PIO Card – Eligibility, benefits and how to apply for a PIO Card

Persons of Indian Origin Card (PIO Card) is a form of identification issued to a Person of Indian Origin who holds a passport in another country.

PIO Card Eligibility
PIO card can be issues to a “PIO”- ‘Person of Indian Origin’.
According to the official definition, PIO is a foreign Citizen – excluding a citizen of Pakistan, Bangladesh and other countries as may be specified by the Government of India from time to time – if,

  • He/she at any time held an Indian Passport; or
  • He/she or either of his/her parents or grand parents or great grand parents was born in and permanently resident in India, or
  • He/she is a spouse of a citizen of India or a person of Indian origin

The PIO Card can be issued to those foreign citizens who meet the conditions mentioned above.

Benefits of PIO Card:
The main benefits of PIO Card are:

    • PIO card holders do not need a separate visa to visit India.

  • If the PIO card holder is staying in India for up to 180 days, the registration with the Foreign Regional Registration Office (FRRO) is not required.
  • If staying beyond 180 days, PIO card holders need to get registered with the FRRO within 30 days of the expiry of 180 days.
  • The PIO Card holders enjoy the same benefits as NRIs in the economic, financial and educational fields (except benefits of agricultural/plantation properties acquisition) in India.
  • No “Student Visa” or “Employment Visa” required separately for admissions in Colleges/Institutions or for taking up employment respectively.

How to apply for PIO Card:
This is very simple. If you are reading this, you most likely have access to a computer and the internet. You can search online for the nearest Embassy of India. The website should either provide a direct info/link to the PIO card, or it has information regarding nearest Consulate General of India where you can apply for the PIO Card.
For example, for those living in USA, there are 4 Consulate generals, as found on the official Indian Embassy website linked here.
Select the office that is nearest to you and look for PIO card information. As an example, if you go the website of Indian Consulate in Chicago, you can see the ‘PIO Card’ link on the left-hand side-bar. From the drop-down menu, select ‘How to Apply’. That should take you to the application process page. The page also includes answers to the common questions below:
A: HOW TO DO APPLICATION?
B: HOW TO ARRANGE THE APPLICATION(S)?
C: HOW MUCH IS FEES AND HOW TO PAY?
D: WHERE TO SEND THE APPLICATION AND THINGS NOT TO FORGET.
E: PROCESSING TIME
F: HOW PIO CARD LOOKS LIKE?

There is also a link, right in the middle of the page, to download the application form for PIO Card.

Additional Notes and information
Some additional useful information:

  • PIO card is issued for 15 years validity.
  • You must carry the PIO card, your US/Foreign Passport while traveling to India. Separate visa is not required.
  • If you got new US /Foreign passport, make sure to carry PIO Card, Old and new US/ Foreign passports along with you while traveling to India.
  • You should get the new passport number endorsed in the PIO card.
  • PIO Cards issued under the Scheme notified in 1999 for a fee of US $ 1000 will continue to remain valid. While no refund shall be available to such Card holders, the validity of such cards is extendable for a further period of 10 years without any charges.

The source of information:
Most of the information above come from the official Consulate General of India, Chicago.

For other NRI and India Abroad resources, you can always search this web site or scroll through the categories for any information such as NRI Bank Account, or jobs and occupations in USA, or any other topics related to living overseas.



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