India – PIO Cardholders Are Advised to Register as an OCI Cardholder

What has changed

The Ministry of Home Affairs announced on July 16, 2015 that all persons having valid Person of Indian Origin (PIO) cards as of January 9, 2015 are advised to apply for registration as Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) cardholders in lieu of the PIO card.

This change is further to our eAlert from January 21, 2015, when authorities announced the withdrawal of Person of Indian Origin (PIO) card scheme and the merger of PIO card with the (OCI) card. As a result of this merger, the PIO card holders are deemed to be OCI card holders with lifelong validity. However, there are some advantages that apply only to OCI cardholders.

Who is affected?
What to expect

  • Person of Indian Origin (PIO) card holders

As indicated, the PIO cardholders holding valid PIO cards as on January 9, 2015 are deemed to be OCI cardholder and as such are allowed to travel into India either on PIO or OCI cards. However, PIO card holders are advised to apply for registration as OCI cardholder to benefit from the following advantages of possessing an OCI card:

  • OCI card is a smart card
  • Possession of an OCI card will facilitate quicker immigration clearance at the Immigration Check Posts
  • It will help in obtaining various Consular Services from the Indian Missions
  • For those who are resident in India, it will facilitate in availing various services in India.

Applicants can register from anywhere by submitting an application online. The OCI card will then be issued by the Indian Mission/ Post/ FRRO assigned to the jurisdiction of the applicant’s place of residence. The applicant will have to approach the Indian Mission/Post/FRRO concerned only for collecting the OCI Card by surrendering the PIO card.The grant of the OCI card in lieu of the PIO card will be free of charge.

The application deadline for online registration as OCI cardholder in lieu of the PIO card has been extended until March 31, 2016. This deadline only applies  to applications submitted online.

What you need to do
Planning ahead

  • Emigra Worldwide can assist with completing and submitting the application online as required.
  • Contact your Emigra Worldwide attorney or representative for further details on how these updates may impact you or your client.

The information above was provided by Emigra Worldwide, our global network partners, and relevant government authorities. The information herein is for general purposes only and not intended as advice for a particular matter. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the global immigration professional with whom you work.

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