By Peregrine

Indian consulates and embassies around the world are urging holders of Person of Indian Origin (PIO) cards to convert them to Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) cards before the 31 December 2017 deadline.

Please note that, from October 2018, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) will only accept machine-readable travel documents. The existing PIO cards are hand written and will, therefore, become invalid travel documents.

Background

  • An ordinance of 6 January 2015, amending the Indian Citizenship Act, unified the two schemes and, on 9 January 2015, the immediate withdrawal of the PIO scheme was announced.
  • The deadline for the conversion of PIO to OCI has been extended several times since January 2015.
  • The OCI is valid for the holder’s lifetime and is accompanied by a lifelong multiple-entry visa to India, with no requirement to report to the FRRO, regardless of length of stay.

Action Items

  • Applicants should submit their ‘PIO in lieu of OCI’ applications at their local Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) in India or at the overseas mission or consulate of jurisdiction.
  • PIO card holders can continue to use their valid PIO cards until converted.