OCI Visas/Sponsorship Declarations – INDIA.  Are You Eligible?

OCI Visas/Sponsorship Declarations – INDIA.  Are You Eligible?

If you have a significant connection with India but are not now a Citizen of India, read on.

Most countries in the world are happy that its citizens can hold dual nationality when appropriate. So if you are a citizen of USA and become naturalised as a British Citizen for example, you can hold both US and UK passports.

Other countries are not willing to allow this. India is one such – as are Austria, PR China, Japan and others. So, if an Indian Citizen becomes British, then Indian Citizenship is lost. Not because Britain objects, but because India objects,

Yet again, some countries make it a requirement upon granting citizenship that the previous nationality be abandoned. So if an Irish person becomes Spanish, then Irish citizenship is lost. In this case, not because Ireland objects, but because Spain objects.

It’s complicated.

But, this Blog focusses on India: – where there has been a lot of unhappiness over the years about the consequences of the loss of Indian Citizenship when, in particular, US or UK or Canadian Citizenship has been acquired. There are large numbers of people who have lost Indian Citizenship, but who still have significant connection with India and want to travel there regularly. This, coupled with the fact that it can be a very long-winded and expensive palaver to apply for and obtain a Visa to travel to India, and for a Visa which then expires and has to be applied for all over again next year.

So since 2006, the OVERSEAS CITIZENSHIP OF INDIA (OCI) scheme has been created. There are many advantages for an eligible OCI holder – the main one, is that it is a lifetime travel/residence visa.

We see many Indian clients who wish to apply for an OCI Visa.  I have set out below some information which may assist you if you are thinking of applying for an OCI card.

What is OCI?

OCI – Overseas Citizenship of India.  It is a card which enables the holder to be able to travel and stay in India as many times as required.

Eligibility

  • was a citizen of India on 26 January 1950 or at any time thereafter; or
  • belonged to a territory that became part of India after 15 August 1947; or
  • was eligible to become a citizen of India on 26 January 1950; or
  • is a child or a grandchild or a great grandchild of such a citizen; or
  • is a minor child of such persons mentioned above; or
  • is a minor child and whose both parents are citizens of India or one of the parents is a citizen of India; or
  • is a spouse of foreign origin of a citizen of India or spouse of foreign origin of an Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder registered under section 7A of the Citizenship Act, 1955 and whose marriage has been registered and subsisted for a continuous period of not less than two years immediately preceding the presentation of the application

There are full details LINK HERE on the Indian government website and a link to an on-line application facility LINK HERE.

My involvement in all this as a Notary is that the Applicant for OCI who has acquired UK Citizenship by Registration or Naturalisation, is usually expected to submit their cancelled last Indian passport as part of the OCI application.

Typically, the passport is not available. It may have been lost at home, or retained by the Home Office in Croydon and lost, or surrendered by the Home Office to the Indian High Commission and lost. In that case, the Indian Authority will require a Notarised Affidavit to be prepared, explaining the circumstances of the loss of the passport.

So if you require an OCI card and need an adviser who can assist then please do get in touch – we can help you find the right direction and of course we can prepare any supporting Affidavits that may be required.

And, as always, please remember whenever you have documents to Notarise to use abroad, you can contact me or Louise here at AtkinsonNotary E7 Joseph’s Well Leeds LS3 1AB, phone 0113 8160116 and email notary@atkinsonnotary.com or via the website http://www.atkinsonnotary.com

 

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Signatures. Fraud. Passports. Notarial Musings

Signatures. Fraud. Passports. Notarial Musings.

I think we can all agree that if everyone in the world were honest, there would be no need for the Notarial profession. Or any Lawyers, probably.

In that Utopia, every signature would be unforged and every contract genuine, and accepted by the signatories as genuine for ever after.

In the world we actually inhabit, not so much.

So we need Notaries, to witness the making of signatures. To be able to give evidence afterwards, of what took place, and who signed what. To check that the signer is not trembling with fear, in the presence of third parties making threats. To check that the signer is in their right mind, is old enough, and so on.

So the starting point is, that unwitnessed signatures are unreliable.

After all, with a bit of practice, I could make a mark which would look just like your signature. And you could write mine. And so on. Indeed, one of the first lessons a handwriting expert will teach, is that an honest person never makes two signatures exactly the same.

OK, we all agree then, signatures unwitnessed, – not much use.

When you next renew or obtain a British Passport, you will find that it no longer contains a print of the signature you made when you applied for it.

The thinking behind this – shall I say, the “thinking” behind this – is explained on the Government website as “an essential development for improving HM Passport Office’s online application service, by removing the need for customers [yes that’s right, customers. George Orwell might as well never have happened] to send signed paper forms and printed photographs when they apply for passports”.

Ok, so I have just looked online to see how to get a passport on line. The steps are – fill in the application, pay by card, then PRINT a Declaration form and SIGN it and post it off. By snail, just like Granddad used to.

So the removal of the need to send signed paper is not actually a thing. Perhaps the intention is that one day it will be.

I still don’t get it though, do you? If we are computer literate enough to apply online, then presumably we know how to upload a photo of our faces? And possibly the best of us can figure out how to upload a photo of our signatures. So that means the Passport office will still have a digital version of a signature which it could attach to the new passport, just like last year?

Am I being slow? Please enlighten me.

So anyway, now we have our new passport, there is no signature on it and we need to sign it.

I am presented with passports several times a day, because whenever I notarise for you, I need to be satisfied of your identity, best proven by your passport.

Guess what? None of the new passports I have been shown, have been signed by the Holder.

I also notice that when I am paid by credit cards, mostly they have not been signed either. People don’t bother, by and large. The signature card was vulnerable to forgery [see above!] so we use PINs instead.

So when I am given an unsigned passport, I suggest to my client that they should sign the passport, because that’s what the Gov. site says, – Link Here.

What I have failed to find out, is why? Why must there be a signature on a passport? What does it prove? Especially when, if you are a child, or have suffered a stroke, you are excused signing. But children and patients can still have a passport. You are still “You”, and you can still travel.

And of course, this change has opened a new category of fuss and nonsense.

Travel chat rooms are full of worried folk who signed in the “wrong place”.

Or, “The website says, use black-ink ball point pen. I have used blue ink. Can I still travel?”

And one further question to address is, what is a signature anyway?

American passports are also issued unsigned, and with a guidance that you should “sign your full name”.

That is an oxymoron if your signature is just an initial then an amorphous squiggle. Because if you follow the advice and sign, it’s not your full name. And if you follow the advice and write your full name then it’s not your signature, or at any rate not your usual signature.

And the USA guidance is, do NOT use a ball point pen. Which on one hand is sensible, because ballpoint ink is more easily removed than black fountain pen or gel ink. But, on the other hand blue fountain pen ink is usually washable!

Out in the real world, away from silly rules, people are using unsigned passports and travelling from country to country. Usually the border officials don’t notice. When they do, they suggest that you sign your passport when convenient, and wave you through the gate.

So what is it actually for, this signature, once we can identify who needs to make one and who is exempt and what a signature even is, full name or squiggle, what colour and what kind of ink?

If you work at the Passport office, get in touch and give us a clue.

But one new pitfall arising is that the beloved Foreign and Commonwealth Office has decided that a certified copy of a passport cannot be stamped with an Apostille, if the original passport is unsigned. Because that would be – what? Illegal? Again, why?

But if you are a bureaucrat, faced with one more reason to refuse to issue your stamp – well you wouldn’t say no. Link here

For advice on all of these matters and for all the usual foreign dealings too, – as always – you can contact me or Louise here at AtkinsonNotary E7 Joseph’s Well Leeds LS3 1AB, phone 0113 8160116 and email notary@atkinsonnotary.com or via the website http://www.atkinsonnotary.com

Notarised Consents to travel – An Update from Louise Morley At AtkinsonNotary Limited

Notarised Consents to travel – An Update from Louise Morley

We have written many blogs in relation to Consents to travel – see earlier blog links here:

https://atkinsonnotarypublic.wordpress.com/2016/12/14/ruined-holidays-abroad-children-crying-thousands-of-pounds-wasted-dont-let-it-happen-to-you/

and

https://atkinsonnotarypublic.wordpress.com/2016/01/12/its-cold-here-in-yorkshire-travel-with-the-kids-take-paperwork/

As mentioned previously South Africa has been the forefront of requesting such consents – and if a child is to travel with only one or no parents then they will not be able to travel to South Africa without having such a consent notarised.

It seems more and more countries are now following suit – airlines are now checking that before they even let you on a plane that the necessary consent(s) are in place.

I really wanted to remind all our contacts and client that it is almost certain that if you have a child who is wishing to travel without one or both parents then a consent must be provided

We deal with many of these consents on a weekly basis and can prepare the necessary paperwork that is required.

Some countries have their own specific template of what the consent should say – if in doubt then please speak with me or the Notary and we can advise accordingly.

The appointment would be relatively short – the consenting parent or parents would need to bring to the appointment their passports and a proof of address for each signatory. We would also need to see the long-form Birth Certificate of the child [this is the certificate that states the parents’ details].

The same information above applies for any guardian(s) of a child – the only additional piece of information we would need to see is a Court Order confirming the authority of the guardian.

I get asked many times by clients whether a consent would be required and whether this has to be notarised – my advice is every time YES YES YES – you do not want to get to the airport to be turned away by the airline or the Border guards. This would be awful for all parties concerned – all the planning and preparation and expense wasted in an instant.

I  would imagine at this stage that to try and see a Notary – perhaps in the night-time as well – would be near impossible – there are not many Notary Publics in the country, I think at the last count there are approximately 800 in England and Wales – however most of this 800 are located in the South of England so one would imagine that you would be highly unlikely to be able to meet a Notary in this emergency – and remember airlines usually give travellers around 2 hours between booking in and flights to depart. The airport will not allow for a consent to be written by the parent and signed without this being done before a Notary Public.

Well what is it that the Notary does, you may ask? A Notary is a legal officer who is authorised to assist in paperwork for use in many countries of the world – what the Notary is warranting to the foreign jurisdiction is that he/she has checked the consenting parent(s) identification, Birth Certificates and keeps a full record of all documentation seen.

It is the international process that any documentation for use overseas usually needs to be put before a Notary in the first instance.

Every day we hearing more horror stories of travellers being denied travel due to the fact that no consent has been dealt with.

Do not fall victim – we have the consents, we can help, we can make it easy and straightforward and more to the point hassle-free and giving you peace of mind.

Please do contact me louise@atkinsonnotary.com if you would like to arrange an appointment to deal with a travel consent. Website is http://www.atkinsonnotary.com and to phone me it’s 01138160116

Delegates. Usually, They Can’t Delegate. Not Always Convenient!

Delegates. Usually, They Can’t Delegate. Not Always Convenient!

As a Notary, I am consulted on a daily basis by people who have dealings in foreign countries, and wish to complete the necessary documentation here in England.

This is what I am for – to facilitate foreign dealings, by persons who cannot conveniently find the time or funds necessary to travel abroad to deal with those matters in person.

In most cases, the foreign jurisdiction issues a Power of Attorney to be signed in my presence. This is a mechanism which then enables your foreign lawyer to sign, in YOUR name, all of the foreign contracts, transfers, registrations, tax papers etc. which are necessary to achieve what you want.

So for the case of an adult person who is mentally and physically able to conduct their own business, the choice is between coming here to Leeds, and executing a Power of Attorney with me, or travelling to Spain, or Ulaanbaatar or wherever, in order to sign the papers there.

Which may take minutes, or weeks. Of your precious time.

So, the notarisation process is ideal to save time, for those who cannot travel for reasons of cost or pressure of work.

But what about those who simply cannot travel, or who could not deal with their own affairs even if they did travel? The Notary system would seem to be ideal for persons under disability. And in particular those with mental disability or legal incapacity.

Two classes of people in that category, are – first – children. They lack capacity under the Laws of England and Wales because of their minority. And second, persons who are adult but lack capacity because of mental impairment.

In the case of the adult under disability, the hope is that an Attorney has been appointed with either an Enduring or a Lasting Power of Attorney, documents which may have been executed by the Adult at a time before the loss of mental capacity.

If not, a suitable adult can apply to the “Court of Protection” – otherwise called the “Guardianship Office” Link here, – to be appointed by the Court as a Receiver or “Deputy”.

In the case of a child, a parent can often invoke the terms of The Children’s Act 1989 Link here.

So in England and Wales, there we are, an adult can represent the person who cannot represent him/herself.

So that’s that then? If someone has property abroad, and needs to sell it because the tragedy of dementia now means that there will be no more possibility to enjoy owning it, then the Attorney/Deputy of the Patient can come to see me in Leeds and sign the foreign Power of Attorney in the name of the Patient? That is what the Patient could do if they had capacity, after all.

And if some foreign Uncle or relative of a child might die and leave a Spanish mansion to his three year old nephew, then a parent can represent the child, because of The Children’s Act, s. 3, and sign the foreign Power of Attorney with me, to enable the asset to be transferred into the child’s name and then sold, Right?

Guess what? No. And No again.

The continuing Power of Attorney [whether “Lasting” or “Enduring”] or the direct appointment of a Deputy by the Guardianship office, does NOT include power for the Deputy to grant a new Power of Attorney to anyone else.

The legal reasoning is, that Fred the patient, or the Court itself, has appointed a suitable person “P” to act for Fred. The giver of the Power has thought long and hard and decided that P is the sort of reliable chap or lady who can be trusted to do the job properly and conscientiously.

They have not, in other words, given that power to P just so that P can hand over that Power to a foreign lawyer that Fred or the Court has never heard of, to sign deeds and documents for Fred abroad.

So, whilst P can travel abroad and do the foreign job, he cannot appoint a foreign lawyer as Attorney to be Fred’s representative to do the job instead.

And in the case of a parent, s3 of the Children Act does give power to a parent to represent the child in many ways, but it is limited. There is no power for the parent to sell the child’s property. So there can be no valid grant of a power of Attorney by a parent, to enable a foreign lawyer to sell a child’s inherited foreign property.

The obvious thing, is for the Attorney to go ahead and grant the foreign Power of Attorney – a pragmatic decision to do “what is best”. The chances are that if s/he does, all will be well. But the risks are that something will go wrong, and if it does, or if your child sues you later on reaching 18 years and legal majority, for selling something in 2017 which ten years later is worth ten times as much, you are very much on your own!

By which I mean – Personally liable, for taking an action which you had no right to take, however worthy your motives.

Which I think is a shame, but in these circumstances there may be no legal alternative than to make an expensive and slow Court application, for a Parent or Attorney who wants to do the right thing and do it legally.

The Law eh? No doubt from the best of intentions, the protections it provides can sometimes turn into straitjackets.

Music – link here

For advice on all of these matters and for all the more straightforward foreign dealings too, – as always – you can contact me or Louise here at AtkinsonNotary E7 Joseph’s Well Leeds LS3 1AB, phone 0113 8160116 and email notary@atkinsonnotary.com or via the website www.atkinsonnotary.com