The Government of India has announced that the Person of Indian Origin (PIO) card will be redundant beginning October 1, 2019. If you are traveling before this deadline, ensure your journey begins on or before September 30, 2019 to be able to travel unrestricted. In the meantime, holders of the PIO card should work on acquiring an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card instead.
PIO cards will be invalid after September 30, 2019 and therefore, all PIO cards should be converted to an OCI before then. There is fee of $275.00 attached to this process and can be done with the local Cox & King Global Services office. This is in addition to a nominal fee for CKGS consular services fee and a ICWF fee. To identify the CKGS office closest to you, refer to CKGS locations in the US.
Non-resident Indians were previously issued a Person of Indian Origin card as an alternate to a visa. This acted as an identifying travel document for Indian citizens who had taken up citizenship of another country and had origins in India or were simply abroad for over 183 days in a year for work or otherwise.
The OCI has certain advantages over the PIO in that it has a validity of a lifetime unlike the PIO which expired in 15 years. It also allows multiple entries to India and the OCI holder can stay in India indefinitely. A PIO card holder has to report to the FRO if his stay exceeds 182 days. Similar to the PIO card holder, an OCI card holder may get a PAN card, driver’s license, open bank accounts, invest, and earn their income like regular citizens.
For information on how to apply for an OCI card in lieu of a PIO card before the deadline, follow guidelines at OCI Application Procedure.