According to a recent announcement by the Bureau of Immigration and Embassy of India in Washington D.C., a Person of Indian Origin (PIO) card (including handwritten PIO cards) along with valid foreign passport will be acceptable as a valid travel document until March 31st, 2020. Previously, the deadline to convert the PIO to Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card was September 30, 2019.
All travelers to India holding a PIO card and planning to travel in December for the holidays can be rest assured that the Indian Immigration Check Post(s) will continue to consider all PIO cards for exit from/entry into India till March 31, 2020.
While this deadline was announced to cater to the holiday season travelers, all PIO holders are still advised to convert their PIO cards to OCI cards well in time. If not done timely, travelers will have to apply for a Indian visa from an Indian Mission or Post before travel in the future.
How to Convert PIO Card to OCI Card?
- The fee for conversion of PIO card to OCI card is $100.
- The fees for issuance of fresh OCI cards will remain as $275.
- This is in addition to a nominal fee for CKGS consular services fee and a ICWF fee.
- Re-issuance of OCI is mandatory every time passport is renewed up to the age of 20 years, and once after completing 50 years of age.
- All OCI related procedures can be accomplished at the local Cox & King Global Services office.
Are you applying for an OCI Card?
Here is a list of required documents
Advantages of an OCI Card
This effort is to a good end. There are benefits to an OCI card –
- OCI card has a validity of a lifetime unlike the PIO which expires in 15 years;
- It allows multiple entries to India;
- The OCI card holder can stay in India indefinitely;
- OCI card is a smart card;
- Possession of an OCI card will facilitate quicker immigration clearance at Immigration Check Posts;
- It will help in obtaining various Consular Services from Indian Missions/Posts;
- For those who are resident in India, it will facilitate in availing various services in India like acquire an Aadhaar card, driver’s license, open bank accounts, invest, and earn their income like regular citizens.
- They don’t have to report to the FRO if their stay extends beyond 183 days in India.
Non-resident Indians were previously issued a Person of Indian Origin card as an alternate to a visa. This acted as an identifying travel document for Indian citizens who had taken up citizenship of another country and had origins in India or were simply abroad for over 183 days in a year for work or otherwise.
For information on how to apply for an OCI card in lieu of a PIO card before the deadline of March 31st, 2020, follow guidelines at OCI Card in lieu of PIO card.