On the eve of the New Year 2022, the government of India announced the extension of the deadline for reissuance of OCI cards through December 2022 given the current emergence of COVID-19 cases. The reissuance of an OCI card, which is otherwise a mandatory requirement for OCI cardholders on renewal of their passports, is relaxed till December 31, 2022. Without worrying about the mandatory reissuance of OCI cards, foreign citizens of Indian origin can travel to and from India through 2022.
The extended deadline relieves OCI cardholders of the need to get the OCI card reissued once they complete 20 years of age and 50 years of age. However, the relaxation being temporary, it is recommended that the OCI cardholders who turned 20 or 50 last year or will do so this year must get the OCI card reissued with the new passport number before the new/extended deadline expires.
“Alongside the reissuance deadline, certain relaxations are also extended for OCI cardholders’ travel to and from India in 2022. The previous mandate for carrying the old/expired passport, the number of which features on their existing OCI cards, continues to be dispensed with through the new year. However, it is still mandatory to carry the new passport while traveling to India. As not all international airlines comply with the relaxations, we recommend our customers to carry the old/expired passport along with the new one,” said the chief travel advisor of IndianEagle.com, a leading air-ticketing agency.
This major relief for the Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) with renewed passports but old OCI cards came just before the launch of air bubble flights during the pandemic. The rigid enforcement of the OCI validity and renewal policy by the immigration authorities and airline officials was relaxed to ensure smooth travel and from India until June 30, 2020 – which was extended until June 2021, and then to December 31, 2021. As a result, OCI cardholders below 20 and above 50 years of age travelled on air bubble flights to India without hassles.
The relaxation of the OCI renewal policy allows OCI cardholders to upload online a copy of the new passport and a recent photograph whenever the passport is renewed until they become 20 years old. The same relaxation is extended to them on completion of 50 years of age. OCI cardholders are required to upload only once a copy of the passport and a recent photo online when the passport is renewed after their 50 years of age. The documents must be uploaded online within three months of the renewal of the 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 them to travel to India,” said the chief customer relations officer of Indian Eagle Travel.
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