Can NRI, PIO and OCI Applying for Aadhar Cards? No Government measure has evoked as many reactions or raised as many questions as the Aadhar Card and the Aadhar number, India’s very own unique identification number scheme for all its residents. The thought behind the Aadhar Card scheme though noble has given rise to a lot of confusion among the general populace. There is ambiguity over the exact importance of this document in the hierarchy of various documents that serve as identification and/or address proofs, for example: Is it a mandatory document?, does it replace the ration card as an address proof or a proof of citizenship?, does it serve as an ID and address proof for all purposes? Etc.
Another big question that always surrounds the Aadhar Cards is whether Non resident Indians (NRIs), Persons of Indian origin (PIO), Overseas Citizen of India or foreigners can apply for the same, and if that is so then whether the Aadhar Card is a valid proof of citizenship?
What do the terms NRI, PIO and OCI actually mean?
Now many of you may be familiar with the above mentioned facts, but most of you do not exactly know what those terms mean, thus before we tell you how to apply for an Aadhar Card we shall provide you with a brief overview as to what do the terms Non resident Indians, Person of Indian Origin and Overseas Citizens of India exactly mean.
Non Resident Indians (NRIs) – All those who are even slightly aware of mainstream media have to have heard the term NRI sometime or the other. However this term is often misused and used interchangeably with PIO, thus often people use the term NRI even when they actually mean to denote a PIO. To clear all doubts, an NRI is any person who holds an Indian Passport but has moved abroad for a period of not less than 6 months for the purpose of education, work or any other purpose. It should be noted that this shift should necessarily be temporary and not permanent.
Person of Indian Origin- Often mistakenly referred to as an NRI, any person whose origins can be traced back to India but who is no longer a citizen of India is called a Person of Indian Origin. These people are citizens of foreign countries but may have been Indian citizens previously or they would qualify as PIOs even if their direct ancestors were born in India.
Overseas Citizen of India- India does not have a system of dual citizenship, which means that any person holding an Indian passport cannot hold a passport of any other country. However this has traditionally been a big bone of condition between the Indian governments and the huge Indian presence abroad. Thus to appease the millions of Indians living abroad the Indian government came out with a middle path in the form of OCI or Overseas Citizens of India cards. Even though these cards do not confer to its holders the citizenship of India, it essentially provides a lifetime visa to the holders, thus they can come and go into the country whenever they wish to, and the only requirement is that they need to have their OCI cards with them. They can travel to and fro from India even without a passport on them. Thus India still does not allow dual citizenship but through the OCI card it provides almost all the benefits available to a citizen, to the card holders, subject to some conditions of course.
Can NRI, PIO and OCI Applying for Aadhar Card?
This article aims at lying to rest all the doubts that you may be having regarding this. It has been made clear by the Central Government that the Aadhar card is not a proof of citizenship, and this has never even been the objective of the scheme at all. The objective of the Aadhar project is to provide a unique number to each and every person resident in India, regardless of their age, gender, caste, creed etc. Thus there is no question of it serving as a proof of citizenship and it has been declared that any NRIs, PIOs, OCIs or foreigners who are citizens of other countries but resident in India can apply for an Aadhar Card.
How to apply for an Aadhar Card?
The Aadhar Card is provided by the Government of India free of cost, thus persons wishing to obtain an Aadhar Card just need to apply for the same and complete all the procedures, without having to pay anything. However the application process for an ordinarily resident Indian citizen and for an NRI or PIO or OCI or a foreign resident is the same. Apply Aadhar Card Online and Offline. No separate provision has been provided for persons belonging to those categories. This means that the persons falling under those categories shall have to visit any one of the numerous Aadhar enrollment centers operating in the country if they wish to obtain the card. Thus NRIs, PIOs etc. cannot apply for an Aadhar Card from abroad, their physical presence is required during the application.
The various steps in obtaining the Aadhar Cards are:
- The first and foremost step for those individuals i.e NRIs, PIOs, OCIs etc. is to visit India in person and present themselves at any Aadhar enrollment center nearest or most convenient to them.
- The online facility for Aadhar is restricted to booking an appointment at an enrollment centre for a particular date and time. This facility is provided for all, thus the above mentioned individuals can use it too.
- The applicants should ensure that they arrive at the centre on time and they should carry with them their proof of birth e.g.: their birth certificates and their identification and address proofs. The list of the documents that are accepted as Identity, Birth and Address proofs under the Aadhar scheme are freely available online and also on the website of the UIDAI.
- Since the Aadhar Card contains an individual’s biometric details it is being widely used for identification purposes as it makes impersonating another person next to impossible. Thus the applicants at the time of the application; shall not only have their photographs taken, but their fingerprints too. In addition to that they shall even have their irises scanned and kept on record.
- The addresses provided by the applicants can be a foreign address; however the phone number provided by them has to be an Indian number. They have to ensure that the number is operative until they receive their Aadhar details on that number. After that the Aadhar Cards shall be sent to them at their addresses by post within 3 months. Meanwhile they can always check the status of their Aadhar cards online.
- For applicants whose Aadhar cards have been processed but they have not received it within the time period for any reason whatsoever, these persons can download an electronic version of their Aadhar Card and have it printed out. This print out shall for all intents and purposes serve as the actual Aadhar Card, in the meantime they can of course apply or send an intimation to the authorities to resend their Aadhar Card.
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