A Relief to NRIs: Merging of PIO and OCI Card Schemes

A long-standing demand of the NRI Community in the USA

The Indian Government will be implementing a law, very soon, to merge the OCI and PIO Card schemes as per the announcement made by Indian Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi, on September, 28, 2014.

The PIO Card scheme, launched in 1999, issues PIO Cards to individuals who are either citizens or naturalized citizens of the US but are of Indian origin, through their parents. The OCI cards scheme, launched in 2005, provides OCI Cards to NRIs. These cards are practically visas that enable the card holders to enter India for an indefinite period, visa-free. Both cards are aimed at providing long-term residency rights to people of Indian origin.

How Does the Merging of OCI and PIO Help?

The merging of OCI and PIO schemes will simplify the rules for people of Indian origin. The merging of these two schemes will give PIO holders the same benefits enjoyed by OCI card holders. It will also benefit NRIs with a visa-free travel to India, right of residency, and right to participate in business and educational activities in India.

It will also resolve the issue of easy, hassle-free travel to the Indian Diaspora for PIO card holders, and as further announced, it will provide PIO Holders with life-long visas to visit India.

Benefits of Merging PIO & OCI Cards

  • The card holders will now be able to enter India with multiple entry, life-long multi-purpose visas.
  • They do not have to wait for 2 months to re-enter India and do not have to register if the stay is less than 180 days.
  • The card holders will have access to special immigration counters for speedy immigration clearance.
  • The card holders will be exempted from registration with local police authority for any length of stay in India.