Guest says he doesn't carry passport or OCI, but offers to bring copies

Hi folks,

A little while back I got a booking for a guest. I thought he was Indian, so didn’t ask him if he was an Indian citizen. (I’ve now changed things so that I ask whether someone is an Indian citizen in my initial response to a booking request.) Anyway, he said he’s a US citizen. So I wrote to him to say that he needs to show his passport and visa information as part of the Form C process. He responded with

I don’t carry my passport or OCI; can bring my copy of both if that Works

The OCI (Overseas Citizenship of India) is basically a lifetime Indian visa (unless the govt takes it away), typically for people of Indian descent/origin and their spouses/relatives. Despite the name, it does not confer citizenship.

So my question is whether I should make a fuss about this or not. Here’s my (unsent) reply. I wasn’t sure what tack I should take about this - Indian laws aren’t clear about this sort of thing. And I have no reason to think anything fishy is going on, but one never knows. I was able to find a Linkedin page in the name of the guest, and it checks out with what he said - he’s a banker. Not the most communicative person, but that doesn’t mean much either.

I could take a hard line and tell him that he needs to bring his documents if he wants to check in, but it is worth possibly creating a situation over this? One more data point - I’m actually (still) not sure if I need to submit Form C for OCI holders. I don’t have any definite officail information about that, one way or the other.

Unsent reply follows:

Hi xxx,

Why don’t you carry your passport or OCI? I thought that foreigners were legally required to carry passport and visa information when travelling, booking into hotels etc. I’d certainly prefer to see the originals. Apart from other considerations, the copies might be illegible or incomplete.

In any case, please send me your copies by email, so I can see how they look. Thanks.

He’s due to arrive on Monday 9th December.

ADDENDUM: It looks like OCI holders indeed do not need to fill in Form C, per

The relevant sections start at

  1. In the principal order, after paragraph 14, the following paragraphs shall be inserted, namely:-

and OCI is mentioned in

(9) The provisions in this paragraph shall not apply to, or in relation to, the persons registered as Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder under the Citizenship Act,1955.

I probably wouldn’t if it’s not necessary for him to provide it. But it does surprise me that someone would travel without ID these days.

As an immigrant I carry my passport at all times. Maybe that’s just me…

How often in India is ID needed on a daily basis? Here, I have to show ID just about everywhere I go (apart from shops etc.) for example, visiting a friend in hospital.

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Hi @jaquo,

You need ID for certain kinds of transactions. E.g. if you want a phone SIM. But it’s not required on an everyday basis. Though if the police stops you, and you don’t have ID, you could have a problem.

However, this person lives and works here - he’s not a tourist. It’s also possible he’s actually Indian and changed his nationality. It’s likely he has other ID, like a driving license or Aadhaar card.

An actual tourist would be well advised to keep their passport handy. Because they wouldn’t have other forms of Indian ID, and are relatively likely to be stopped or questioned by the police or similar.

This is a special case. See above.

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The question is if you have the right to ask for the original documents.

You are required to provide the information.
But I you do not need the original documents.

I know a lot of people that carry copies they “invalidated”. And where they removed sensitive data to avoid abuse (like social security numbers).

I can understand why he is refusing to show originals, and wants to avoid a stranger making illegal photocopies of it.
He is a banker and knows what can be done with a copy of official documents.

I’m not an immigrant and I carry my passport! :slight_smile: You never know when someone might want to get breakfast in Paris…

I wouldn’t make a fuss as the Form C isn’t required, but I would ask that he Airbnb message the copies to you and say that your insurance requires that you see original documents upon checkin.

Don’t ask why he doesn’t carry the originals - that only sounds confrontational. Just ask to see the copies and that your insurance requires you seeing the originals.

Bankers can be pretty arrogant. Don’t ask me how I know this. :wink:


Hi @Chris,

Generally speaking, I think people have a right to see the originals. Because there is a priori no way to make sure that a copy is correct/complete. But it’s debatable whether it’s worth making a big thing about it.

Hi @casailinglady,

Breakfast in Paris? From North America?

That’s an interesting approach - I hadn’t thought of that. Of course, if he wants to be really aggressive, he might ask to see the (non-existent) clause in my insurance contract…

Yes. I used to work with a man in NYC (bond trading floor) whose Friday night pickup line was "Let’s get breakfast in Paris. " He would book the Concorde (it was the '80s - excess ruled) and a hotel for the weekend (apparently they kept an open suite for him all the time). And no, I didn’t accept the invite - the “price” was too high!

So far he doesn’t sound aggressive, he sounds like a busy banker who wants to do things his way. If the Airbnb messaged pictures are clear, and you’re comfortable with that, great. If not, just say it’s a House Rule (and make it one!)

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OMG (sorry, I never say that…) but that’s why I started carrying my passport around with me in the days when English people still needed a passport to go to Paris. That exact thing happened to my sister - someone asked her to lunch with them in Paris but she didn’t have her passport with her.


The reason I insist on seeing original documents is because they can literally be anybody. I take a photo and that’s it. The main reason is crime. If something happens I am going to look negligent without at least having some kind of a record.

I’m guessing he is not going to send them if he even responds and he is not going to bring them to show you at check-in. Decide now if you will turn him away and if so let him know so he can cancel before check-in day where he can leave you a bad review.

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He can scan or take a pic it and send it encrypted to you. Then he can sms/whatsapp the code to view it. I have done this on several occasion for potential guests and it works just fine.

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Hi @Badabingbadabon,

Sure, encryption is always a good idea. But most people don’t seem to care about that, or don’t want the extra overhead. Or simply don’t know how to do this. Though one would hope that a banker would be comfortable with encryption.

What kind of encryption do you use/recommend?

And an update for anyone who is interested. He sent me scans (or possibly photos) of his passport and OCI card by email. He showed me a driving license on check-in. The driving license didn’t look much like him. The passport and driving license were better matches. But overall I didn’t think it worth making an issue about him bringing the passport and OCI cards.

Oh, and @casailinglady, I did ask him why he didn’t want to carry them, but his response wasn’t terribly clear. He wrote:

Ok. I will share my form C and OCI and passport copy. I don’t think passport and OCI is required around. It is a nuisance if it gets lost or torn, especially I travel several times as week. I carry my Driving license around.

Personally, I can relate. I don’t particularly like carrying ID around either. I’m always afraid it will get lost. Not damaged, so much.

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