification should be available online or on Foreign Ministry’s website.
    It creates bad impression of red tapism.

    Reply
  2. jayant k vodela

    Indian government is won’t let passenger board plane, when overstaed in India after expiring Indian visa. They can enforce penalty at airport and let them board the plane. I sincerely appreciate if u take this issue to Indian government authority

    Reply
  3. Dharmbharati

    Not sure what the GOI is trying to achieve by harassing children and old people by these OCI rules? The demonetization, GST, Citizenship row etc are wasting the nation’s time and attention. Looks like the positions of officials have been filled with psychos.

    Reply
    • Ramchandra

      You have gotten used to American lifestyle and cannot deal with Indian problems!! That’s all! Even basic traffic in US makes us feel like terrible things have happened. Remember, millions and millions deal with such things in India daily. So please remember your patience that you had during your days in India. This is just minor inconvenience,

      Reply
      • Dhirubhai

        yes we got to American lifestyle and India is getting American lifestyle and claims to be global outsourcing provider. Pathetic and useless

        Reply
      • Dr MB Esq

        Most appropriate pointer. India and Indians have always bent backward to accommodate unforeseen lapses–that is my experience of many years (as compared to many other airports and pertinent officials elsewhere in this world!). Good to keep our innate desire to be harsher with us–Indians and India–in due check and balance!

        Reply
  4. Alok Kumar

    policies should be clear and the one that makes sense. OCI card is issued for life.
    So, why is it connected to a passport is not clear. Any passport number should not be listed on OCI card.
    And if listed, the need to get it updated every time a passport is renewed, should be waived for all OCI card holders irrespective of age.
    If a renewal is necessary, it should be automatic via filing the new, updated, info online.

    Reply
    • Mahendra Patl

      Your suggestion in correct. Like updating other information can be updated the new passport information can be updated on line. This will avoid lots of aggravation going to OCI office or mailing because OCI offices are wher parking is big issue, waiting for your number in line, travling for long distance in heavi traffic. By mailing OCI office lost of passport or sending back wrong passport. I have received wrong passport & OCI card from OCI office in New York.

      Reply
    • Satish

      Yes, if we need to update OCI booklet with new passport number, procedure need to be simplified. Like sticker that will be genetrated online can be afffix to original OCI booklet.

      Reply
      • Madhavi

        The solution is very simple. But then how will the middle men (CGI or VFS) will benefit. How will they make money. It will never happen. I am planning to travel to India in May 2021. I have a PIO for my son with 2024 expiry and my daughters OCI with Lifelong validity stamp. I have sent their US passport for renewal and its going to take 10-12 weeks and then I wont have time to renew it. So I will travel with their old PIO and OCI cards with old passports along plus new newsletter from NewYork Indian embassy mentioning that now its all extended till Dec 2021.

        Reply
        • SG

          Hi, Where does it say the deadline is extended till dec 2021. Everywhere I see its mentioned deadline is June 2021. Will be glad if you can point me to the newletter. I am in a similar situation as yours.

          Reply
        • RS

          I am in same situation and traveling in June. Can you let me know how it goes? Both my kids have PIO. My son’s expire Oct 2021 and my daughter’s 2024. I do not have time to convert PIO to OCI.

          Reply
    • Subbarao Kari

      I fully agree with what you are saying. When OCI is for life why renew it. If they want to get new photos for children/elderly they should state that reason. No where they say that. It takes long time to get OCI renewed. Also how do people know all these rule changes? especially when OCI is for life is printed on it.

      Reply
  5. Deepak rawat

    This is typical Indian way of doing things. They enforce the law suddenly and then sit and watch the fiasco.
    In this article they talked about this deadline “June 30, 2020” but there is no mention of that on the web page for
    “OCI card renewal rules” (this link is provided in this article itself).
    Indians are good workers but very poor managers – sorry, that’s what I see every where.

    Reply
  6. SHANKAR SARKAR

    It is a shame that Indian bureaucrats cannot write a very simple rule in easy and precise English.
    Actually there is no will, desire or work ethic.

    The content below is an excerpt taken directly from the Indian Embassy website.
    It provides a little bit more clarity.

    Guidelines about the Reissuance of Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) Card

    It has been noticed that some OCI cardholders were not allowed to board flights to India as the passport numbers on their OCI cards did not match with their current passport numbers and the OCI cards had not been reissued.
    To avoid this inconvenience, OCI cardholders are required to note the following guidelines regarding the reissuance of OCI Card:
    Up to the Age of 20 – OCI cardholders must get the OCI Card reissued each time their passport is renewed.
    Between 21-50 years – Reissuance of OCI Card is not required each time the passport is renewed. It is advisable to carry the old passport along with the current passport and the OCI Card as part of abundant caution, but is not mandatory.
    After completion of 50 years of age, OCI Card is required to be reissued mandatorily only once.

    LATEST BELOW
    Press Release on Relaxation in OCI Guidelines till 30th June 2020
    PRESS RELEASE
    The following OCI guidelines have been in force since 2005:
    1. OCI card needs to be re-issued each time a new passport is acquired by the cardholder up to the age of 20 years.
    OCI card is required to be re-issued once on acquiring a new passport after completing 50 years of age.
    Re-issuance of OCI card is not required each time a passport is issued to a cardholder between 21 and 50 years of age.
    2. This is to inform that Government of India has decided to grant temporary relaxation till 30th June 2020 in the following cases:
    In case an OCI card holder below the age of 20 years has not got the OCI card re-issued on change of passport, he/she may travel on the strength of his/her existing OCI card bearing old passport number subject to the condition that along with the new passport, the OCI cardholder carries old passport mentioned in the OCI card.
    In case an OCI card holder who has attained the age of 50 years and has got his/her passport renewed subsequently but has not got his/her OCI card re-issued on renewal of his/her passport, he/she may travel on the strength of the existing OCI card along with the old and new passports.
    3. It is, however, advised that OCI cardholders may take steps to comply with the existing OCI guidelines in Para 1 above and renew their OCI cards as required by the rules.

    Reply
  7. Raj

    Recently, hearing of these issues as applied to children travelling with their parents, several people I know just applied for a e-visa for the child few days before the planned trip.
    Since the OCI portion wasnt even brought up, they had no issues completing their trips!
    I agree having to do this despite the OCI being present is ridiculous though! The OCI replacement procedure is so slow and painful, that its just seemingly not worth it, especially for kids who have to renew their main passport every 5 years….as such by they time they reach 20 years, they will have to apply for a new OCI 4 times! Really? Minor children of NRI’s who were born abroad need to go through this procedure?

    Reply
  8. Tulsi K

    Renewal is not as simple as it sounds, one will have to make a trip to bank to arrange payment as they DO NOT accept credit card or personal checks. Following is what I found when I tried to submit online application to mail in for renewal in New York.
    “Payments must be made by Money order/Pay order /Cashiers/ Bankers check favoring “Cox and Kings Global Services USA LLC”.

    Reply
  9. Ed De

    Dear Indian Government, How about you just take money every 5 years but spare us the hassle and stress of renewing these OCIs over and over just to reflect a new password number or a new address on the same piece of paper.

    Have you ever considered a simple database update to reflect a new passport number or address in your records instead of repeatedly canceling and reissuing new OCIs every few years for each NRI, young or old.

    You, anyways, validate everything at the port of entry. So why is this not a practical solution?

    You can keep ripping us off with these application fees for every database update while we are happy to win our sanity back.

    Reply
  10. Rajan

    Cox & Kings on their website have screen shots – but these screenshots are not the same as the Government website ? – why the disconnect ?

    Reply
  11. PERMINDER BHATIA

    The application is too complicated. Its more simple to get USA passport renewal, then OCI renewal. I have been rejected 3 time on Minor issues- You missed middle name in your wife’s name etc. They need to make it simple. Send old OCI send fees and new passport and simple application.

    Reply
  12. Bhalchandra S. Pandya

    When so many travelers from so many countries are traveling to India with new passport and OCI stamped passport, why they have to go through the harassment. The old passport with OCI stamp and new passport should be allowed till new passport expires. Even than OCI is for life time why need to be made again? Make it easy so more Indians can travel to their mother land. Sad that we are still using 19th century thoughts. Hope some one will pay attention in politics or in authority.

    Reply
  13. Raj

    I can’t figure out since I have renewed my USA Passport, if I need to get my OCI card also renewed. I thought OCI card was for life, why confusing it now in such a way? also the age implications are so confusing, you don’t know whether you need to do anything or not. Why not put a questioner where you plug in your OCI card number, date of birth and the result lets you know what to do next?

    Reply
  14. Osler

    On oci card thay should keep enough room to add new passport number so when ever we renew passport just go to Indian Consalate and just add new passport number on oci card and Consalate stamp that’s it problem solve

    Reply
  15. Madhavi

    The solution is very simple. But then how will the middle men (CGI or VFS) will benefit. How will they make money. It will never happen. I am planning to travel to India in May 2021. I have a PIO for my son with 2024 expiry and my daughters OCI with Lifelong validity stamp. I have sent their US passport for renewal and its going to take 10-12 weeks and then I wont have time to renew it. So I will travel with their old PIO and OCI cards with old passports along plus new newsletter from NewYork Indian embassy mentioning that now its all extended till Dec 2021.

    Reply
  16. Nagabushana

    Recently I had submitted for OCI re-issue along with my passports for SFO VFS office. Although the checklist says “copy” for address proof, they asked for notarized affidavit. On the day I responded sending original document instead of dealing with notarized affidavit, SFO office returned my passports (old and new) without OCI booklet. Does anyone had similar experience? Now I do not know whether I can travel to India without OCI booklet (with only visa sticker on old passport). Even to ask for re-processing re-issue of OCI, they expect us to submit it which they didn’t returned. They are extremely difficult to reach (other than writing). I understand they are very busy but if they mess up the process after a long wait, our life becomes difficult. Any comments/feedback is welcomed.

    Reply
  17. Raj P

    This is so much confusing and no information is finding anywhere. Before booking my tickets I went to the Indian consulate and enquired about the above news just to avoid last-minute confusion at the airport. No one there to answer, after waiting some time one person came out and asked him by showing the press release, he said yes I can travel but no proof. Then we booked our tickets and ready to travel on 3rd March. But today (1st March) Emirates posted a press release on this and said minor much match passport number on OCI. Not sure what to do? Is airlines right or Indian Govt press release right? in big confusion have to travel with two kids once I reach Dubai if they won’t allow the board the flight will be in big trouble. Tried to reach Indian Consulate but no one answering the call. Maybe I need to cancel the flight to not to take risks.

    Reply
    • indianeagle Post author

      Hi Raj! In our knowledge, June 30, 2021 is the deadline for reissuance of OCI Cards for those below 20 and above 50 years of age. Could you share Emirates’ press release that you referred to in your post?

      Reply
  18. ssjuneja

    Hi

    We are planning to travel to India beginning of April and my minor Son will travel with his old OCI card (ofcourse will carry old passport as well).
    we plan to come back in July to US, since the extension is until June 30th will it impact our return travel for my minor Son with US passport?
    Could anyone please provide clarification on that?

    Reply
    • indianeagle Post author

      Hi Surinder! No one can give clarification. Please be advised to not take risk if the current deadline is not extended further. Once the deadline expires, airlines will strictly enforce the rules.

      Reply
      • Nagabushana

        I agree with your comment. But OCI visa is needs to be valid while entry (ofcourse if you are carrying both OCI card and the passport associated passport old or new). While departing I do not understand what could be a problem (I could be wrong). While departing one should have valid visa to enter the country such that airline can let you travel – right?

        Reply
  19. Dmehta

    Hi – is this deadline of June 2021 officially granted? I turned 50 in September and traveling soon on original OCI that is tied to my first US passport, I got a new US passport 4 years ago and traveled once to India using OCI but that time I was 47. Pls advise. Thank You.

    Reply
    • indianeagle Post author

      Hi Dipesh! As per the rules, you need to get the OCI card revalidated/reissued on renewal of the passport after you became 50. However, the rules are relaxed till June 30, 2021.

      Reply
  20. Jay

    As I understand, deadline for OCI re issue has been extended until June 30th, 2021. So, if an OCI holder travels to India from US on say June 15th 2021 (after school year is done) and returns on say July 30th 2021 from India to US, will he/she still be allowed to travel back into US on that date with current OCI, old US passport and new US passport?

    Reply
    • indianeagle Post author

      Hi Jay! We regret not being able to address your query this moment. Please be advised to check with the airline that you will be traveling on.

      Reply
      • Tacofan

        Dear Ms Shailza

        Allowed to travel with current OCI, old US passport and new US passport for departure from Washington and back.

        Regards,

        Laxman Karki
        Manager Washington
        Tel(o)+15718885152

        Reply
  21. Tacofan

    Hello Jay and for anyone who is looking for this clarity

    Dear Ms Shailza

    Allowed to travel with current OCI, old US passport and new US passport for departure from Washington and back.

    Regards,

    Laxman Karki
    Manager Washington
    Tel(o)+15718885152

    Reply
    • indianeagle Post author

      Hi Sailaja! Thank you for sharing your experience and clearing the doubts. May we know which airline you traveled on from the US to India?

      Reply
  22. Tej

    I need someone to clearly answer to my question.

    I just turned 50 and my passport and OCI are expiring Sep, 2021
    Can I travel from june, 2021 and be back by july, 2021 and not get my both documents renewed.

    Reply
    • indianeagle Post author

      Hi Tej! We are not sure if you will be able to travel. Please be advised to check with Indian Consulate/Embassy.

      Reply
  23. Amit

    Unfortunately any deadline extension does not solve the root cause of this problem. Why is a renewal required for something which was promised (to the delight of the NRI community) to have LIFETIME validity by the honorable Prime Minister Narendra Modi?
    (watch this : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvPkGvZe19Q).

    Many of us already carry old/current passports in any case, so the passport details in the OCI can easily be verified at any travel point. All this seems to be nothing more than a revenue generating mechanism. The whole OCI renewal process of dealing with the embassy/consulate, amounts of hoops to jump through (multiple forms, copies, photos, notarization, payment, courier, etc etc) is so arduous and frustrating already. Why make us suffer by renewal requirements – especially for kids whose passports expire every 5 years? If someone has more than 1 kid, it gets even more cumbersome. And we have to do this over and over till the kids are 20 years old ???

    These OCI renewal rules have been touted to be applicable since 2005. That’s 16 years back !!! Why isn’t the Indian government even attempting to modernize this archaic process? As someone also mentioned here, even applying/getting a new USA passport is much easier than getting an OCI renewal. If the Indian government still wants us to follow the existing requirements, we are ready to pay the fees over and over again but atleast make the process/documentation rules much simpler !!!

    I am now thinking of just applying for e-visa for my kids (before any India travel) even though they have an OCI. From what I have read the e-visa process is much simpler.

    Reply

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