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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‘The Indians Abroad’ is an NRIs Blog. The non-resident Indians (NRI) living abroad, overseas life, India diaspora, multi-culture society, social awareness and personal development in a foreign land are main topics of discussion.

3 thoughts on “PIO Card – Eligibility, benefits and how to apply for a PIO Card”

  1. Finding a good job can be pretty troublesome. Especially when you have high expectations.

    Here are some tips that helped me land the job of my dreams:

    * You need to have a professional written resume. If you are not an expert, you could consider hiring one.
    * Think about all the jobs you are qualified for. This may lead to discovering additional jobs you could land.
    * Look for jobs in every possible source : internet, newspaper, radio and other media. Ask your friends that have similar jobs if there may be an opening in their company.
    * Don’t just send the resume by email and wait for an answer. You need to call them and have them confirm the job opening and receiving your resume.

    Finding a job is pretty much a job in itself and it’s all about how well can you market your abilities.

  2. Some limitations of PIO. They do not have any political rights. Cannot undertake activities like mountaineering, missionary and research work and existing PAP/RAP which need a special permit.

  3. hi sir,

    my name is aneesh from india, last 6 years i am working in uae, i married indonesian lady in last year. last six months she was in india now she is in indonnesia so i need to take her pio card for permenent stying in india, so please guide me what is the formalitieses and what i will do.

    awaiting for quick reply

    aneesh kakkot
    0097150 8907916

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