If you happened to be a wife of an Indian national, this good news is for you! You may now be entitled for multiple entries, with a lifelong visa to India by simply applying for an Overseas Citizenship of India or the OCI card. Isn’t this a blessing or what?! And not only that, this benefit is extended to your children, too! In case you had already been issued with a Person of Indian Origin or the PIO card, then the process will even be much more minimal for you. I was issued with a PIO card more than a year ago and once the news came out on the wives’ eligibility for an OCI, we immediately applied. My PIO card was replaced with an OCI, with the waiting period of less than 45 days, however it might take a little longer for new application. Please visit the Indian Consulate near you for further details or you may check out their website at www.cgidubai.com in case you are residing in the UAE.
As a wife of an Indian national, I was initially issued a PIO card to travel to India and this card is valid for 15 years from the date of issue which has been working out well for us. So much more, t’was worth the amount we’ve paid for to process. Until recently, our ingress to India has been upgraded to OCI. I am really thankful to the Indian Government for considering the family status of their people, for which I can only hope for my Philippine Government to reciprocate with a similar gesture. It has been my sentiment for a while now as my husband can only be granted a maximum of one-year multiple visa entry to the Philippines even after being married for more than 20 years and regularly travelling to the Philippines. We were told that this could be extended but the information we gathered so far on how to was somewhat vague.
The Philippine Bureau of Immigration may have a procedure currently in place on the issuance of this type of visa, but I believe so that the process can still be improved. I may be naive but we sure didn’t experience so much trouble when applying for my OCI, aside from spending only around 300 US$ for a lifetime validity (this was including the processing of my PIO, then to OCI) compared to my husband’s only one-year of visa to the Philippines which normally costing us approx 152 US$ to obtain, each time we apply. There must be a better and cheaper alternative for the foreign spouse of a Philippine national to be given the same privilege. There should be….
In fairness, I somehow understood my country’s predicament on this matter. I have heard of the so many cases of frauds and abuse in using ‘marriage’ as a means to secure entry to the Philippines for personal gain and business reasons. This is indeed an act of disgrace and only pave the way in even corrupting the already weak system to identify the legit and the truly-deserving from the bogus. All I am saying is to seriously review the current process and maybe come up with a stricter, wiser, and a much organized policy to overcome such anomalies and consider a more solid yet similar possibility. I am hopeful that a country as multi-cultural and highly developed as the Philippines can come up with a way to ease up or enhance the existing process, in order to encourage the Filipinos with foreign spouses to consider spending their retirement in the Philippines. I pray that my plea will one day fall into attentive ears and will not remain just a ‘wishful thinking’ 🙂
I can only hope especially with the present administration in the Philippines where I have been reading proposals and apparently working on a more structured programs for the returning OFWs. That they may consider this matter as one important aspect to pay attention to – family status. If there’s something I will be asked for as an OFW to push forward in terms of a long-term plan, is the possibility of issuing a permanent residence visa to our foreign spouse (or at least something equally defined). After all, our ultimate goal as an OFW is to one day settle in a place (especially in our own country) where family is welcomed to stay together, without the burden of having to renew a ‘temporary residence visa’.
Keeping my fingers crossed!
image from google