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The Difference between Overseas Citizen of India Card and Person of Indian Origin Card

If you’re a non-resident Indian looking to stay in India for a long period, it can be difficult to decide which visa option is best for you. One of the most popular options is the Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) and Person of Indian Origin (PIO) card. Both cards offer different advantages and disadvantages depending on your background and situation. In this blog post, we’ll compare OCI cards with PIO cards so that you can make an informed decision about which one will be best for you. We’ll discuss topics like eligibility, residency rights, and more so that you can make the right choice for your unique needs.


Compare OCI Card with PIO Card

The government of India has announced that it will withdraw the PIO Card scheme from January 1, 2020. This means that PIO cardholders would need to get new OCI cards after that date.

  • Person of Indian Origin (PIO) cardholders will no longer need to apply for separate visas to visit India, the government announced today, scrapping the scheme in January.

  • Person of Indian Origin (PIO) cardholders will no longer need to apply for separate visas to visit India, the government announced today, scrapping the scheme in January. The decision was taken after a review of existing rules and regulations that governs Visas under Section 5-D of the Rajiv Gandhi Tourism Act 1988.

  • The move comes after reports last year that several PIOs from other countries were being denied travel documents by Indian authorities due to their lack of an OCI Card. However, this only applies if you were traveling within India or had plans to do so in the future.


The OCI card is valid for 10 years and can be issued only once by MEA every three months after submission of Form 26A (Application for Overseas Citizenship of India) form along with all required documents including an original passport copy or a certified copy thereof attested by Indian embassy/consulate in charge of your place of residence or place where you intend to reside permanently during this period.


Persons who are already holding a valid PIO Card need not apply afresh as they can convert their existing PIO Cards into OCI Cards without any additional fee by filling up the prescribed conversion form.


If you have a valid PIO Card, you do not have to apply afresh. Instead, your existing PIO Card can be converted into OCI Card without any additional fee by filling up the prescribed conversion form.


OCI cardholders will be able to travel to India without a visa and stay in India for as long as they want.


In March this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that all persons of Indian origin with overseas citizenship will be given multiple entry life-long visas to travel to India, instead of the existing one-time entry facility.


The scheme was launched in 2005 and is currently open to all foreign nationals except Pakistani and Bangladeshi citizens who can get only a single passport. The scheme allows for multiple entry visas for life and also allows for a stay of up to six months per visit.


The government introduced the Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) scheme in February 2005 under which all foreign citizens except Pakistanis and Bangladeshi nationals are allowed to register themselves as OCIs if they have any of the three qualifications — they or their parents or grandparents were born in undivided India, or if they are a spouse of an Indian citizen or OCI holder; or if they are a person of Indian origin.


The government introduced the Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) scheme in February 2005 under which all foreign citizens except Pakistanis and Bangladeshi nationals are allowed to register themselves as OCIs if they have any of the three qualifications — they or their parents or grandparents were born in undivided India, or if they are a spouse of an Indian citizen or OCI holder; or if they are a person of Indian origin.


An individual who has been granted citizenship by an embassy/consulate abroad is eligible for applying for an OCI card with his/her biometric details, photograph, and signature on Form-15 along with Annexure E-1 showing the passport number issued by that country along with other documents required in support thereof.


As per Section 6(a)(ii) of The Passport Act 1967: “The Central Government may issue passports without fee only after obtaining approval from the concerned Ministry.”


The PIO card scheme has been withdrawn by the government of India. Thus, PIO Card holders would be required to obtain new OCI cards. Persons who are already holding a valid PIO Card need not apply afresh as they can convert their existing PIO Cards into OCI Cards without any additional fee by filling up the prescribed conversion form.