Indian consulate in New York advises NRIs to convert PIO cards into OCI cards before September 30, 2020, for travel to India.
For all those who still have a Person of Indian origin (PIO) card and have a travel coming to India shortly, don’t panic yet for you can still travel without converting it into an OCI or Overseas Citizen of India card for some more time.
But you must hurry and get your PIO card converted into an OCI card soon as it won’t be extended beyond September 30 this year.
According to an update from the Indian Consulate in New York, Indian immigration authorities will accept all PIO cards along with valid passports, as valid travel documents until then.
However, the extension of timeline is subject to the condition that if in the meantime the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) makes handwritten PIO cards invalid, then PIO cardholders may have to obtain appropriate visas from Indian missions.
All the PIO card holders both handwritten and machine readable are meanwhile advised to convert their PIO cards to OCI cards at the earliest.
In 2017, during the 14th Pravasi Bhartiya Divas held in Bengaluru, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also urged PIO cardholders to convert them into OCI cards.
OCIs are non-Indian citizens who have a lifetime visa to live and work in India with fewer restrictions.
OCI scheme was introduced in response to demands for dual citizenship by the Indian diaspora, particularly in developed countries.
PIO is a person of Indian origin but who is not a citizen of India and is the citizen of another country.
A PIO might have been a citizen of India and subsequently taken the citizenship of another country. It may also mean that the individual had ancestors born in India or had Indian origin.