The Consulate General of India, Toronto and New York has issued a reminder to Non-Resident Indians (NRI) who are Indo-Canadian and Indian American card holders to convert their PIO (Person of Indian Origin) cards to OCI (Overseas Citizens of India) cards before June 30 2017. The announcements were made in furtherance of the Indian Government’s step for the complete merger of PIO and OCI cards.
The Notification of Indian Government’s Ministry of Home affairs dated 09-January-2015
The merging of the two was to remove the confusion between the PIO and OCI status, which broadly confer similar benefits and to simplify Indian immigration norms by making it easier for overseas Indians to apply for Indian citizenship.
However, the merger allows additional benefits to merged OCI card holders;-
- PIO card holders previously eligible for 15 years visa, now means that OCI card holders enjoying life long visa free entry to India..
- Exemption from police reporting.
- Earlier PIO cards were not allowed to the nationals of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Iran, Nepal and China, now after merging, it is available to the nationals of above countries except Pakistan and Bangladesh.
- To enable for registration as Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) by a minor, whose parents or either parents are Indian Citizens.
- To enable for registration as OCI by a child or a grand-child or a great grand-child of person who has been citizen of India or undivided India at any time.
- To enable for registration as OCI by such spouse of a citizen of India or spouse of an OCI registered under section 7A and whose marriage has been registered and subsisted for a continuous period of not less than two years immediately preceding the presentation of the application under this section with prior security checks by Competent Authority.
- It is not mandatory for the PIO card holders to convert their cards to OCI. But the Ministry of
- External Affairs website advises conversion to avoid any complications during travel to India
Such steps are welcome making it easier for those eligible for OCI status to travel, education, work and trade in India as well as other benefits.
See the Press Release – Extension of date of Merger of PIO and OCI Cards dated December 30, 2016
Reference and more information read:
Canada: Consulate General of India sets June 30 deadline for conversion of PIO to OCI
Last Date for Converting PIO Cards to OCI Cards Nearing: Deadline June 30