India has done away with a rule that often required Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) cardholders to travel with both new and old passports, according to a statement from the Indian Embassy in Washington and the High Commission of India in London.

Key Points:

  • Previously, when OCI cardholders were issued a new passport with a number that did not match the passport number on their OCI card, they had to travel with both their new and old passports.
  • This rule is no longer in effect. OCI cardholders no longer have to carry their old passport when traveling to India, even if their new passport number does not match the passport number on their OCI card. Travelers do have to carry their new passport.
  • Officials have also given certain OCI cardholders more time to obtain reissued OCI cards in line with guidelines that were first issued in 2008. Under these guidelines, OCI cardholders are required to obtain a reissued OCI card upon receiving a new passport (1) each time up to the age 20 and (2) once after reaching the age of 50. Authorities have granted an extension to Dec. 31, 2021, for affected OCI cardholders to obtain reissued cards as required by this rule.

Background: OCI cards allow foreign nationals of Indian origin to travel to, work and reside in India indefinitely.

Analysis & Comments: The changes will make procedures for traveling to India easier for OCI cardholders. Because the change was only recently implemented, however, it is possible that some customs officials will still ask to see the old passport with the number that matches the number on the OCI card. For this reason, OCI cardholders may wish to travel with their old and new passports, at least for the time being. More information is available here.

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