Indian Consuls Issue Travel Advisory for OCI Card Holders to Avoid Denial of Boarding on Flights to India

December 18, 2020: The latest news for OCI card holders is that India announced a temporary relief for smooth travel of OCI card holders below 20 and above 50 years of age. Click here to read more about the travel relief for Overseas Citizens of India.

With the Christmas and New Year around the corner, NRIs and OCIs are gearing up for the travel season. Most of them take flights to India for a family holiday back home this time. Reports of denial of boarding to foreign citizens of Indian origin for not complying with the new rules of OCI card validity have been pouring in online and offline since the first week of November 2019.

Media has reported a few such cases taking place mostly at major airports in the United States, New Zealand, and Singapore, in case of those having not updated their OCI cards with the renewal of their passports. Hence, Indian consulates worldwide have issued travel advisory for the Overseas Citizen of India cardholders regarding the government of India’s strict enforcement of the new OCI card validity rules and relating to airlines’ rigid checks at the time of check-in.

OCI card news, new OCI card validity rules, travel advisory for OCI card holders

Recently, some OCI card holders were denied boarding on Qatar Airways flights to India from Boston and Air India flights from NY JFK International Airport, according to Sandeep Chakravorty, the Consul General of India in New York. “It is highly recommended to carry the old passports for those who have not got the OCI card renewed despite their new passports,” said Mr. Chakravorty.

Several OCI card holders traveling to India from Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington in New Zealand were left stranded at either origin airports or transit airports for the same reason. Reportedly, an OCI card holder was told to sign an undertaking, at the counter of Singapore Airlines at Auckland International Airport, requiring him to return to Auckland at his own expenses in case he was denied entry to India. An Indian High Commission official in Wellington has confirmed Indian government’s rigid enforcement of the new OCI card validity rules.

The current enforcement of the new OCI card validity rules does strictly apply to those under the age of 20 years, who are required to have their OCI cards reissued every time their passports are renewed. Reissue of the OCI card is not compulsory for those above 20 and within the age bracket of 21-50 years, but they are advised to carry their old passports along with the current/renewed passports.

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19 thoughts on “Indian Consuls Issue Travel Advisory for OCI Card Holders to Avoid Denial of Boarding on Flights to India

  1. Pankaj Patel

    I am planning trip to India end of months, Indian consulate general of India should notify all airlines and airport to stop all this harassment to passengers, I got OCI almost 10 years ago it was never any problems why all sudden this problem came up. As long as passenger is travelling with OCI which is a lifelong visa and their name matches new passport than there should be no issues, or let passengers also carry old passport along with OCI like we always did, should be sufficient. Also in short period of time we might loose passport then what happens. There is not easy instructions on Indian web site for this process. We paid fee for OCI now everyone has to pay $25 again why??
    Only few airlines are going to India let all airlines know not to harass passengers. Unless it’s money making business.

  2. Jay

    Why people don’t do it? If you go through process of renewal, it is so confusing and painful (just like applying for new OCI Card). Why is it have to be such a complicated process? How do they expect to be without passport for 8-10 weeks every time new passport is issued for renewal?
    Govt should have all data about OCI Card holder and renewal process can be simple.

  3. Chandra

    I have a scheduled travel on Dec 20th 2019 to India. My son who is 7 years old have not gotten the OCI reissued after we obtained a new US passport. As today is Dec 7th 2019, I am afraid its too late to apply for reissue of OCI as the travel date to india is too close. Is it possible to travel with the current OCI card (which is linked to old US passport) accompanying with current and old US passports?

    Please advise as soon as possible. Your help is much appreciated



  5. Sohan Rahi

    The HCI need to issue an urgent advisory on its web page about this new requirement and the procedure for getting it done.

  6. Giri Giri

    Why are they doing this?????

    Modi says he wants tourists to visit India. With this kind of chaos, people will go somewhere else…

  7. Isabella Fernnades

    I was denied boarding on Qatar Airways from London to India. I am a Canadian citizen having OCI. I carried my old passport, OCI card and my renewed passport. British airways allowed me to board the flight from London to Delhi.
    Immigration. Delhi, did not see that as a problem as I had my old passport with the lifelong visa. This affair resulted in financial implication as my final destination was Goa. My original flight was Toronto – London – Muscat – Goa. I was charged for my second piece of luggage at Delhi in the amount of Rs.13,000/- I had already paid the excess baggage fee to Air Canada at that point of origin, i.e. Toronto. I got fleeced by Air India because of this OCI regulation.

  8. Badri Ramaswamy

    Vide circular No. 26011/06/2015-OCI dated 29th January, 2015 of Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, all immigration authorities in India will NOT insist on production of the foreign passport containing the ‘U’ Visa Sticker in the case of OCI Cardholders while they enter/exit India. Immigration clearance will be granted based on production of the ‘OCI CARD ONLY’.
    Now they are insisting on age based update of OCI. While there are legitimate reasons for under 20, requiring
    the same for above 50 is questionable. They should make it easy by submitting it online and getting a print out ourself, without mailing. That should be done without additional fees.

  9. jim Shah

    Well, it was announced by Mr Narendra Modi , our Prime Minister of India That the Indian Govt. will make the rules & regulations more liberal & convenient for all foreign citizen of Indian origin for travelling to India with OCI & PIO card holders when he came to Houston, USA last September, 2019. It was surprised that now the new rules are made but may be to avoid the misuse of the OCI cards, otherwise OCI card is issued for the lifetime by the Indian Embassy of foreign affairs for the purpose of travelling to India without any renewal. so those who are above 20 years will not have any problem for travelling to India & return .

  10. Anuj

    I see nothing wrong with requiring a reissue of OCI for kids every 5 years since their appearance changes. I got OCI for my daughter when she was 6 months. Now she does not look the same. It will not make sense for her to use the same OCI card when she turns say 35. For this very reason passport too has to be renewed every 5 years for kids and every 10 years for adults. Every ID has a validity- the green card too has to be renewed every 10 years. Why are people complaining only about having to renew the OCI?

    • Philip

      It’s not renewal of OCI that people are complaining about. It’s the nightmare process involved in getting it renewed. Govt. of India should make it easy for applicants instead of sticking to archaic rules from our colonial past. Come on India the world has moved ahead and don’t get left behind!!

  11. Minushree Panigrahy

    How about the rule of below 20 year old….harassing parents of young kids. This is so ridiculous.

  12. SS

    Qatar airways at Dallas TX airport (DFW) denied boarding pass as my 6 year old’s OCI was not renewed. Her OCI had expired passport number and no particulars were changed from her expired passport to new passport. We carried her expired and new US passports but the Qatar representative said it no longer works and the rule was enforced a week ago. I spoke to customer care about the enforcement of such rules and they are reluctant to give details. It was a shock to all of us. If you are planning to travel, please get a e-visa which you will get in 3 days if you haven’t renewed OCI. Hope this helps someone and avoid the mess when you travel with young kids.

  13. TA

    The travel alone is stressful and now the new OCI regulations and alerts/advice/circular causing more havoc on Indians who have OCI cards and not without notice. If the current Govt makes it so easy to get an eVISA in 2-4 days cheaper and faster than renewing the OCI when a new passport is issued. I beg to differ from many – why does it take 2-4 months to get a OCI renewal when it is says LIFELONG? Compare this to an eVisa which takes only 2-4 days.

    After hearing the comments made by our PM during his Houston visit stating travel to India will be made easier and not complicated. I understand the reasons for OCI card applications for first timers, but why so complicated on renewals. As I see one has to be visit CKGS website which directs to Indian Gov website and then back to CKGS and then more restrictions one package per Application.
    Personally I do not see an advantage for me on having OCI compared to getting eVISA.

  14. PP

    Hi Is there a lawsuit filed on Qatar airways (worst ever airways) They denied the ticket to my son .This was in Texas Dec-2019. Our beloved government changes the rules for OCI in November and all other airlines were fine except for Qatar in Texas.we carried older passport and new passport as well.

  15. PK

    No doubt it is very complicated process to re-issue of OCI for new passport. Same time it is time consuming and have risk of losing the passport as well.

    By the way the rule of OCI with old passport is valid / relaxed till June 30, 2020. I am planning to travel on June 20th , 2020 and like to return on July 6th, 2020. Is It ok to carry my kid old passport with OCI stamped and new passport ?

    Do you think airline allow to board and Indian immigration will allow to enter and will be no issue while I am getting back? Please suggest.

  16. Purush Bilimoria

    I too was planning on getting to Indian before June 20th 2020 deadline as my OCI was issued in Delhi OCI cell there) and even the renewal process takes a few weeks I will stay on until the deal is done. But now with lockdowns, coronavirus shutdowns of borders and flights, there is no guarantee we will be allowed into India any time in near the future : this is so unpredictable and chaotic. Has any moves been made to extend this deadline to end of December? Could someone work on it and pressure the Government of India? Send petition to Indian Consulates in the US and elsewhere ?


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