Person of Indian Origin - PIO Card       -     Eligibility   -    Documents Required

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. As of 30th Sept 2014, A PIO Card issued to an applicant shall be valid for lifetime from the date of issue provided that such applicant has a valid Foreign Passport. o PIO Cards issued before 30th September 2014 will now also be valid for lifetime. A PIO Card holder will be exempt from the requirement of registration with  the foreigner regional registration office (FRRO) even if their stay in India exceeds 180 days. No separate “Student Visa” or “Employment Visa” required for admissions in Colleges/Institutions or for taking up employment respectively. 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 citizenship o The 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 citizenship o The 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 Certificate o If applicant is born abroad, his/her birth certificate, wherein both parents’ names have been mentioned, should be provided.  Relationship proof o  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   OR o Copies of their domicile certificates issued by the competent authorities (class one Gazetted officer in India) Evidence of relationship with the applicant i.e. o In case of Parents origin: birth certificate of applicant wherein names of parents have been mentioned should be submitted. o In 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: o Any 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 Status o Copy 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 India o If this different from the one in the Indian passport, please provide proof in r/o new address. Copy of the Renunciation certificate issued by the Government of India authorities* o If 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.

*Who needs to provide Renunciation of Indian citizenship certificate

For PIO applicants, who have ever held an Indian Passport, it is mandatory to provide proof of Renunciation of Indian Citizenship along with your PIO application. Those who previously held an Indian Passport and have a ‘Cancelled on Acquisition of Foreign Citizenship’  stamp on the last Indian passport that you held, then they do not need to re-apply for a Renunciation Certificate.

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 or visit the Indian consulate website in your area for the link to the PIO application form and information about any outsourcing of services they may have. 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. o Two photocopies  of Demand Draft/Pay Order. Proof of Indian Origin o Previous Indian Passport OR o Birth Certificate and parents’/grandparents/great grand parents Indian passport OR o Marriage certificate and copy of spouse’s Indian passport All 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/-          PIO Endorsement on new passport US$ 20/- Re-Issue (Duplicate Card) US$100/- *The Outsourcing company used by Indian consulates to preform services may charge additions fee (Currently this is about $20)

PIO or OCI

The PIO card was introduced long before OCI was announced. While initially the validity of PIO card was 15 years it has now been extended to lifetime. There are also reports in the news media that OCI and PIO may be joined as one. The lifetime validity of PIO cards appears to be one such step and other benefits or changes may follow in the near future. Once information is available, it will be posted on this page.
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