The Indian embassy in Washington DC has released a circular, stating that Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card holders are not required to carry their old passports anymore while travelling to India.

The circular reads, “The requirement of carrying old and new passports, along with the OCI card, has been done away with. Henceforth, an OCI cardholder traveling on the strength of an existing OCI card bearing old passport number is not required to carry the old passport. However, carrying the new (current) passport is mandatory”.

The Indian embassy in Washington DC took to Twitter to announce the news and wrote,“Government relaxes the OCI re-issue requirement up to December 31, 2021. Now no need to carry the old passport.”

As per the circular, the time for re-issuance of OCI cards has also been extended till December 31, 2021. It was in 2015 that the OCI guidelines came into force, stating that an OCI cardholder will have to re-register each time a new passport is issued till 20 years of age and once after 50 years of age. However, registration is not mandatory each time a new passport is issued till now.

The note further reads, “The Government of India has decided to grant further extension of time till 31st December, 2021 to get the OCI cards re-issued in accordance with above guidelines.”

In 2019, the Indian Home Ministry made it mandatory for OCI cardholders to carry their old passports. But with OCI cardholders facing a lot of issues regarding re-issuance, the government decided to relax a few norms.

The latest announcement comes as a sigh of relief for lakhs of Indian citizens.

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