The Person of Indian Origin Card (PIO CARD) was launched by the Government of India in 1999. The PIO card was intended to make it easier for foreign nationals of Indian origin to enter India with ease and avoid the process of applying for visas every time they wanted to visit. With effect from 15th September 2002, the Government of India has announced a new PIO Card Scheme.PIO Card holders are entitled to a number of benefits.
PIO Card Benefits
•No visa required for visiting India as long as a person has a valid PIO Card.•No separate “Student Visa” or “Employment Visa” required for admissions in Colleges/Institutions or for taking up employment respectively.•A PIO Card holder will be exempt from the requirement of registration if his stay on any single visit in India does not exceed 180 days.oIn the event of continuous stay in India of the PIO Card holder exceeding 180 days, PIO card holders will have to get themselves registered within 30 days of the expiry of 180 days with the concerned Foreigners Regional Registration Officer / Foreigners Registration Officer.•Parity with non-resident Indians in respect of facilities available to the latter in economic, financial and educational field.•Acquisition, holding, transfer and disposal of immovable properties in India except agricultural immovable properties in India accept agricultural/plantation properties.•Facilities available to children of NRIs for getting admission to educational institutions in India including medical colleges, engineering colleges, Institute of Technology, Institute of Management, etc. under the general categories.•Facilities available under the various housing scheme of LIC, State Government and other Government Agencies.•Special counters at the immigration check posts for speedy clearance.•Any future benefits that would be extended to NRIs would also be available to the PIO Card holders
Eligibility for PIO Card
Persons of Indian origin who hold foreign passports of a country other than Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan, China, Sri Lanka are eligible for PIO Card if:1.They had at any time before acquiring foreign citizenship held an Indian passport.2.She/he or either of his/her parents or grandparents or great grandparents was born in India or permanent resident in India provided neither was at any time a citizen of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan, China, Sri Lanka.3.She/he is a spouse of a citizen of India or a person of Indian origin covered under 1 & 2 above.You may be ineligible to apply for a PIO card if you, your spouse, parents, grandparents or great grandparents have ever held citizenship of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Iran, Nepal, Pakistan or Sri Lanka.
How to apply for PIO Card
An application for a new PIO card or to renew an existing PIO card that is expiring, application has to be made in the prescribed FORM. This form can be downloaded from the nearest Indian consulate servicing your area’s website. Those who wish to apply for a PIO Card from India, can download the form from http://mha.nic.in/
Documents required when applying for PIO Card from abroad
•Two sets of the form and one set of supporting documents have to be submitted when applying for PIO Card.•Proof of present citizenshipoThe copies of first two and last two pages of foreign passport should be enclosed. The original Passport, old foreign passport carrying valid Indian visa. The passports are later returned to the applicant. •Proof of Indian citizenshipoThe photocopies of first three and last two pages of Indian Passport should be enclosed. If Indian Passport is still valid, it should be sent for cancellation•Birth CertificateoIf applicant is born abroad, his/her birth certificate, wherein both parents’ names have been mentioned, should be provided. •Relationship proofo If parents/grand-parents origin is being claimed as basis for grant of PIO Card, following documents may be furnished:o(a) Copies of first three and last two pages of both parents’ Indian passports ORoCopies of their domicile certificates issued by the competent authorities (class one Gazetted officer in India)•Evidence of relationship with the applicant i.e.oIn case of Parents origin: birth certificate of applicant wherein names of parents have been mentioned should be submitted.oIn case of grand / great grand parents’ origin: birth certificate of applicant wherein names of parents have been mentioned; birth certificate of parents wherein their parents’ names have been mentioned should be submitted.•Proof of Residence:oAny two of the following i.e. copy of utility bill (phone bill /electricity bill) or Driving License or Lease Deed (of residence) etc. where your USA address in the USA is clearly mentioned should be provided. The copies should be duly notarized, if you are sending your application by mail.•Visa StatusoCopy of Permanent Resident Card (both sides) or Employment authorization card or copy of page showing H1 / H4, L1/L2, F1/F2, J1/J2 etc. visa should be enclosed in case of non-US citizens. The Indian passport holder parents who are applying PIO card for their kids, then also visa status proof is essential. If you have applied for visa extension, then such proof should be provided.•Address in IndiaoIf this different from the one in the Indian passport, please provide proof in r/o new address.•Copy of the Surrender certificate issued by the Government of India authoritiesoIf you do not have surrender certificate issued by the Indian Government authorities after seeking foreign nationality, then you need to do this for your PIO card application to be processed.
Documents required when applying for PIO Card in India
•Application of PIO Card can be downloaded from the website of the Ministry of Home Affairs. •Photocopy of the foreign passport presently held (Front page i.e. photo page and VISA page). Photocopy of the initial VISA, which has been registered with FRRO/FRO cum Superintendent of Police•Photocopy of all the pages of Registration certificate issued by the FRRO/FRO office•Four recent passport size photographs•Demand Draft/Pay Order in favor of FRRO, Delhi, for Rs. 15000/- in case of individuals above 18 years and Rs. 7500/- in the case of applicants below 18 years of age.oTwo photocopies of Demand Draft/Pay Order.•Proof of Indian OriginoPrevious Indian Passport ORoBirth Certificate and parents’/grandparents/great grand parents Indian passport ORoMarriage certificate and copy of spouse’s Indian passportAll documents are expected to be submitted in duplicate (take three just in case!) and the originals should be shown as proof.
PIO Card fee
Fee for adult PIO Card is currently US$ 365/- For minors the current fee is US$ 185/-For those who apply for a PIO card in India, the fee for adults is Rs.15,000 and for minors Rs. 75000
PIO or OCI
The PIO card was introduced long before OCI was announced. As it stands today get a PIO card does not make sense when OCI is a lifetime visa compared to 15 years for PIO card holders.
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