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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Dual Citizneship Woes

How many of you have experienced this? It is a shame that a 70 year old Indian Man in India was not given his due respect. On the top of it, he was a Medical doctor, we Indians give utmost respect to Doctors. This is uncharacteristic of being an Indian. Any one from Bengal wants to take this up? Over 25 comments below

Mike Ghouse - http://www.mikeghouse.net/

Dr. Sujit Pandit's story: My Dual Citizenship Woes


My advice to all my friends who hold an OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) Card
and those who aspire to get one.

I am an American citizen. I also carry an OCI card (Overseas Citizen of
India) since 2007.

On Saturday, June 20, 2009 , I arrived at the Kolkata Netaji Subhas Airport
from Detroit via Singapore , by Singapore Airlines (SQ 516) at 10:30 P.M.

I presented myself to an Immigration Officer ( Mr. Biswas ) for immigration
clearance. I gave him my American passport and my OCI card. He demanded to
see my visa from the Indian consular office. Unfortunately, that visa was
attached to my old passport and I did not bring it with me.

I explained to him that I am sorry I forgot to bring my old passport but
since I do possess a valid OCI Card that would automatically mean that I do
also possess a permanent (life long) visa for India and there are proofs
that I have traveled multiple times to India after I had received my OCI

Mr. Biswas detained me for two hours inside the airport and then he told
me that he is going to allow me to stay in India for 72 hours and asked me
to report to the Foreign Relations Regional Officer (FRRO) in the city
within 72 hours. He kept my passport. During all that time I had no
opportunity either to approach his OC (Officer in Charge) although I asked
for it, or to contact my relatives who came to the airport to receive me and
were waiting outside and had no idea why I was being held back or if I have
even arrived.

Forgetting to bring my old passport was my own fault but I 'forgot' to bring
it partly because I knew I have my OCI Card with me and I thought, that
means something, I really believed that I am a citizen of India too. Why
would a citizen also need a visa to enter his own country? I thought I
have a dual citizenship for both the USA and India . Other wise, what is the
difference between an ordinary foreigner and the OCI Card holder?

Next day was a Sunday, I called a friend in Ann Arbor who went into my
house, got my old passport and sent me the scanned copy of my old passport
and a copy of my permanent visa by e-mail.

So, on Monday I went to see Mr. Bibhas Talukdar , the FRRO. He hardly
looked at the documents (the scanned visa) that I had with me he simply
asked me to get my old passport by courier mail within another seven days.
He appeared gleeful telling me that it is only out of "pity" that he is
allowing me to stay in India for seven more days. He was totally
unimpressed by either my status as a Professor Emeritus of the University of
Michigan or my age (70+)

I called my friend in Ann Arbor again who then sent my old passport by
FedEx. Three days later the passport arrived. Since I had to leave Kolkata
for prescheduled visit to Bangalore , my niece took it to Mr. Talukdar . But
due to lack of communication between the FRRO office and the airport
immigration department my passport had not arrived at the city office even
after 9 days. My niece had to go to the FRRO's office three times once
waiting until 6 P.M. still they did not have my passport. They only
promised: "it will come soon". At last, 12 days after my arrival, my niece
got my passport.

From this painful and anxiety provoking experience I have learned a few
valuable lessons:

1. The loud talk about "Dual Citizenship" for Indian Americans is just a
political hoax.

2. The OCI card just does not have any value. It is just a piece of
expensive junk. You still need a visa every time you travel to India whether
or not you possess an OCI card. Only difference is that for the high price
of getting an OCI card you will get a "life long " visa. A 10-year visa is
much cheaper.

3. When coming to India always consider yourself a foreigner and bring
your visa with you, there will be no exceptions. Your OCI card is not a visa

4. In fact, you will probably be treated worse than an ordinary
foreigner arriving without a valid visa. Because a foreigner especially a
white Caucasian will at least be treated with courtesy and probably offered
a temporary visa if there is no reason to deny it, but not you.

Please feel free to forward this mail to any of your friends who may befit
from my experience. Especially feel free to forward this to any influential
politician or civil servant in India that you may know.

Sujit K. Pandit M.D. Professor Emeritus, Department of Anesthesiology


Thanks to Dr. Jayasankar for providing the following information

1. The Consulate General of India (CGI) in New York (NY) is pleased to announce the
launching of the OCI (Overseas Citizenship of India) Application procedures and will
commence receiving the applications for OCI on Monday the 9th of January 2006 from
residents of the following States and Territories: New York, New Jersey, Maine,
Connecticut, Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Vermont and the Virgin Islands. (Applications will be accepted only through express mail. For
procedural details and clarifications, please go to link (Steps to Apply for OCI).

2. A foreign national, eligible to become a citizen of India on January 26, 1950 or was a
citizen of India on, or at anytime after, January 26, 1950 or belonged to a territory that
became part of India after August 15, 1947 and his/her children and grand children,
provided his/her country of citizenship allows dual citizenship under the local laws, is
eligible for registration as Overseas Citizen of India (OCI). Minor children of such person
are also eligible for OCI. However, if the applicant had ever been a citizen of Pakistan or
Bangladesh, he/she will not be eligible for OCI.

3. With OCI Status, a foreign passport holder is entitled to the following:
Item Details

(a) Multiple-entry, multi-purpose, life-long visa to visit
India. The holder of the OCI Certificate would still
need to carry his/her foreign passport, but a Visa
"U" ("U" for Universal) sticker would be affixed on
the foreign passport;

(b)Exemption from reporting to police authorities for
any length of stay in India;

(c) Parity with NRIs (Non-Resident Indians) in financial, economic and educational fields EXCEPT in relation Consular Press & Publicity Commerce Culture Education India Information
Press Opinion Issues in Focus Consulate General of India, New York, U.S.A. Page 1 of 3
http://www.indiacgny.org/php/showContent.php?linkid=384 2/17/2008

4. Please note that OCI is not, repeat not Dual Citizenship. The Constitution of India does
not permit the facility of holding Indian Citizenship simultaneously with a foreign
citizenship. The OCI holder would therefore not be eligible for the following rights in
India: (i) Right to vote; (ii) Right to hold constitutional office (i.e. parliament, courts,
cabinet posts, etc.); and (iii) Right to hold posts in government services sector.

5. The OCI Status is a privilege extended only to those persons who qualify for that
privilege. The OCI Status accorded to a person can be revoked by Government of India in
cases that warrant such action. For detailed information on the "Overseas Citizen of
India", visit the web site - http://www.mha.nic.in/ of the Ministry of Home Affairs,
Government of India.

6. Applicant must necessarily satisfy the following criteria in order to be eligible to apply for OCI Status.

7. Additional Notes :
a. A PIO card holder can substitute his PIO Card with the OIC. He or she would
be required to surrender their PIO Card in that event. All PIO Card holders
seeking to substitute their PIO card with the OCI facility must submit a copy
of their PIO Card during submission of the application for OCI.
b. Applying as a family of four (4) members : You may apply jointly in a single
application as spouses and no more than two (2) of your minor children.
The necessary fee would be charged for each applicant.
c. OCI Applications can be made on behalf of a minor child by guardian/parent.

8. Processing of your OCI application is initially a joint effort between you (the applicant)
and the OCI Cell at the CGI. Therefore, you need to clearly understand the process of
filing the application, keep your original documentation complete in all respects and follow
the various steps involved carefully. This would facilitate smooth and quick processing of
your application. an/parent.

9. Visit http://www.mha.nic.in//oci/oci-main.htm and click Online Registration If you are
applying as an individual or as a family, select the appropriate option. A reference number
will be assigned to you by the computer upon completing the online registration. You
must present this number when you arrive at the Consulate.

(Family of 4 (spouses and two minor children) to fill-in part A in one go. If a family
consists of more than 2 minor children, application for third minor child be filled-in as an
individual by selecting option (i). In cases where child/children is/are not minor,
to acquisition of agricultural and plantation properties.

Criteria Details
(i) If you or one of your parents or one of your grandparents was a citizen of India after January
26, 1950.

(ii) If you or one of your parents or one of your grandparents belonged to a former territory (Goa, Daman & Diu, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Sikkim and Pondicherry ) that became part of India after August 15, 1947.

(iii) If you or one of your parents or one of your grandparents was eligible to become a citizen of
India at the time of commencement of the Constitution of India on January 26, 1950.
Consulate General of India, New York, U.S.A. Page 2 of 3
http://www.indiacgny.org/php/showContent.php?linkid=384 2/17/2008
independent application in r/o of each such child need to be filled-in.)

10. The OCI application consists of Part-A and Part-B. Part-A would be completed online
through Online Registration at www.mha.nic.in/oci/oci-main.htm (Ministry of Home
Affairs) site. Part-B would be completed by typing required information or writing in
capital block letters with black or blue ink. The computer would assign to you a Reference
Number. Retain this reference number as it would be required when you submit your
application at the Consulate.

11. You are required to submit the OCI application (Part-A and Part-B) in duplicate. Part-B is automatically printed out when Part-A is Saved & Print command is selected at the popup window. For each of the two applications, an original PASSPORT SIZE color
photo ( light colour background , not white background ) without
border with front view of person's head and shoulders showing the full face in the
middle of the photograph . At the end of Part-B, there is a list of documents that are
required at the time you submit your application. The fee for the application is USD 275
(in favor of Consulate General of India, NewYork) (USD 25 for PIO Card
holders) . The payment should be in the form of certified checks or money orders in
favour of " CONSULATE GENERAL OF INDIA " ( no personal checks ) .

12. Additional information about photographs:- a) Background colour and the dress
colour should not be the same ( it should be different colour ) . b) If applicant wearing
glasses please make sure that there is no glare on the glasses or take the picture without
glasses. c) Photograph should be front view with shoulder visible. d) Photographs should
be bright ( please note the colour of skin and brightness of the photo is different. ) e)
Photograph should not be stapled and should not have any signature ( no signature on
photo ) . http://ociindia.nic.in/ociindia/ICAO-Photo.pdf

13. For detailed application procedure, see steps to Apply for OCI.

14. For detailed instructions during the review process, see Important Instructions for OCI
Applicant under Review.

15. The application review process may take from one to four months depending on the documents and proofs you provide in support of your application. We appreciate your cooperation.

For any further information or clarification on OCI, visit: www.mha.nic.in/oci/ocimain.
htm (Ministry of Home Affairs website) and the Frequently Asked Questions at
OCI link at : www.indiacgny.org . Enquiries on OCI can also be addressed to OCI Cell
at Consulate General of India, 3 East 64th Street, New York, NY 10065 or Tel: (212)
774-0605 & Fax: (212) 734-1595 / (212) 570-9581

or E-mail : visa@indiacgny.org (Please mention your Tel. No. in the email for us to
contact you).Consulate General of India, New York, U.S.A. Page 3 of 3

http://www.indiacgny.org/php/showContent.php?linkid=384 2/17/2008

# #


  1. worst experience with an OCI card. It happens in Bharat (India) as no government servant bothers about his/her duty.

  2. I have asked several people what is the real advantage (or, for that matter, any advantage) of the dual citizenship. I have gotten lame answers.

    If you are a US citizen, as you have said, then why not be a US Citizen WHOLE HEARTEDLY? The fact that some US citizens go looking for dual citizenship tells me that they are confused about their identity. You said it right when you said consider yourself to be a foreigner when traveling in India.

    On a different but somewhat related note: we get hounded by so many acquaintances for donations to so many Indian charitable organizations. Charity is a good thing and I am all for it but makes me wonder about these acquaintances as to how confused they may be about their identity. Instead of trying to have one foot here and one foot there, why not do something great for US that has given so much to you and your family. After all, that is why you came here in the first place and raised a family here. I say, for years we have donated to Indian charities. Now, why not support a US soldier or a school teacher in an American school, etc.? Quit being confused about your identity. YOU ARE AN AMERICAN and therefore act as one.

  3. My comments.......

    I am now a Canadian citizen. I also have an OCI registration card, it is just a registration card, it is not an Indian passport.

    To visit India, I need an Indian visa on my Canadian passport. This I have got by way of a lifelong visa as part of OCI card package.

    Whenever we travel, we carry ALL our passports, Indian passports issued since 1978 and Canadian passports.

    Hope the gentleman concerned has learnt his lesson.

    Indian red tape is bad, US red tape is even worse.

    I have seen many many people being harassed at border check points.

    So, my dear Watson, do your homework and you'll just sail through.


  4. I learned my lesson right away when they (Indian Consulate in Chicago) insisted on stamping LIFE LONG "visa" on my expired US passport when I told them that during the process of approving my application for OCI my US passport had expired. When I explained the difficulty it will impose will be to maintain and carry an expired passport along with my current US passport every time I visit India, they would not listen.
    Laght blue passport look alike booklet issued to all those who think they are acquiring Dual Citizenship is nothing but simply an expensive "Certificate of Registration" by an OVERSEAS CITIZEN OF INDIA".


  5. We will look into this, share it with MOIA and get a response and carry this story in due course. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.
    Cheers and the best,
    Munish Gupta
    Managing Editor
    PIO TV

  6. I think he should send these details to the ambassador and counsulate in Washington.

    Zafar Iqbal,

  7. Dear All,

    Since the e-mail has been marked to me, can any one from the Ministry of External Affairs/Governmet (serving and retired)
    clarify the correct position of dual citizenship?

    with regards,
    Prem Sabhlok

  8. The writer was definitely mistreated, but the OCI card is in fact a lifelong visa and not full dual citizenship- for example an OCI card holder cannot vote in Indian elections, run for office, hold a job in the public sector, have their kids attend the IITs at the subsidized rates and a few other things which a full Indian citizen would obviously be able to do. Nonetheless, the OCI card as a lifetime visa and the U.S. passport by itself should have been enough to gain entry legally into India without further requirements for showing an old visa.

  9. You do not have to an NRI to have such experiences. We Indian citizens are treated like criminals when we come back. Some years ago the immigration official asked me for my old passport which I did not have. Its number is marked in the new passport but he wanted to see the old passport. When I asked him under what law he wanted to see it, he told me that he did not have to tell me that. So I told him that he could have me arrested and that the court would decide it. That is when he relented because he realised that I was not ready to pay him any money.


    Dr Walter Fernandes
    Director, North Eastern Social Research Centre
    110 Kharghuli Road (1st floor)
    Guwahati 781004
    Assam, India

  10. I think it has less to do with the "victim" being an Indian or an NRIs, but more to do with the "perpetrator" being an Indian in a position of conceived power over someone who he sees as his social superior, yet rendered inferior due to lack of power at that point in time. Since he is so sick of kowtowing to politicians and bureaucrats and every other babu that he has to deal with, he thinks it is his turn now - his line of thought being "if you can't feed my pocket, at least let me feed my ego."

    Don't take it personally!

    Best Regards,

    Roonu R

  11. I hope, I don't jinx myself, but all the trips I have taken so far (with and without family)and on Indian and American passport, I never had any problem(s).

    I was advised that my passprot was to expire soon and the visa was for longer time and the best way to handle this would be to either transfer it for a fee or just carry both passports together (just staple them), which I did and never a problem.

    I have most often breezed through the customs line as well.

    I have had officers attempt to probe me to see if I was right in standing in a green light, but when papers are concerned, I have never had any problem. Matter of fact, I never had any problems with consulate (in San Francisco) either. They were also on time.

    It is also interesting that we always comply and become meek when dealing with foreign authorities and when we are dealing with Indian authorities, we somehow become more rigid and often obnoxious.

    It is possible that the airport you land may have mot more to do with it. I always travel through Mumbai.


  12. This is horrific but hardly surprising. For years I have said the Government of India (GOI) has no respect for its own and doubly so for Indian immigrants overseas. Where are the policy/procedures for Overseas Citizen Card? Like Mr. Pandit, I have been told that no visa is required once you obtain the OCI. Why was then Mr. Pandit harrassed? This should be an eye opener for everyone. What are Organizations such as USINPAC doing to end this harrassment of Indian immigrants who go back for visits?

    Kush Kant

  13. This is actually a harrassment. It happens to many. If the visa inside teh US passport is that important, what is the need of the OCI Card?
    The info in OCI Card and the visa in the passport are the same. If somebody comes with a new US passport, why cant the officer comapre the info and photo on his system as well as on OCI Card and passport?

    No. they will not do this. They just want to harrass, not help. The law is also like that.

  14. Quite surprising. Me nor many of my friends who have an oci or pio cArds have had any issues. Must be an isolated experience. Why would you show your other passport anyway when you have your oci/pio card?

  15. Why do you produce your passport at all?

    Quite a valid point. As it seems.
    Many on this list must be having copious experiences.

  16. Dear Mr. Ghouse,

    Thank you for the letter and it is indeed a pity that we as a nation have not yet learned niether the respect nor any humaility. We continue to behave arrogantly and that is very true of our Government officers as they think they are the LAW and thus being treated as Mai Bapp they misbehave. There is no system to punish or teach them any manners. These are our new Maharajas and VIP class and they act as they please..

    I have sent to other groups for everyone to read this. The fault lies with us also with our lack of reading all the rules. Does anyone can guide and tell us that what does this card entail us.
    My second question is if it allowes us entry without any Visa why is it not known to these officers and who is responsible for this lack of communication.
    Is this card a reoplacemnt of Visa like the green card of US Immigrant????

    I am sending a copy of this to GOPIO as they were the one who has worked hard to get this done. Maybe they can also explain all of us as well as take the necessery action with NRI ministry .

    all I can say is that sometime we take it too much for guarnted and thus sufer such
    humiliation . Maybe the officer involved had some other hidden message in it.Since we will be the victim in every case we have to rptect ourselves. Since we are tired after long journey we also can loose our cool and thus become our own enemy.

    I do recall at time when India relaxed rules for a very breif period to visit India without visa, I landed in Delhi and found myself in hot water as no one at Indain consulate when I applied for visa explained that it is only if you had not visited India in last one year.The immigrtion officer at Delhi told me that I need Visa and when I explained and gave him the name and phone Indian Consular General to call and check my statment, he gae me a paper and write what I stated and took me to his officer, who after few quesions let me enter. I was offcourse willing to pay as I offered any Visa fee but he undersood the situation.

    We should try to get the clarfication of what this CARD involves.

  17. Dear Ghouse

    It is a positive humiliation and great misery for a senior
    citizen (though american citizen with indian roots) and like to be forwarded to Human rights group for initiating action in the matter at
    ministry of foreign affairs.We may also apprise our Congress chief SmtSonia Gandhi to intervene.
    Dr JN Sharma

  18. In India some officials jut enjoy treating Indians with disrespect. We all know that.
    This matter should be intimated to the PM and minister of Overseas Indians.
    They are spending millions to celebrate Pravasi Bhartiya Diwas they should improve the handling of such matters.

    The OCI site again and again mentions to travel with both the OCI card and the U-Visa but one can always forget one piece or other and all visitors should be treated with respect. The respected professor also should not expect OCI as real dual citizenship as it is not.

    Unfortunately, british trained babus have continued to clone themselves and make life worse in India for every Indian and foreigner. We should get rid of the british trained babus from Indian government services.

    I got death certificate for my son after five months with running around and incorrect name. Now the dumb lawyer says make an affidavit to correct the name. Even the trained lawyer are useless in getting the simplest routine stuff right. Doctor transferred without signing the PM report.

    India has adopted western style administration in structure minus the service making every ones life miserable.

  19. Hare Krishna
    Mike Ghouse

    OCI is only vealed with Passport it is suppose to be vealed, you should have transferred your OCI to your new passport, remember in Congi Ch..... Raj member of emigration is not allowed to use his commonsense he is just another worker and meant to follow orders of Ch...... Congi. Congi is yes Saiab Government no matter how right you are, you are always wrong, you are only right if He Congi Ch...... says so.

    If you are going to India, never assume anything, always care everything and more if you can to back it up, other wise they are always looking after making money, if you are in trouble just try to short is out at low level possible, he might take risk and let you go with little favor at his own risk, but higher it goes wider they will open their mouth for money.


  20. MR. GHOUSE,


















  21. dear mike,
    this is an exceptional event . we do have oci card and american passport, and we were never haressed at the airport, mumbai airport.
    i dont know why you have to have visa along with oci card.
    dr kiran.

  22. Mr. Ghouse…thanks for forwarding this to us all…..I can quite feel how the Doctor is feeling…he is not along…my brother had a similar experience in Kolkata…in fact he was not allowed to leave the airport (he had arrived late at night) until the Sahab came in the morning and the officer could pass it to him….he had to spend the entire night at the airport….In the morning when the Sahab came he was allowed to go…what hassles.com


  23. Dear SIr/Madam:

    It is my understanding that OCI card holders do not need visa to travel to India. However, in light of the following case, I sincerely request you to clarify this matter.

    Naresh R. Shah
    Nitro, WV 25143

  24. So sorry to hear the harssment our people go through, most of the custom officers, Government employees, Law enforcement and railway employees are corrupt. They have to look and find some excuse for harassment. They know that we can not deal with agony for long, soon their wish will come true. I know what I have to go through when I went to India last year My children wanted to go by train to Punjab since they never ride the train. "Guess what" We made reservation, when we picked up our tickets we did not pay attention to our names, my name was addressed with Mr. instead of Mrs. No one can imagine how the conductor made our travel to Punjab hell, he would not let me out, he will not give me new ticket. He asked for 5000 Rs. I made up my mind and I refused to give it to him. he come to our seats to harass my daughter saying your mom will go to jail over and over again. He called the police at the Ludhiana Station. We got out the train there were 10 police man around us. They apologize when they found out the matter, and charge me penalty about 2350 Rs. the police officers said they sorry, they should have handled this in the train since they wrote the complaint I have to pay. I paid and got the receipt. I was at least happy I did not pay the conductor 5000. Even though people in the train told me to give him and be done with it. I still could not understand what kind of complaint they wrote to charge the penalty.

    All I have to say, check everything when you go to India do not take anything for granted.

  25. Mike:

    I am receiving responses on this issue of Dual Citizenship (OCI), but
    no body is responding to the real issue. Does the person having OCI, need
    an additional visa to India?

    Jai Mutreja

  26. I think the Minister fof OCI in GOI should be informed of this mishandling by immigration officials in Kolkatta

  27. The experience of the old gentleman is very sad and should be brought to the attention of the Indian Government at the highest level. The erring "babus" of immigration at Kolkata airport need to be held accountable. I think someone needs to clarify what is an OCI card and what is its purpose. I and my family have a PIO card and we carry them along with our US passports. We never have had any problems and we visit India almost every year, but our entry point is mostly New Delhi and sometimes Mumbai. I wonder if it is a problem with the communist ruled state of West Bengal where people do not want to work and are also very sadistic in their attitude to everything that relates to America.

  28. This is worse than the treatmnt meed out to an Indian film actor Sharu Khan (who??) at an U.S. Airport rcently.

    Our media cred to high heavens on this. Where are they when a born Indian suffers this kind of ill treatment from our own Indian Authorities

  29. It is amazing how we conveniently forget the conditions under which the OCI was issued, whenever it suits us.
    The application forms clearly state that once approved for OCI, the applicant will be issued a "certificate" (in the form of a booklet) and a life long visa stamp in their passport. The forms also states that the passport containing the visa stamp AND the certificate are required to travel to India. The forms go on to state that should the passport expire, the visa may be transferred (for a fee) to the new passport or the holder may continue to carry the old passport with the valid visa.
    Can you imagine showing up at a US airport without a valid Visa in your passport and with only a photocopy of valid visa?

  30. Would you please forward this to the Indian Embassy in Washington DC (at least they can post a statement on embassy web site notifying OCI holders of impeding problem)and/or to the Indian Minister who looks after the "Parvasi Bhartiya" Ministry? Also, forward this to the CPM government in West Bengal. I'm not going to pay $700 or whatever to buy a plastic card which has no value and importance. I still have 10-year multiple-entries visa stamped on my passport and i'm very comfortable with that sticker. Having said that, I'm not immune to problems
    Sorry that happened to you.

  31. i am not an expert on oci cards or visas. however, i do know that if a person of indian origin has a foreign passport, he has to get an indian visa like any white foreigner. oci crads do not replace visas. oci cards have certain advantages and values which indian origin people may find advantageous.one example is to get admissions in schools n colleges in india and the extent of fees payable. do not expect to be treated as an indian citizen if u have surrendered indian citizenship to get a foreign passport.i think that an oci holder can buy property in india . not very sure but u can verify.please also understand how indian passport holders with valid american visas are trated in america like the recent example of shahruk khan.mylar rao

  32. may be i will leave myPOI card as is and wont bother with dual citizenship. Even with POI card i had problem in UK convincing that I dont need visa also In Bangalore. This is sad . We live overseas and care so much for our country and do not wish to experience the experience that you had.

  33. Interesting piece of information which I propose to forward to the Ministry of Home Affairs, Govt. of India which is primarily the approving authority for OCI.

    However, the fact remains that forgetting documents or having old passports with OCI endorsement and travelling with new travel documents without new OCI endorsements as per requirements, are no excuses acceptable at the port of entry. No responsible Government would accept such arguments in present times.

    While the authorities need to ensure that the Immigration officers at the Port of Entry in India are definitely courteous and show understanding, equal responsibility rests with Overseas Indian Citizens to have complete documentation while travelling into India. For your own sakes, take nothing for granted especially with this age of insecurity and identity thefts.

  34. Yes, but those who complain here, unfortunately, are victims of forgetfulness or carelessness and the consequences are obvious.....why blame after having fallen into the hands of the predator.
    Moral: Take care not to get very close to the crocodile, but if one does out of stupidity, falls into the crocodile's mouth out of forgetfulness or carelessness then why blame the crocodile ! After all, the Crocodile will do a thorough job of its victim ;)

    P.S. One thing more, predators are all the same everywhere, where they must exist.

  35. I think that as US citizens and NRIs should never travel without a US passport with Indian Visa stamped on it. The only true purpose that the OCI /PIO card serves it is to make the Govt of India some money under this pretext and to save frequent police verifications in India every 180 days of stay and to buy and retain property. Otherwise it is a worthless piece of expensive scrap paper as rightly pointed out. It does not give you any type of free access to the country during entry or exit. Even the bureaucrats and politicians are powerless against the clerks and babus and others in lowly positioned jobs who have power on account of their physical location. This comes from jealousy that a fellow Indian has managed to 'escape' India and its corrupt system and is thriving in the US/ Canada etc while he cannot. I am willing to bet that if this person had been offered a sum of money under the table things would have turned out differently. That is the way things work in that country. They will push you to the utmost limit and see how much they can get out of you since they know this is a man coming from the USA. Utterly shameful!

  36. When you don't follow the rules you have no reason to complain. At least the Immigration Officer let the good doctor into the country without the proper papers. Try doing that when coming into USA -- whether you are a 70 year old respected doctor or not. He would have been held in detention for a very very long time. He is not only lucky he got away with this violation but on top of that he has the audacity to complain that the Government official was following the rules!!!. Read the limitations of being an OCI below.

    "An Overseas Citizen of India will enjoy all rights and privileges available to Non-Resident Indians excluding the right to invest in agriculture and plantation properties. The person has to carry his existing foreign passport which should include the new visa called ‘U’ visa which is a multi-purpose, multiple-entry, life-long visa. It will entitle the Overseas Citizen of India to visit the country at any time for any length of time and for any purpose."

  37. Yes, the immigration anywhere does not care about your profession whether you are a doctor or an actor as long as you fit in with their rules.

    The good doctor should thank himself that they let him in and did not keep him in hold up for his forgetfulness or not adhering to the principles and rules of rightful endorsements on the new passport, after all, not following rules apparently by oversight is no excuse !

  38. Dear Folks,

    Firstly I don't understand the logic of dual citizenship.

    But that has nothing to do with this issue. It is simply that you don't have a legitimate travel document.

    Recently, my sister and family came to India from Canada. As it happened they forgot their Permanent Resident Cards back in Canada. We had to make four trips and spend almost Rs 10,000/- for the three of them to get travel documents to return, which took a full three weeks. At first, they simply said please tell someone to get it and courier it here.

    Also they will not speak to you. You can email or contact an agency for any questions.

    We steep blame on officials in India while the same person will be the pinnacle of good behaviour abroad. It is only in India that they show their knowledge of rules and cry incompetent the Govt is.

    Let them try it there.

  39. Every one should understand that calling OCI a dual citizenship a fraud committed on every one.
    US laws do not prevent you from adding US citizenship to citizenship of other countries.
    The lesson for those who contemplate applying for US citizenship is NOT to give up Indian Citizenship but just add US Citizenship. That way, you are dual citizen till you have to renew the Indian passport. SO, first renew the Indian passport and then apply for US citizenship so the length of dual citizenship can be extended to the longest period.Let a new case law be created because you are not breaking any law (neither US nor Indian)
    If all the countries that allow dual citizenship allow full citizenship privileges, why cant Indian government provide the same.
    The whole scheme of calling this new coined phrase of OCI is a fraud committed on the nieve.

  40. Well said Col. Nair...this is precisely the point overseas travellers need to realize and accept that they have to adhere to the laws of the land whether it be India or anywhere in the world. It is indeed unfair to blame the Government of India for their own forgetfulness or carelessness and expect the Government of India to forgive. I am sure NRIs returning back to their overseas residence would not dare misbehave and take things for granted. Poor India gets to be blamed...why ?

  41. Well, I guess Mr Chandranath...in India the politics has a greater role to play especially when it comes to giving real "dual citizenship" in the sense that we understand as awarded elsewhere. Imagine the fuss the Opposition in India created over Sonia Gandhi having a Italian citizenship and being associated in Indian politics until she had to establish that she had forfeited her Italian credentials. For a moment just imagine how local politicians, imagine like Mayawati overwhelmed by an Indian American, more articulate, honest, down to earth and of course educated apparently coming to "take over Indian politics and yes rule India"...a threat the desi politician always fears. I guess the whole problem lies in that fear of displacement of the stereo type statue making Indian policians like Mayawati or similar kind, by someone more capable. This is by no means meant to cast aspersions on those highly capable and educated Indians like Shashi Tharoor to say the least, but how many are there to give India good and clean politics.

  42. My sympathies are with Dr Pandit. But let us face it. Dr Pandit was an Indian, who voluntarily gave up his Indian Citizenship for some reason. He travels on his US passport. He has a OCI card too. But this does not change anything. He is still a US citizen.

    The Introduction to the scheme of OCI in the Ministry of Home Affairs Website ( http://www.mha.nic.in/uniquepage.asp?Id_Pk=553 ) commences with the statement that "The Constitution of India does not allow holding Indian Citizenship and citizenship of a foreign country simultaneously". So Dr Pandit can never aspire to be a citizen of India and US at the same time. So he needs a visa to visit India. Nowhere is it stated in the above website that OCI card is issued in lieu of a visa. An OCI cardholder is eligible, inter alia, Multiple entry, multi-entry life long visa to visit India. So it is evident that Dr Pandit has to have his passport in which his visa is stamped, with him, when he travels to India.

    Now, about the behaviour of the person at the immigration. These immigration guys, whether they are in India, US or any other country in the world, they are very much alike.

    Now consider an hypothetical situation under the present scenario in the United States. Dr.Pandit loses his travel documents and SS card after he passes through the Indian Emigration. Quite a far fetched situation but still possible. What will happen to him when he reaches his "homeland"? I am sure the treatment he gets will not be much different from what he got in Kolkatta.

    So let him stop blaming his ex motherland, contemplate on what went wrong and how to avoid such instances in the future.


  43. I reside in Toronto. I travel to India at least once a year. i am Canadian citizen and require a visa for India. To get one is such a hassle that every Indian who has ever travelled to India and applied for visa knows it that how demeaning the whole process is. When one goes to drop it pick it up, place is terribly crowded and with absolutely no order. Everybody is gathered around the window where the names are being called. There is always a breakdown for some reason. Total confusion follows. People take the stage to make speeches to recount the mismanagement and inefficiency of the staff at the consulate.

    Now they have streamlined the system. Just mail your documents and hold your heart in your hands for 10 days to get your visa in mail. Thank God. It sure doesn't make you feel good for being Indian.

  44. I sympathize with Mr Pandit here, but remember guys OCI is not a dual citizenship. It is a registration card that gives you lifelong visa on your foreign passport and the advantage is if you are planning to stay in India for more than 180 days then you do not need to go to a local police station to register yourself.

    OCI does not allow you to travel to India without carrying your lifelong visa - if they are in the old passport and if you feel it is too much to carry two passports then you can get your visas tranferred to your new passport for a fee.

    Immigration officers in India or in the US will always follow the rules. We have visited multiple countries and they are the same everywhere. As long as you have your documents in order they cannot stop you. So make sure before you leave your house for an out of country visit to check all your required documents are with you.

    No point trashing Indians everytime something goes wrong with you - make sure your documents are correct before we point fingers. If you try to enter US without valid visa they will not let you in - you will have to leave by the next flight. No 72 hours or 7 days allowed.

  45. Rules are meant to be obeyed, but I fail to understand why if one person in the family seeks an OCI, why does the Govt. of India seek the entire documentation including the foreign passports of all other adult and minor members of the family when they do not even intend to take a visa leave alone an OCI. Isn't the privacy of other members respected? Is the fate of one persons' OCI linked with the others ? Imagine if a member refuses to give his personal details, does that mean an applicant can never be entitled to apply for OCI or be considered for OCI. Where lies the merit by following such a policy. The person who collects the documentation does not even have the discretion to apply his mind.

  46. It is fact, we face often unnecessary bureaucracy in India, but in this case, I would say Immigration office was following the rules by book. My family and I also hold OIC. It is clearly written on Indian Embassy website in USA, Indian Consulate in New York and on the Indian Foreign Ministry website in Delhi, that; OIC card together with a valid visa is required to enter India. OIC card only is not sufficient. In case of expired passport, you should either carry the old passport with you or have visa transferred to the new passport. There is an extra fee for transferring Visa to the new passport. A traveler who does not fulfill these requirements could be denied entry by the immigration officer.

    Considering current situation in India, I would not blame the immigration officer Mr. Biswas for following the rules strictly. He could have followed the rule by book and deny the entry, as stated in the OIC regulations and requirements. I feel sorry for the inconvenience of Dr. Sujit Pandit, but let's not make a fuss on instances where we could be at fault and immigration officer had to follow the rules.

    Suhaib M. Siddiqi, Ph.D.
    Wakefield, MA 01880, U.S.A.



  47. It seems every on e missed / forget the conditions under which the OCI was issued.The application forms clearly state that once approved for OCI, the applicant will be issued a certificate which looks like almost passport and a life long visa stamp in their passport(US). The forms also states that the passport containing the visa stamp AND the certificate are required to travel to India. The forms go on to state that should the passport expire, the visa may be transferred to the new passport or the holder may continue to carry the old passport with the valid visa.

    I dont think this is the norm only for India.Even it happens to person who are travelling to US.

    Every one is blindly saying that we dont need to carry original( expired PP),It is clearly written in all government websites we neeed to carry our expired Passports as well,......

    2 cents from Vamshi Annangi

  48. The anonymous person's comment about stop helping the poor in India is most inhumane. We all should help all the poor in any country. Of course, US citizens too. The tax dollars we pay in USA does provide safety nets like Medicaid, Welfare, Food stamps, etc. I n addition, we donate for United way, Red Cross etc. We go to Soup Kitchens to make and serve food and we break bread with them.

    You don't have to hate your mom because you love your mom. You can love USA and love India too.

    You could be a US citizen only ( not a dual citizen with another country) and be a traitor betraying US interests.

    SO, nothing wrong being a Dual Citizen, and nothing wrong to help a poor undernourished Indian child. One dollar will feed a whole family when it can not even buy a pop in an eatery here.

    Anonymous appears to be confused about compassion and is hiding behind "anonymous" Please come out of your shell.


  49. Any immigration officer of any country including India / US has to follow clear straight rules first & foremost and other things next (like any considerations due to age, gender, medical, money etc). All travellers must help and cooperate with him/her. You miss a document, or present a suspicious document you are in big trouble. No money can buy an immigration officer about improper documents even in a lawless rogue country.
    Mr Pundit did not have his passport with U visa and that's it. He was rightly detained. Detainee is not a criminal but an unwelcome guest. Do not argue on this. Immigration rules can not be relaxed even for God. It relates to security of all nations, and not just of the country you are entering. Period.

    Detinee Guard

  50. Please refer to Indian Govt portal India.gov.in which states clearly a holder of PIO/OCI card does not require visa to travel to India.

    "Visa for NRIs and PIOs
    Persons of Indian Origins and Non-Resident Indians who possess either OCI (Overseas Indian Citizenship) or PIO card don't need Indian Visa. OCI and PIO give them the freedom to visit India without visa. OCI and PIO cards are multi-purpose life long visa for visiting India.

    "However, those NRIs and PIOs who don't have OCI or PIO card can apply for and get Indian visa through the procedure mentioned above.

    For more details visit our Section on 'Indian Missions/Embassies Abroad' "

  51. Feel very sorry for the same. But the fact that even if you have all the documents needed as per rules still the officer will make your life miserable. This is not because of law but because of jealously. So nothing will solve the position. That is India

  52. Professor Pandit,
    Sorry to read about your vows at Kolkata immigration and the FRRO in the city. You can convert this harrowing experience into opportunity for the Indian diaspora at large by writing to Vylar Ravi, Minister of Overseas Indians in Delhi. We were at the verge applying for the OCI, now we have to rethink.
    Best regards,

  53. Every country must protect its borders seriously. For that immigration officer has to be firm and strict. Immigration officer's compassion may end up letting inside one terrorist and thousands may end up dead.

    I ( US Citizen ) was entering Niagara Falls , Canadian side with 3 Indian citizens with Canadian Visa. We were asked to pull out , go into the office and face ruthless non smiling non compassionate Customs officers ( They were female officers too, but no compassion). This is for people with Visas obtained after paying Rs.15,000 ! for the 3 visas.

    In our anger some " anonymous " have even suggested to stop giving to Indian Charities. Nobody can force you to be charitable. If you do not want to donate you can say so but please do not ask others to stop giving to the poor in India.

    WE were educated by the indian universities run by tax money of the poor Indians . So giving a few dollars ( has any person of Indian given 10 % of his earning to the Indian causes or even 1 % ).

    Let us help the poor American. If we cannot help a poor Indian, let us not advise others from giving to the poor Indian.

  54. Kudos to Dr.Pandit for allowing even comments that chastize him. Shows what a wonderful open minded person he is.

  55. I am a NRI and travel to India about two times a year and I am sure, so do millions of people like me, NRI and foreign citizens of Indian origin. It is sad how the experience of one solitary individual has caused outpourings of venom on our own country, despite the fact that that individual (Dr.Pandit) did not have the requisite documents to enter the country. As many level-headed people in this blog have pointed out, one should not take anything for granted when travelling to a foreign destination, however eminent or famous a person is. Immigration dept of any country is entrusted with the job of ensuring that the people travelling to a particular destination have the requisite documents to enter that destination. That Dr.Pandit was allowed to stay for 72 hours first and a further 4 days afterwards should in fact be pointed out as a sign of our magnanimity, our regard for our brethren overseas. Unfortunately some people including my namesake, see it as a manifestation of an average Indian's jealousy. It is time such people of mean mentality realise that nothing is farther from truth. But sure many of our brethren including NRIs and OCIs would not like to leave any occasion to run down their country of their birth. I pray to the Almighty to give them wisdom, balanced perspective, objectivity in judgement.

  56. Dear Mr. Pandit,

    It's unfortunate that you faced such difficulties.
    But, first tell me, what good have you done to indian people, particularly the poor people.
    From your title, I could make out that you are a doctor.
    What good things have you done to this country?
    Just go to interior parts of the country, and find out the conditions there
    You are cursing just because you faced some difficulties with the immigration procedures.
    But remember, first it was your fault that you did not carry your old passport which contained the visa documents and now you are finding ways to punish that civil servant.
    I would request you to do some introspect and discharge your fundamental duties and responsibilities to India.

  57. Good job Mr Biswas. You did follow the rules. The gentleman forgot to bring the passport which got the OIC stamp and so should not be allowed to enter. He should be thankful as he was alloed to enter. The incident also proves that Mr. Biswas treated everyone with eaqual respect, Professorship didn't matter to him.

    The only benifts of OIC are
    1.> You are eligible to apply for Indian citizenship after 5-6 years.

    2.> You don't need to register with Police if you are going to stay for more than 180 days.

  58. Meena said

    Sir now you can understand why every educated Indian aspires to Migrate. It is got to do with the system and the frustration of the Indians back home who feel all NRI's more lucky and try to vent their frustrations in ways that can irritate us.

  59. You had many things wrong. OCI is not a dual citizenship to India. Once you are an American Citizen, you cannnot be an Indian Citizen too. Hence the Indian govt came up with the OCI card Idea to allow its ex citizens to have some more freedom. It gives a permanent Visa with some added benefits as an Non Resident Indian. You do not have voting rights in India. If you really feel that you are an Indian you should give up your American citzenshhip.

    The next problem is that you didn't take your all your passports. You have to show the visa. It works the same if you have a green card, you still have to show the Indian passport.

    Third problem may be that you probabaly started getting mad at the Immigration clerk and saying that he is not doing his job etc. (I was not there, but I can guess it may have happened) I have seen many of my friends act as if they are above everything and everyone just because they have American Citizenship. It never goes well with people who work at these posts. You have to be humble and get your way around.

    I am sorry that it happened to you. They should have atleast given some respect to your age and position

  60. I am sorry to say that a situation has developed since 9/11..This happens at all airports all the time. This has got nothing to do with personalities.. I think every document shown at the immigration is treated with suspicion..

    However it is true that white caucacian would have been treated with more compassion..maybe would have been given a tender coconut and garland..add a tilak on the forehead..

  61. Sudip

    I am sorry to hear about your woes and it takes a lot of courage to publish your misfortune.

    You have done it for the benefit of others, so that they may not suffer the indignity that you did.

    You have opened my eyes, since I have a British Passport and am in the process of applying for an OCI and thanks to you, I will be more careful.

    Thank you for sharing your experience and saving many others from making the 'mistake' that is very easy to make, but very difficult to admit.

    As a fellow Anaesthetist (Anesthesiologist), I empathise even more!

  62. We in Malaysia can apply for what they call PIO(Peoples of Indian Origin) card where you ought to produce documentation that your parents or grandparents were born in India.It is valid for 15 years.So far those who entered India with this face no problems.I think you should apply for this.I agree the Immigration there has no mercy or tact.Once I told I was a Malaysian citizen of Indian origin and they detained me for 20 mins to question me asking me how come you are Indian with Malaysian citizenship.i tol;d them there are 2 million such people in Malaysia and even showed them my Malaysian Identity Papers still not bothered.I complained to the Indian High Com here after return only apologies.

  63. On a different note, in fact i got detained at the Delhi airport one time. I was a permanent resident of US at that time but was holding Indian passport. I had renewed my Indian passport from the consulate in US and was carrying my brand new renewed Indian passport when i landed at the Delhi airport. The officer wanted to see all of my previous old passports which i did not carry at that time. He was ready to let my husband and my two American born kids go but wasn't ready to let me go and wanted proof that i was actually born in India. How can i provide proof in the middle of the night stranded in the airport? anyway after the entire line of people behind me left, not sure what happened,he changed his mind and gave me permission to enter my mother land. just thought of sharing this experience...

  64. I am surprised to hear this, as I had been travelling to India very regularly with my Singapore passport & my PIO card - with no visa. They check my PIO card and chop in my passport - entry & exit. They never asked me for visa. I thought OCI card has more value than PIO card. any comments ..

  65. it is a worst experience for sri pandit...this type of treatment will be given to indians by indians and nothing else

  66. I thought of getting one for me. Now I read all about it, why waste money.
    Prithvi Kumar
    President IANH
    Manchester NH

  67. I guess the message about the OCI is being misunderstood totally. The undisputed fact is:
    1. OCI is good if one has permanent interests in India 2. Carry the OCI if one visits India. No point in trying to blame India or the Officers who are responsible for the job that they are assigned to do. After all, no Immigration Officer anywhere in the world would ever permit a foreigner to enter without proper documents or visa. Mr Prithvi Kumar, if I understand correct, nothing is a waste as long as it does its role, big or small !

  68. Mr Jai Mutreja, OCI is good for those who have permanent interests in India, they can travel several times without having to obtain a visa since the OCI (Overseas Citizenship of India) endorsement is a Visa in itself. Only thing is one must carry that endorsement in the passport and the document related to have a smooth entry into Indian Ports.

    Harassment and Interrogation are just the same from two states of mind, but the fact remains no country in the world would permit any foreign national to enter without proper entry papers/visa therefore, it is not correct to blame the Immigration Officers for doing their job. Dr Pandits' example cannot be generalized as an experience of everybody.

  69. It is my experience in India that Government servants think and act as if you exist for their convenience. They will do anything and say anything to see how much bribe they can extort from you. They lack the simple courtesy or give you a helping hand. That is the reason India is considered as one of the most corrupt nation in the world. Corruption is rampant without exception. Rights of the citizen?? What is it?

  70. "Mera Bharat Mahan" is nothing but nonsence. It used to be Mahan not any more. The people are mean, unethical, and jealous of anyone who has had the opportunity to get out of India. That is why they try to excercise their "power" and show off when Indian born foreign nationals return to India. They get a kick out of being mean and belittling other people. They are frogs in the well who are proud, puffed up and ignorant! I am a (Indian born) Canadian citizen and proud to one. I will never get my dual citizenship because of the horrific treatments I and several of my friends have recieved at the hands of the visa people everytime we go to get a visa for India. To prove my case, just go to the Indian embassy website, and see how pathetic it is. India has some of the best IT people and the Indian embassy website is an embarrassment!! Also, when you go into the visa office, they have a whole different set of rules. They are rude, ignorant, uncivilised and unprofessional!! Or just try calling them. They don't even have proper phone services! There is a different set of rules for different people. They don't care and are rude, rude, rude! I used to be proud of being Indian until I started visiting the visa offices. Now I'm ashamed of being identified as one! Trust me, I'm not the only one feeling this way.
    Dr. Sujit K Pandit is only one of the thousands who have been harassaed this way. The ads say "Incredible India!" - that should be changed to "India - Ignorant and Proud of it!"

  71. Well anonymous who decries the "mera bharat mahan" has a problem special to himself. Well, opinions are subjective and could never be generalised. My experience has been quite the contrary despite being an Indian born Canadian citizen. Well, I am not denying about some rude people,, but let us not generalise that every Indian is rude and uncivilised as that would not be fair to you and nor to the Indian or India in general. If you were so honest with yourself why keep yourself anonymous...your hatred is your personal problem and something that probably rests with your attitude and manner in interacting as my experience has been quite the contrary. Indians have been very helpful, understanding, not quite the frogs in the well, helpful and yes if you break the rules they are hard as anyone else you would like to name anywhere in the world and perhaps harder for an Indian to accept being reprimanded by another Indian because he is a phoren returned Indian who has a problem with himself....well, let's forget it and stop being critical as the Indian embassy website is very user friendly, informative and helpful too. May have a few lapse but thats no big deal. So lets leave it at that my friend.

  72. I understand the problems you have undergone but its nor your fault nor the immigration officer's fault.
    With so much illigal immigrant and terrorists trying to get in through various sources, the immigration officer has to be cautious.
    While travelling it is your duty to carry all your travel documents be it your old passport or visa copy, even your e-ticket, what if the same thing had happened to you in the UNITED STATES or United Kingdom, at that time you will consider them doing their duty.
    Only if you had the old passpoer , you would not have undergone all this.
    Let this be a lesson for you to carry all your vaild docs n also your old passport with valid visa.
    Have a nice day


  73. It seems like Indians always have to keep complaining. Just because you are a top professor in US university does not mean you get entry into India. You need to carry all documents while going into any other. I wonder what would have happened to the estemmed professor if he had chosen to come into US without a passport and what would have happened to him. Even with all the docs Shah Rukh Khan was treated badly at US immigration.You need to follow rules of a land - if you cant dont go there. I dont think India will loose out if the professor does not visit India. Stop complaining and follow rules.

  74. I am a British National now and have an OCI card. My wife is Australian and has dual nationality with Great Britain. Few years ago at the Sydney airport I heard the immigration officer greeting my wife saying Welcome home! Do you ever get or expect to get that kind of greetings from any Indian Immigration Officer? Now there is a thought!!

  75. Please remember OCI is NOT DUAL citizenship. You are a foreigner.

    Is there any country in the world that will allow you to enter without proper documents?

    I am really suprised that a professor who expects his students to follow the rules does not follow the rules.

    Always remember what you went through to get US Visa. Did you even iomagine travelling without proper US documents .

    Here are the conditions for OCI published by India

    With OCI Status, a foreign passport holder is entitled to the following:

    Multiple-entry, multi-purpose, life-long visa to visit India. The holder of the OCI Certificate would still need to carry his/her foreign passport, but a Visa "U" ("U" for Universal) sticker would be affixed on the foreign passport;
    Exemption from reporting to police authorities for any length of stay in India;
    Parity with NRIs (Non-Resident Indians) in financial, economic and educational fields EXCEPT in relation to acquisition of agricultural and plantation properties.

    4. Please note that OCI is NOT Dual Citizenship. The Constitution of India does not permit the facility of holding Indian Citizenship simultaneously with a foreign citizenship. The OCI holder would therefore not be eligible for the following rights in India:

  76. I am an importer of Indian gold jewelry. I had an Indian passport until January 2009. I applied for American citizenship because I wanted to vote in the historic election to elect Obama and also because I found during my travels to different countries that if you have an American passport, you don't need to get visas to many countries. On April 23rd, which was a Friday, I had to make an emergency visit to Hyderabad to be with my Father who was to undergo a complicated surgery. I received the call on Friday morning and did not have time to fly to San Francisco to get a visa as I was trying to fly out on the same day from LAX. I managed to get a ticket on Air India with code share flight by Singapore Airlines. I thought that I would be able to convince the Immigration officer to give me a 1 week visa to be there for my Father's surgery. I couldn't have been more wrong! My nightmare started right after I reached Mumbai. The officer on duty would not give me a visa even after repeated pleadings. He called the hospital to confirm details about the surgery but would not discuss the conversation and refused to grant a visa. I told him how I was an Indian passport holder until October 2008. I asked him how a genuine Indian does not get a visa wheras millions of Pakistanis and Bangladeshis are able to come into the country and create havoc. He threatened to impound my American passport for talking to him like that. I warned him that unlike the Indian embassies and consulates, the US consulate would take a serious view of that and he will have lots of problems on his hand if he impounds my passport. They used my return ticket to book me on a flight out of Mumbai to Singapore. The flight was at midnight. So, from 12:15 noon to 1:30 am, I was kept in a dirty room without food or water under supervision of the CISF. This room had an overflowing bathroom and no windows. I felt like I was in prison. They came 1 hour before the flight time and escorted me to the flight. They kept my passport and ticket until I reached Singapore. In Singapore, the AI flight attendant handed me over to Singapore Immigration where they treated me with respect and said that I was free to enter their country without a visa. In Singapore, I requested an urgent visa from the Indian consulate. The Consulate in Singapore was very understanding of my situation and they were considerate enough to give me a visa for 6 months.
    I wonder if this is the way the Indian Govt wants to treat businessmen who come there regularly to do business. All those who are defending the stupid Immigration officer know that if they were in the prof's shoes would rail about corruption in India. India is on top of the list as far as corruption goes. You all know this is true.

  77. The pity Mr Raj is how can the Immigration officer give you a Visa when he has no discretion to give you one despite all your claims. Well, if you are talking about the illegal Pakistanis or Bangladeshis who enter the country that cannot be equated with you a genuine passport holder. Imagine if you were attempting to enter the US with an Indian Passport claiming you were an American or vice versa you think you would have been treated with a bouquet of flowers. Well, definitely a room not as dirty as you experienced, but meted the same treatment. Singapore has a policy of granting a visa at the port of entry and therefore not comparable. Again your bringing in dollars as a businessman does not give you any extra privilege, but as much as any other business man. The Moral: If you do not have proper papers, take nothing for granted least of all blame anyone. The fault lies within us.

  78. Mr Anonymous from UK with your better half having dual citizenship (Australian/UK). Well, if the immigration officer welcomed her why would you feel in Indian port of entry you would be treated as a suspect if you carry all the documents. Try entering Australia without valid documents and see if the same welcome the same immigration officer would give....just try ! Try not to blame India or its officers who do their duty as anyone else anywhere in the world. The problem many phoren returned Indians face is their psyche...behave elsewhere and misbehave when they land in the homeland shores ! Sorry for being curt, but this is by and large true.

  79. Kris, The point is he did have the discretion to grant me a visa. I have discussed this with a number of my friends who were granted temporary visa. If he did not have the discretion why would he spend 2 hours talking to me and discussing my case with the hospital. The point here is why does the Govt make it so tough for genuine people to visit India. During one of my business trips, when I still had my Indian passport with a US green card I had to stop and make an emergency trip to Penang, Malaysia to meet a supplier> I explained to the immigration officer in Penang the reason of my visit. He did not even call my supplier. He asked me how many days I need and gave me a visa for 72 hours. He took down all the details of my supplier ofcourse to trace me if needed. The reason I am telling you all this Kris is it is a global market and there is big money in Tourism. Why cant the Indian Govt change. Why is the granting of visa by Singapore not comparable. Why can't we adapt their policies when they have been so successful for their economy.I was not asking for extra privileges. All I wanted from that fat officer was some understanding and compassion. You can defend the Indian govt all you want here, but You and everyone here knows how corrupt they are and that includes you, if you are a Govt. servant. I will continue to do business with India, but my trips to India will be very only if it is very urgent.

  80. Raj, you and I very well know that the discretion to grant visa rests solely with the immigration officer whether in Indian Port of Entry or in the US Embassy/Port of Entry or anywhere howsoever, one is genuine. Sharukh Khan is a fine example who had all the documentation, just think!

    Now if an officer does not grant a visa is it fair to call him corrupt unless of course he categorically offered to grant you a visa for a consideration. If so, then you have a cause and definitely a course of action. But if not, it may not be fair to call him corrupt much less call all Indian Officers corrupt. By the way, least of call me corrupt, because I was in no way responsible for your predicament ;) Well, Immigration Officers can be pretty erratic at times and may not grant me visa just because they do not like my face despite my having all the reasons- how about that ? Again think of Sharukh Khan. Well countries which have less problems comparatively I guess are less strict too like Singapore, Malaysia and they have reason to respect a US Green Card. Personally, I feel each case is unique and can be seen by its own merit.

    I only speak for those who cannot speak or defend themselves at this point and based on my own experience too. It would not be fair to generalize one bad Indian and say all Indians are bad and that India is corrupt....just think for a moment. No offence meant to you personally. Sorry about your experience anyway !
    Yes, systems are always open to improvements

  81. An eye for an eye will turn the whole world blind, be kind, be patient and always be polite!

  82. Absolutely Neel....well, I have to put this here. My wife applied for an OCI despite of all that we read above (I refer to the negative comments about Indian Officers being corrupt etc). Well, she went to India and it was all smooth sailing. The officers were extremely courteous, just the routine questions and a welcome....how about that Raj, the Doctor way above who did not take his papers (OCI+Passport) and blamed the Indian immigration for not letting him in and so many others who do not adhere to rules when they enter their Country of origin, because they only take it for granted ! Sorry, we had a perfectly warm experience only because we had the relevant papers as advised by the High Commission. So lets stop calling Indian officers corrupt because they do not listen to a defaulting traveller of Indian origin who wouldn't dare do it if he was entering the US.

  83. My wife was actually deported at her own expense within an hour after arriving in Mumbai, holding an OCI and a US passport. It was Diwali day. Adding insult to injury, the deporting officer offered her "Diwali Mithai" while escorting her to the plane.

    The shameless Prime Minister, who on his website promises to acknowledge every complaint sent to him, did not respond.

    Frankly, an OCI is nothing but trouble, an instrument created to generate additional revenue for the foreign ministry AND for the immigration officers to extract bribes. I am told that at least one OCI holder on every single flight gets deported. I wonder how many escape deportment by bribing.

    The OCI document, which looks like an Indian passport, clearly states that the holder is allowed unlimited entries into India for unlimited periods. Then why should the holder be required to carry an expired foreign passport which has a corresponding stamp saying essentially the same thing?

    More than that, why has the Indian government created this concept of pseudo Dual Citizenship when it clearly intends to offer no advantages or preferences to such people?

  84. Suresh Makhijani, your comments do not specify the reasons why your wife was deported. Obviously, there is something that was not correct or as per the laws.

    My wife travelled with an OCI and a foreign passport, she was not deported, but rather was well received and dealt with courteously. Therefore, before we decide to abuse the PM of India and the Indian system, one needs to introspect where and what was the reason that was attributed for your wife's deportation. Obviously, no one is deported just because they do not like their face, right !

    I would suggest do please educate all with the circumstances leading to such a decision for deportation or else your comments are not fair and prejudiced, that's it !

    On the contrary, I am sure the same fate of deportation would have been faced if one were to enter the US without proper documentation as per the rules of the land that is immediate deportation if not worse !

  85. It is obvious that the Professor is still an Indian at heart though EmeritUS on the face. He expected to be given leeway by the officials even though he did not have the proper (though admittedly superfluous and confusing) paperwork. India was never a well-oiled machinery and his narrative supports the same. Expect trouble when you are not in compliance. Manage it when it happens even when you ARE in compliance! Regards.

  86. I am UK citizen of an Indian origin and have had the misfortune of being a visitor in India on several occasions. One doesn’t have to state the obvious when it comes to the treatment by the Indians towards the people of their own race and creed. You think that immigration service is the only service where an Indian gets ignored and ill treated while white skinned people get the preferential treatment with a smile then you must be living in a dream world. You, as an Indian, only need to go the local restaurants in Mumbai, Delhi and other places in India to watch this preferential behaviour being meted out to the white skinned people. Even Air India and the local airlines aren’t any different.

    I seem to notice a type of resentment amongst Indians of India as if to say that you bastards left India and lived most your lives very comfortably and benefitted immensely, where as we were left behind to rot in this shithole, which incidentally is quite understandable. They appear to give an impression that now you “so called” NRIs’ come back to this shithole with pocket full of Dollars and Pounds and expect us to treat you as if you are the masters of the Universe.

    One would agree that there appears to be a general expectation amongst the natives to expect someone else to come and solve the problems of their day to day miserable lives instead of doing it for themselves. One gets the impression that they never get off their lazy asses to do something instead blame the government.

    Look at India today. I hear a great deal about the strides being made to improve India but does one see this improvement any where? This is the only country, which I can honestly say, is the dirtiest country in the world. This is the only country in the world where roads and high rise blocks are being built but without any decent amenities. This is the only country in the world with immense indiscipline, whether be it on the roads or carrying out day to day activities. India is the only country in the world where cows roam the streets but INDIANS worship it at the same time with complete disregard to its welfare. India is the only country in the world where one can see numerous natives defecating and urinating openly on the roads without any thoughts of decency.

    So, what did you expect at the immigration counter?

  87. Mr Anonymous, now a UK citizen, but writes without a name, probably ashamed of himself, yet curses his country of origin- India, sees all the dirt in the world as he see says so in the last line, what else can he see but just that. He has no respect for his country of origins, wonder if he has any respect for himself, obviously not thats why he was shy to even give his name. Well, it takes all type to make this world.

    Now Mr Anonymous, what did you get by cursing India, did you hope to be honored with a title "Sir" - did you achieve a Nobel Prize or some Award ?

    It better be known that your opinion means nothing because their are so many overseas visitors who continue to admire the country of your curse. You suffer from a inferiority complex and that makes you feel superior, pitiably that is not the way the world sees the country of your origins. It is better you stay away lest you further pollute the country of your origins which is suffering on account of accursed one like you Mr Anonymous.

  88. Nothing seems wrong from Authority point of view.

    In recent past, lots of people with Valid passport and H1B visa come to USA and sent back by Authorities without entry to US from Newark airport. Who cried? no one, not even American consulate in India who issues the Visa. They were actually traveling with valid documents. What will you do for them?????

    You should actually thank Mr Biswas to allow you and clear yr case. He could have denied and ask for deportation.

    Always carry proper documentation or face consequences and don't cry.

  89. As Anonymous states, an Governmental Authority has every discretion to exercise their prerogative whether Mr X or Y enters a country despite proper documents. Mr Biswas should be thankful that he was not held up behind bars or sent back. So instead of abusing the Indian Authorities, he should be thankful that his trip was not a wasted trip despite the inconvenience.

    I am glad Anonymous agrees with the fact that every sovereign authority has the right to choose who it wants and who it does not want in their own national interests and as Overseas citizens of Indian origin, let's learn to respect that fully and abide by the laws of the land as we would do where we reside.

  90. From the desk of Mukesh 'Mo-Pat' Patel
    Indians are meant to suffer...they suffered for any reason at All...whether due to Corruption, being of a specific caste, tribe or whatever...just pure ignorance is imbedded into our make up....a true Jhat type of mentality....
    Sad...we kiss the white ass, ridicule our own, get mistreated by our own kind...so what do you thionk should happen...be Treated different by Govt employees who are lazy, useless and are only employed to keep the population engaged.
    Now just Travel somewhere else and be Happy

  91. I'm a Korean student. I've been living in Bangalore for 9 years and this email is in my university text book. As I was reading this email, I felt so much of sympathy towards the FRRO officer's action.... Every year i had to go through with that kind of officers here, with poor poor facilities of the office as well. This is very ridiculous...

  92. When the old passport(s) become mutilated the same can be produced at the Indian Embassy and endorsement for the same could be obtained and it now becomes unquestionable by the immigration bosses and it would become enough if you carry your latest living passport.