The Indian Embassy building in Abu Dhabi. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Abu Dhabi: The Indian government has eased some travel rules for Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders, according to an advisory issued by the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.

The mission took to Twitter to post the advisory for OCI cardholders and said the Indian government has exempted them from carrying their old passports that are linked to their valid OCI cards while travelling to India.

“The government of India (GoI), with a view to avoid inconvenience to OCI cardholders, has decided to allow OCI cardholders to enter India on the strength of their existing OCI cards, bearing old passport number, along with the new passport, without the need to carry their old passport,” the advisory stated.

However, carrying the new passport is a mandatory requirement, the mission reminded in the advisory.

OCI card is a long-term visa for Indian-origin people with citizenship of other countries. In the UAE, the Indian mission gets requests for OCI card-related services from people of Indian-origin who have obtained citizenship of other countries either by birth or by surrendering their Indian passport.

Indian-American stranded in Dubai

Some OCI cardholders had faced travel issues for not carrying their old passport linked to their OCI card.

On March 4, Gulf News had reported one such case in which an Indian-origin man from the United States was stranded in Dubai airport while he was on his way to attend his father’s funeral in India.

Based on his plea seeking help on Twitter, the Indian Consulate in Dubai had come to his rescue and helped him continue his journey by instantly issuing him an entry visa to India.

It is understood that such incidents were taken into consideration by the Indian government, following which the rule related to passport was relaxed.

Now that the government has clarified that the old passport linked to the OCI card is not mandatory for entering India, OCI cardholders will not have to face such difficulties during their journey to India.

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Deadline extension

In addition to this relaxation, the GoI has also extended the timeline for the requirement of re-issuance of OCI cards, the advisory said. Those OCI cardholders, who may be required to get their OCI cards re-issued, have now been given time until December 31, 2021.

“OCI cardholders are requested to kindly note the above guidelines before proceeding on any travel to India,” the mission added in the advisory.

The Indian Consulate in Dubai, which also issued a similar advisory for OCI cardholders, clarified that OCI cardholders are required to get their cards re-issued in two scenarios — each time a new passport is issued up to the age of 20 years and once after completing 50 years of age.