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What is a pio card?
It is known as the People of Indian Origin Card, that provides various advantages including a visa free entry to Indian origin people living abroad & give them almost all the rights enjoyed by Non-Resident Indians.







The Indian Government announced in September 2002  the launch of Person of India Origin Card that allows visa free entry in India for Indian origin people living across the world. It also promises to give almost all the rights that are enjoyed by Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) including the purchase of non-agricultural land. 15 million people of Indian origin living abroad will benefit from the Card.

Fee for a PIO Card is USD $ 365.00 for an adult & for a child below the age of 18 years its USD $ 185.00.

Validity: 15 years from the date of issue.

However, a PIO Card is not granted/issued to people of Indian origin living in countries like: Pakistan and Bangladesh. Secondly, it does not give any voting rights to the holders of this Card. Its eligible for Indians living abroad who hold a foreign passport till the fourth generation.

The Card holder would be exempt from registration if his stay in India does not exceed more than 180 days. If the stay exceeds 180 days, the Card holder will have to register within 30 days of the expiry of 180 days with the Foreigners Registration Officer.

Also a PIO Card holder can get his children admitted in educational institution in India using the NRI category. Besides these are are many several benefits. Once applied you can check the status of your PIO card application online as well.


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How to get OCI or a PIO card - and which is better/comparison.!!

Indians living abroad are usually in confusion about which card to get, the PIO, or the People of Indian Origin or the OCI, the Overseas Citizenship of India. Many of them who have also acquired foreign citizenship are not sure if they are eligible, and if they are, which one should they apply for. Foreign citizens of Indian origin can apply, but there are eligibility requirements and different costs and processes for each of them.  

Who can apply for a PIO and OCI card

Unless you know the differentiation between the two, you won’t be able to avail the best of the opportunities. Primarily, if you are born and live in India, you are considered an Indian citizen if you haven’t as yet taken up citizenship of another country. 

As a resident of a foreign country, an Indian is considered an NRI or a non resident Indian. If you become a green card holder of the US or acquire citizenship of any other country, you are technically a PIO and you can apply for a PIO card which provides you with the privilege if entering India.

Getting an OCI card means you technically become an overseas citizen of India. As a NRI, there is no need for you to bother about an OCI or a PIO. If you want to visit India, you can do so any number of times without any hassle, but if your child is born elsewhere, he or she will be automatically granted citizenship of that country. In technical terms your child will become a PIO or person of Indian origin. You may not be required to apply for a visa every time you enter India, but your child will need one.

Eligibility and differences

If both you and your spouse are non resident Indians, your child is not eligible to get an OCI card. But if you or your spouse becomes a person of Indian origin, or PIO, your child will also automatically qualify as a PIO. According to the present requirements and rules, children born to Indian parents in a foreign country cannot apply for an OCI card. If you take up citizenship of a foreign country, you have two options. You can either apply for a PIO or an OCI card and your child born in a foreign country will also be eligible for one.

To obtain an OCI card, you have to have dual citizenship. India does not allow at the moment but unless the foreign country you stay in allows, you will not be able to get an OCI card. To get an OCI card, you must not have been resident of Pakistan or Bangladesh at any point of time. And for a PIO card, you must not have been resident of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, Nepal or Sri Lanka at any point of time.

To get a PIO card, you will have to apply manually after downloading the form, while for the OCI you can complete the formalities online.

PIO card takes 2 to 4 weeks for processing and the OCI takes a couple of months. PIO card is offered for free to eminent persons of Indian origin, but the OCI card does not come for free. The snapshot you attach for the PIO can have a light or white background while the OCI requires a light but absolutely non white background.

The validity of PIO card is 15 or 20 years in some cases, but for the OCI, validity is for your entire life. PIO card holders have to report to police if they overstay beyond 180 days, but no such condition applies to OCI holders.

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