Several 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, Europe, Australia, Singapore, New Zealand and the Middle East.
“Inadequate awareness about the sudden enforcement of the OCI card renewal rules which have been in place for years resulted in a mounting number of trip cancellations and cases of harassment at origin airports or during transit at connecting airports including Dubai, Doha, Singapore and France. We received an influx of requests from OCI card holders for their reservation cancellation over the past few weeks,” said the chief customer relations officer of IndianEagle.com, a leading air-ticketing organization in USA.
However, there is a major relief for Overseas Citizens of India with renewed passports but old OCI cards. The rigid enforcement of the OCI validity and renewal policy by immigration authorities and airline officials has been relaxed to ensure smooth travel to India till June 30, 2020. OCI card holders, who are either below 20 or above 50 years of age, can continue to take flights to India with their new passports and old OCI cards until June 30, 2020. At the same time, they are required to carry their old cancelled passport.
Yesterday, the Foreigners Division of the Home Ministry issued a directive ordering government agencies and airlines to lift the enforcement for hassle-free travel of children and senior citizens among the OCI card holders worldwide. It is a welcome relief as long as they possess the old cancelled passport.
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 by June 30, 2020.
On seeing reports of massive inconvenience caused to children and senior citizens among the OCI card holders, several Indian-origin leaders including Indian American Prem Bhandari raised the issue to Harsh Vardhan Shringla, Indian ambassador to the US, and the Civil Aviation Ministry of India, according to PTI.
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