Early last year, the PIO & OCI merger became effective, doing away with the Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) card scheme. Since the merger, PIO cardholders have been encouraged to replace their PIO cards with OCI cards by applying for OCI in lieu of PIO card.
If you have not yet applied for an OCI in lieu of PIO card, the deadline to apply is June 30, 2016. This means that June 30, 2016 is the last day you may apply for an OCI in lieu of PIO card. Following the deadline, PIO cards will no longer be valid for travel to India.
PIO cardholders who have still not yet applied for their OCI card are advised to do so as soon as possible, especially if traveling to India in the near future, as OCI card processing could take up to two months.
Traveling to India Before Having Received OCI Card
If you applied for an OCI in lieu of PIO card and have still not yet received the OCI card, you may still travel to India as long as you are carrying:
- Valid foreign passport;
- Valid PIO card; and
- CKGS receipt as proof of application for OCI card in lieu of PIO card.
Benefits of OCI Card
The PIO OCI merger was implemented to maximize benefits and simplify immigration procedures for NRIs visiting India. PIO cardholders are encouraged to apply for a PIO card for many reasons, some of which include:
- Life-long validity for visiting India.
- Exception from requirement of reporting to police authorities for any length of stay in India.
- Equality with NRIs regarding financial, economic, and educational field prohibiting agricultural or plantation purchases.
Applying for OCI in Lieu of PIO Card
Read more on OCI in Lieu of PIO Card, including step-by-step instructions for applying for an OCI card to replace your PIO card.
Visit the CKGS website to get started on your OCI card application.