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Should I get an OCI or an Indian Visa?
4 min read
Updated on May 17, 2024

Embarking on an adventure to the heart of India? Choosing an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) Card or an Indian Visa is your initial step to embracing the vibrant cultures, ancient heritage, and the modern hustle of India's bustling cities.

India sunset tourism

Disclaimer - We don't currently offer the OCI card; please check below for any information you may need about your future application with us or how to apply for an India Visa.

At iVisa, we've streamlined the process of obtaining an Indian Visa to facilitate your entry into this diverse and dynamic land. Our robust platform and mobile app are engineered for worldly explorers like you.

What is an OCI Card?

The Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) is a form of permanent residency available to people of Indian origin and their spouses. This status provides them with certain rights and freedoms in India.

The Indian government started the OCI initiative to help foreign nationals of Indian descent who have dual citizenship but don't have Indian passports to travel to India easily. However, since it's not full-blown Indian citizenship, some limitations exist regarding political rights or the right to hold constitutional offices in India for OCI cardholders. Here are some key points about OCI:

Eligibility: Individuals who were once Indian citizens, have at least one grandparent who was an Indian citizen, are married to an Indian citizen, and existing OCI cardholders are eligible for OCI status.

Rights and Benefits:

  • OCI cardholders can enter and exit India freely without a visa.

  • They can live and work in India indefinitely.

  • They can access certain economic rights like opening bank accounts, buying property, and investing in India.


  • They cannot vote in Indian elections or hold public office.

  • They aren't eligible for certain government jobs.

  • They cannot purchase agricultural or plantation property.

Validity: The OCI card has lifelong validity.

What is the difference between the OCI Card and the Indian Visa?

The Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) Card and the Indian Visa serve different purposes. They're tailored for individuals with different needs and circumstances concerning their travel or stay in India. Here's a breakdown of their primary distinctions:

  1. Purpose and eligibility: The OCI Card is for Indian citizens or their spouses. It helps them maintain a lifelong connection with India.

The Indian Visa, however, is tailored for foreign nationals intending to visit India for short-term purposes like tourism or business.

  1. Duration and validity: Lifelong validity is a hallmark of the OCI Card, facilitating indefinite travel to and stay in India.

The Indian Visa operates on a limited validity, typically extending from a few days to six months or more, depending on the visa type.

  1. Rights and privileges: Broader rights such as a multiple-entry, multi-purpose lifelong visa to visit India are enjoyed by OCI Card holders.

Conversely, the rights granted to Indian Visa holders are limited by the purpose and duration of their visa.

  1. Application process: Applying for the OCI Card involves a more rigorous process requiring proof of Indian origin..

The Indian Visa application process, on the other hand, is more straightforward and often achievable online.

  1. Employment and residential rights: The right to live and work in India applies to all OCI Card holders.

In contrast, the rights to work and live in India for Indian Visa holders are defined by what's allowed in the visa terms.

How to get an India e-Visa with us

Navigating through the visa application process is a breeze with our services. Follow these three simple steps to apply for your Indian Visa with us:

  • Step 1: Complete the online application form with your personal and travel details. During this step, you'll also choose the type of visa you want to apply for.

  • Step 2: Review your information to ensure accuracy once you complete the form. Then, select the processing option that best suits your needs.

  • Step 3: Pay the service fee using PayPal, Venmo, or a credit/debit card, and upload any required documents, such as a scan of your valid passport and a passport photo.

After completing these three steps, submit your application and wait for your e-visa to arrive in your email inbox within your selected timeframe.

You also have the option of applying on the official India Visa portal.

It's important to note that during your travels, you must carry both a printed and electronic copy of your eVisa to present to immigration officers upon arrival so that they can verify your Indian eVisa status.

Need more information?

If you need more information about traveling to India for tourism, medical assistance, or business purposes, don't hesitate to contact our customer support team anytime via online chat or WhatsApp.

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