How to apply for OCI card for new born in USA by post - CKGS global services

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I had to go through the OCI application process for my recently born daughter in October. Thought of sharing my application process so that it would help folks who also would be in same situation. Also when I applied for OCI , I had to search in the web so much for every question I had through the process and Cox & Kings Global services site  who is the intermediary and India Passport OCI site did not have all the minor details in which I was stuck. They do cover the high level documentation process but do not cover some minor details.  In this post I will summarize the steps I went through to get my daughters OCI (Overseas citizen of India) card in less than 60 days.

Before you read the remaining : Let me re-iterate, this is application process explained below is applicable only for new-born who has an Indian origin through his/her parents or grand-parents. I was on a work visa in USA when my daughter was born here few months back.  If you are a naturalized US citizen and applying for OCI,  refer Cox & Kings Global services site and it has enough details and it is not as confusing. 

Cox & Kings Global services , an intermediary service provider, who would be facilitating you in the process of the OCI application. You never write directly to the Indian consulate in USA or to the Ministry of overseas affairs in New Delhi. Indian government has outsourced the service of facilitating Indian Visa and OCI application in other countries (especially in USA) to CKSGS.  If you are applying for OCI when you are in India  you may not reach out to CKGS.  This is a two stage process.

Step 1 : Visit  Cox & Kings Global services site to ensure they are the service providers still when you are reading this. ( I have seen BLS and CKGS fighting for these services most of the time). Check the latest process mentioned in the OCI page for new born. They keep revising this almost every couple of months. The current process as per the site, involves the following.

Step 2 :
  • Fill the online application in Government of India site. Select New OCI Registration.
  • On selecting New OCI registration the form has popup makes it very clear it is mandatory to upload Applicant's image and Applicant's signature image during OCI-Registration. 
  • This is where confusion No.1 starts. For a new born where is the signature. So do not worry, it is thumb print image you have upload. That is what I did, which came in the OCI card as well later.  I had put the thumb print of my new born in a white sheet and scanned that image.
  • You can also take a good quality photo of that thumb print with your phone. Now you would need to resize this thumb print to 1:3 aspect ratio. You can use this online tool resize it to get your scanned image to the aspect ratio of 1:3. Select the height as 200px and width as 600px in the resize tool. You should be able to download a cropped and 1:3 aspect ratio image with size restriction of 200KB.
  • For the passport photo you should not have a problem with aspect ratio as it is 1:1 and you could use the same resize tool. White background for passport photo in OCI application is allowed now, since that is the international passport standard and OCI application is complying with it. It is a 2in x 2in photo on a white background with the new born face clearly seen. I had use the services of Costco to take the photo of my new born. We had placed her on a white sheet and clicked it from the top. You might need to hold their head under the white sheet so that they don't move their head while taking photo. There is point in CKGS saying you cannot have same photo as passport photo, this is not possible for new borns. This is given mostly for folks who are applying for OCI after renunciation. In our case, we were applying for OCI immediately after US passport. Refer the specification of photos here
  • Once you have both the images in .jpeg format with less than 200KB size, you can start the fresh application form filling . You would need the USA passport details of the new born as well. 
  • In the OCI registration Part A form everything is clear, may be one box you might struggle is "Visible Marks". For new born I filled as none, which is perfectly ok, as I could not find any in our new born daughter. For address details, you can fill your current US address and it is not mandatory to fill native address or Aadhar card number for new born.
  • Once you submit Part A, you are asked to upload the passport photo and thumb impression. After uploading, you can fill the Part B , which is fairly simple. Enter details of family members living in India , in our case I had filled the details of maternal & paternal grandparents living in India.
  • Now you would need to upload documents, passport scanned copy of new born, and proof of Indian origin I had uploaded the scanned copies of the birth certificate of parents.
  • Then you would get a final application form with a barcode (which is the unique number throughout) which need to be printed and you would stick a physical photo in it.
Step 3:
  • Preparing documents copy to send to CKGS.  Use this check list from this page. Originals are not needed, I had sent all the photo copies attested by me and my wife on behalf of our daughter. We attached copies of our Passport, birth certificate (Daughter & parents), and our marriage certificate copy, parent authorization form, our visa copies ( since we were on visa), license copy as proof of address and the checklist of the documents. For notary, we visited our bank First Tech who provides free notary services for members.
  • After collecting the documents and application form printout, you would need to pay the fee to CKGS.
    • There are 2 options , you can pay online the CKGS fee + OCI fee + return Courier fee ( when they would send the OCI back). The online form may fail if you just paid the OCI+CKGS fee of ~300 dollars and missed selecting courier option in the beginning. It kept on throwing error as "duplicate details". You cannot send prepaid envelope to CKGS to send your OCI back as well. So the best option I took was attached a 15 dollar cashier's check / money order along with the documents. CKGS once received documents, immediately sent a receipt for the 15 dollars courier fee I had enclosed.
    • So if you take the route of money order or cashier's check it is simple, you check the total fee in CKGS Site. As per the site, here is the latest update for money order
Payment can be made by Credit Card / Debit Card or by Money Order / Cashier’s Check / Bankers Check in the name of ‘Cox & Kings Global Services USA LLC.Please print the name, do not hand-write it on Money Order.If submitting by Money Order/ Bankers or Cashier’s Check, kindly mention the Tracking Number / Web Reference number at the back of the Money Order/ Bankers or Cashier’s Check.
Step 4 :
  • Send all documents visa FedEx / USPS, I chose FedEx. You can also buy the FedEx courier option in CKGS, but that is confusing and prefer sending directly through a courier service.
Step 5:
  • Now it is tracking & waiting time. Here is the time estimate it took for my daughters application in SanFransico India mission. Below is the tracking info you would find in GOI site. You also have  tracking in CKGS site, which provides processing status updates outside of Indian consulate.
  • CKGS was prompt in providing updates regularly from the time sent my application till I got the OCI back. You can track your application status in CKGS site from the time CKGS receives your application till  it is submitted to Indian Consulate. After that you would need to track the status in the passport.gov site about your application. The bottleneck in this process is once the application is sent to MOIA India, it takes about 40 days to get any update. This is the longest time. Once OCI is sent back to Indian consulate, they would intimate the CKGS to request passport for matchup. Here on you would again get regular updates from CKGS.
Step 6:
  • This is match up process, when CKGS requests for passport, you would need to send by courier (FedEX / USPS) them the email you receive from CKGS requesting matchup, original passport of new born, and CKGS OCI matchup form applicable to consulate of your jurisdiction (in our case it was San Francisco), return courier payment receipt (the 15 dollars you paid for OCI return courier services)
  • CKGS provides regular updates once they receive and submit to Indian consulate for matchup. Once OCI is matched, it is sent to CKGS for mailing to us.

I sent the initial application and documents to CKGS on November 28th and received back the OCI After match up on 27th January. So it took ~60 days turnaround time.  The biggest problem I faced when applying was the CKGS payment which was not working fine. But if you chose money order/ cashier's check it would be smooth as well. CKGS has been working so much in the last few months in improving their site, and I have seen a drastic change in their website since I applied in November. 
Hope this was useful for you. If you had some other good info, please leave in the comments, that might help other folks who are also going through this long and tedious process of OCI application for their new born kids.