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Indian-Americans Stranded at JFK Airport for Not Carrying Old Cancelled Passports

The passengers were allowed to board Air India only after Consul General inf New York Sandeep Chakravorty wrote an email to Air India at JFK Airport

NEW YORK, NY- At least 16 Indian Americans with valid OCI cards headed to New Delhi from the United States experienced some anxious moments at the John F Kennedy airport on Dec. 22 as the national carrier Air India was unable to process their boarding passes since they were not carrying their old cancelled passports, officials said.

As per the new temporary rules, which they were unaware of, these passengers were required to carry their old cancelled passport whose number is mentioned in their Overseas Citizens of India card.

Under the provisions of the OCI card, which gives the cardholder lifelong visa to India, those below 20 years and above 50 years need to renew their OCI card every time they have their passport renewed.

Early this month, the provision has been relaxed till June 30, 2020, but the OCI cardholders concerned have been asked to carry their old passports with them to fly to India.

However, not many OCI cardholders are aware of these new rules, officials said.

While all of these Indian American passengers were carrying a valid OCI card, they did not have along with them their old passports.

With less than 30 minutes for the Air India counter at the JFK airport to close down, these 16 passengers through Milliendrid Thivalapali, an Air India employee, reached out to Prem Bhandari, an Indian American community activist and also the head of Jaipur Foot USA since he has been active in the area.

“All these 16 Indian Americans would have been stranded at the airport and would have been forced to go back home or rebook their tickets at an additional expense, but for the high-level interventions by Indian Ambassador to the U.S. Harsh Vardhan Shringla, Consul General in New York Sandeep Chakravorty and Air India (North America) head Kamal Roul,” said Bhandari.

The passengers were allowed to board Air India only after Chakravorty wrote an email to Air India at JFK Airport, minutes before it was scheduled to take off, as per report.

Bhandari said that following the email all 16 passengers were allowed to board the flight.

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