Person of Indian Origin (PIO) Card Application Form for India

1. What is a PIO card?

A PIO card, or Person of Indian Origin card, is a form of identification issued to foreign nationals of Indian origin. It serves as a lifelong visa to visit India without the need for a separate visa. The PIO card provides certain benefits, such as easier travel to India, the ability to purchase property, and the right to open bank accounts in India. It also entitles the holder to engage in business activities and work in India without the need for a work visa. However, it is important to note that as of 2015, the PIO card has been merged with the Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card scheme, providing similar benefits with additional privileges.

2. Who is eligible to apply for a PIO card?

Individuals who are of Indian origin or whose parents or grandparents were born in India are eligible to apply for a PIO card. This includes individuals who hold citizenship of another country but can trace their ancestry back to India. Additionally, individuals who have held Indian citizenship in the past or are the spouse of a citizen of India or a PIO cardholder are also eligible to apply for a PIO card. It is important to note that eligibility criteria may vary, so it is recommended to check the specific guidelines provided by the Indian government at the time of application.

3. What is the difference between a PIO card and an OCI card?

1. The PIO (Person of Indian Origin) Card and the OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) Card are both issued by the Indian government to individuals of Indian origin living abroad. However, there are some key differences between the two:
2. PIO Card:
– The PIO Card was introduced in 2002 and was meant for foreign nationals of Indian origin up to the fourth generation.
– The PIO Card allowed visa-free travel to India, but did not confer citizenship or any voting rights.
– It required renewal every 15 years.
3. OCI Card:
– The OCI card was introduced in 2005 to replace the PIO card.
– The OCI card provides lifelong visa-free travel to India for individuals of Indian origin regardless of the generation.
– It also grants certain rights similar to Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) in terms of property ownership and financial transactions.
– The OCI card does not grant voting rights or the ability to hold certain government positions.
Overall, while both cards cater to the Indian diaspora, the OCI card offers more benefits and rights compared to the PIO card, making it a more favorable option for many individuals of Indian origin living abroad.

4. What are the benefits of having a PIO card?

Having a PIO card comes with several benefits, including:

1. Visa-free travel: PIO cardholders are granted visa-free entry into India for the duration of the card’s validity, which is typically 15 years.

2. OCI-like privileges: PIO cardholders enjoy many of the same benefits as Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders, such as the ability to buy property in India, open bank accounts, and work or study in the country.

3. Simplified processes: PIO cardholders have easier access to various services in India, such as obtaining a PAN card or a driver’s license.

4. Connection to Indian heritage: The PIO card symbolizes a strong connection to India and can help individuals maintain ties with their cultural roots and heritage.

5. How can I obtain a PIO card application form?

To obtain a Person of Indian Origin (PIO) card application form, you can follow these steps:

1. Visit the website of the Indian Government’s Bureau of Immigration or the Indian consulate or embassy in your country. Most of these websites have a dedicated section for PIO card services where you can download the application form.
2. You can also visit the local Indian embassy or consulate in person to collect a physical copy of the application form.
3. Contact the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs or the Indian Ministry of External Affairs for guidance on obtaining the PIO card application form if you are facing difficulties in accessing it through the regular channels.
4. Ensure that you fill out the application form accurately and provide all the required supporting documents before submitting it to the relevant authorities.

By following these steps, you should be able to easily obtain the PIO card application form and proceed with the application process.

6. What are the documents required to submit along with the PIO card application form?

When applying for a PIO Card in India, there are several documents that need to be submitted along with the application form. These typically include:

1. Proof of Indian Origin: This can be a copy of the applicant’s Indian passport, birth certificate, or any other document that proves their Indian origin.

2. Proof of Renunciation: If the applicant was a citizen of India and has renounced their Indian citizenship, they would need to provide a Renunciation Certificate.

3. Address Proof: A document such as a utility bill, Aadhaar card, or rental agreement that proves the applicant’s current address.

4. Copy of Current Passport: A clear photocopy of the applicant’s current passport, showing all personal details and validity.

5. Photographs: Recent passport-sized photographs of the applicant, as per the specifications mentioned in the application form.

6. Fee Payment: The prescribed fee for the PIO Card application must be submitted along with the documents.

It is essential to carefully review the specific requirements and documentation checklist provided by the authorities while applying for a PIO Card to ensure a smooth application process.

7. Can I apply for a PIO card online?

Yes, as of October 2018, the Person of Indian Origin (PIO) Card scheme has been merged with the Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) Card scheme. This means that PIO cardholders are now considered OCI cardholders. As an individual of Indian origin who held a PIO card, you are eligible to apply for an OCI card, which offers lifelong visa-free travel to India.

To apply for an OCI card, you can complete the application process online through the official website of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. The online application form can be found on the website of the Indian missions abroad or the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) in India. The process typically involves filling out the online form, uploading supporting documents, and paying the applicable fees online. Additionally, you may be required to submit biometric data at a designated application center.

It is important to note that the conversion of PIO cards to OCI cards is mandatory, and all PIO cardholders are strongly encouraged to convert their cards to OCI status to avail of the benefits associated with OCI status.

8. What is the processing time for a PIO card application?

The processing time for a PIO card application can vary depending on various factors such as the volume of applications received, completeness of the application, and the efficiency of the processing center. However, on average, it typically takes around 4 to 6 weeks for a PIO card application to be processed. In some cases, it may take longer, especially if there are any discrepancies or additional documentation required. It is advisable to submit a complete and accurate application to avoid delays in processing. It is also recommended to check the official website or contact the concerned authorities for the most up-to-date information on processing times.

9. What is the validity period of a PIO card?

The validity period of a PIO card was initially for a lifetime. However, due to changes in immigration laws, the PIO card has been merged with the Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card. As a result, all existing PIO cardholders were required to convert their PIO cards to OCI cards. The validity of the OCI card is now for a period of 20 years from the date of issue, or up to the validity of the foreign passport of the cardholder, whichever comes first. After the age of 50, OCI cardholders are required to undergo a reissuance process to update their personal information and photograph.

10. Can I renew my PIO card?

Yes, as of January 9, 2015, the Person of Indian Origin (PIO) Card scheme has been merged with the Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) Card scheme. Therefore, PIO cardholders are now required to apply for an OCI card instead of renewing their PIO cards. Existing PIO cardholders were given an opportunity to convert their cards to OCI cards by the deadline of December 31, 2017, after which all PIO cards are deemed invalid. If you were a PIO cardholder and missed the deadline, you can still apply for an OCI card as a new applicant. The OCI card offers lifelong visa-free travel to India and various other benefits for people of Indian origin.

11. Is there a fee for applying for a PIO card?

Yes, there is a fee for applying for a PIO card in India. As of the most recent information available, the fee for a PIO card application is typically $275 USD. This fee may vary depending on the specific guidelines and regulations set by the Indian government at the time of application. It is important to check the official website of the High Commission of India or the Consulate General of India for the most up-to-date information on fees and application procedures for the PIO card. Additionally, it is advisable to consult with authorized agencies or legal professionals specializing in immigration matters for accurate guidance on the application process and associated costs.

12. Can I apply for a PIO card if I am a foreign national married to an Indian citizen?

Yes, as a foreign national married to an Indian citizen, you are eligible to apply for a PIO (Person of Indian Origin) Card. The PIO Card scheme was introduced by the Government of India to offer foreign nationals of Indian origin certain benefits and privileges. To apply for a PIO Card under this category, you would need to meet the eligibility criteria, which typically includes being a spouse of an Indian citizen or being a person of Indian origin or descent.

1. You would be required to fill out the PIO Card application form with accurate details and documentation to support your relationship with an Indian citizen.

2. It is important to ensure that all the required documents, such as marriage certificate, proof of Indian spouse’s citizenship, and other relevant documents, are submitted along with your application.

3. The application process and requirements may vary, so it is advisable to check with the relevant Indian embassy or consulate for the most up-to-date information before proceeding with your application.

4. Once your application is processed and approved, you will be issued a PIO Card, which will entitle you to certain benefits such as visa-free entry and stay in India, exemption from registration requirements, and more.

Overall, being a foreign national married to an Indian citizen makes you eligible to apply for a PIO Card, allowing you to enjoy certain privileges and benefits while visiting or residing in India.

13. Will having a PIO card allow me to work in India?

Yes, having a PIO card does allow you to work in India. However, there are certain conditions and restrictions that you should be aware of:

1. The PIO card allows you to undertake any kind of work or employment in India.
2. You may need to obtain the necessary work visa or permit as per the regulations set by the Indian government.
3. It is important to ensure that your employment in India complies with all relevant laws and regulations regarding work permits for foreign nationals.
4. It is advisable to consult with the appropriate authorities or seek legal advice to understand the specific requirements and procedures related to working in India as a PIO cardholder.

14. Can I travel to Nepal and Bhutan using a PIO card?

Yes, holders of a Person of Indian Origin (PIO) card are permitted to travel to Nepal and Bhutan without requiring a visa for a stay of up to 90 days in each country. However, it is important to note that as of September 2019, the PIO card scheme has been merged with the Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card scheme. Those who hold a valid PIO card are advised to convert it to an OCI card for ease of travel and to avoid any potential issues. Here are some key points to consider:

1. As of 2019, new PIO cards are no longer being issued, and existing PIO cardholders are encouraged to convert to OCI cards.
2. The OCI card offers lifelong multiple entry visa privileges to India, including working and residing in the country.
3. While the PIO card was valid for travel to Nepal and Bhutan, it is advisable to check the latest travel requirements and regulations before planning your trip.
4. To ensure smooth travel, it is recommended to check with the respective embassies or official government websites for the most up-to-date information on travel requirements and visa policies for Nepal and Bhutan.

15. What should I do if my PIO card is lost or damaged?

If your PIO card is lost or damaged, you should take the following steps:

1. File a police report: If your PIO card was lost due to theft or any other criminal activity, it is important to report the loss to the police. This will help in case of any identity theft or misuse of the card.

2. Inform the Indian Mission or Post: Contact the nearest Indian Mission or Post in your country and inform them about the loss or damage of your PIO card. They will guide you on the next steps to take.

3. Apply for a new PIO card: You will need to apply for a new PIO card by following the application process set by the Indian government. This may involve submitting a new application form, required documents, and payment of the applicable fees.

4. Provide necessary information: When applying for a new PIO card, be prepared to provide details about your lost or damaged card, such as the card number, date of issue, and any other relevant information.

By following these steps, you can ensure that you address the loss or damage of your PIO card in a timely and appropriate manner.

16. Can I surrender my PIO card if I obtain citizenship of another country?

Yes, if you obtain citizenship of another country, you are required to surrender your Person of Indian Origin (PIO) card. The PIO card scheme was deprecated in 2015 and merged with the Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card scheme. As part of this transition, individuals holding PIO cards were required to convert them to OCI cards. Upon acquiring citizenship of another country, it is essential to surrender your PIO card to the Indian embassy or consulate and apply for the cancellation of your OCI status. This process ensures that your immigration status is updated accurately, reflecting your change in nationality. Failure to surrender your PIO card after acquiring foreign citizenship may lead to complications during travel or other administrative processes.

17. Are there any restrictions on the type of employment allowed for PIO cardholders in India?

Yes, there are restrictions on the type of employment allowed for PIO cardholders in India. Here are some key points to consider:

1. PIO cardholders are permitted to undertake employment in India, except in certain sectors such as defense, space, and atomic energy.
2. Employment opportunities for PIO cardholders are generally limited to private sector employment, as they are not allowed to take up government jobs in India.
3. PIO cardholders may need to obtain relevant work permits or visas depending on the nature and duration of their employment in India.
4. It is important for PIO cardholders seeking employment in India to familiarize themselves with the exact regulations and requirements governing their specific situation to ensure compliance with Indian immigration laws.

Overall, while PIO cardholders have certain privileges when it comes to working in India, there are also restrictions that must be taken into consideration to avoid any legal issues or violations.

18. Can I use a PIO card as a form of identification in India?

Yes, you can use a PIO (Person of Indian Origin) card as a form of identification in India. Here’s why:

1. The PIO card serves as a valid identification document for individuals of Indian origin living abroad. It signifies their connection to India and provides certain benefits and privileges, including visa-free travel to India and the right to own property.

2. While the PIO card was merged with the Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card in 2015, existing PIO cardholders were allowed to continue using their cards as identification until further notice.

3. Therefore, if you hold a valid PIO card, you can use it as proof of identity while in India, subject to the conditions and regulations of the Indian government regarding the acceptance of identification documents. It is advisable to carry additional forms of identification as well, in case there are any specific requirements or circumstances where the PIO card may not be accepted.

19. Can I apply for a PIO card for my minor children?

Yes, you can apply for a PIO card for your minor children if at least one of the parents holds a PIO card. The process for applying for a PIO card for minors is similar to applying for adults, with some additional documentation required. Here are some important points to consider when applying for a PIO card for minors:

1. Both parents need to provide consent for the application, and their documents such as passport and PIO card details may be required.
2. You will need to submit the child’s birth certificate as proof of age and parentage.
3. The application form must be filled out accurately, with all required documents attached.
4. It is essential to comply with any specific requirements or procedures set by the consulate or embassy where you are applying for the PIO card.

Overall, yes, you can apply for a PIO card for your minor children, but it is crucial to ensure you have all the necessary documents and follow the correct procedures to avoid any delays in the application process.

20. How can I track the status of my PIO card application?

You can track the status of your PIO card application through the official government website dedicated to such services. Here’s how:

1. Visit the official website for PIO card services provided by the Indian government.
2. Look for the option to track your PIO card application status on the homepage.
3. Enter the required details such as your application number, passport number, or other relevant information as requested.
4. Submit the information and you should be able to see the current status of your PIO card application, whether it is under processing, approved, dispatched, or any other relevant update.
5. Make sure to regularly check the status and follow up with any additional steps required to complete the process.

By following these steps, you can easily track the status of your PIO card application and stay informed about its progress.