Government of India extended the last date for applying for conversion of PIO cards to OCI cards to June 30th 2016 from March 31.

Government of India extended the last date for applying for conversion of PIO cards to OCI cards to June 30th 2016 from March 31. 
 

The last date for applying for conversion of PIO Cards to OCI Cards is now 30 June, 2016.   The Person of Indian Origin (PIO) card was first implemented in 2002 as a benefit to foreign nationals who could establish at least a third generation tie to Indian origin. The PIO card is valid for travel, work, and residence in India for a period of 15 years. The OCI card was implemented in 2005, carried more expansive benefits than the PIO card, and was valid for the holder's lifetime.  However, in 2014, the government decided to merge the two schemes for the benefit of NRIs. 
 

Both cards are held by people born in India but who have renounced their citizenship. They are also held by their descendants. The differences between the cards are minor, but PIO cards are more ubiquitous, in part because they were also available to spouses of Indians and to those born outside of India whose parents were both Indian citizens. PIO cardholders had to renew the card every 15 years and check in with the police if they stayed in India for longer than 180 days at a stretch while OCI cardholders did not. The two categories merged in January, effectively meaning PIO cardholders share OCI benefits.

In terms of the notification issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs on 9th January 2015, all the existing PIO Cardholders as on 9 January 2015 shall be deemed to be OCI Cardholders. However, all persons having valid PIO cards as on 9th January 2015 are advised to apply for registration as OCI Cardholder in view of the following advantages in processing as OCI card:

(a) OCI card is a smart card;

(b) Possession of an OCI card will facilitate quicker immigration clearance at the Immigration Check Posts;

(c) It will help in obtaining various Consular Services from the Indian Missions;

(d) For those who are resident in India, it will facilitate in availing various services in India.

The date for submission of applications for registration as OCI cardholder in lieu of PIO card online has been extended till 30 June 2016. This cutoff date will be only for submission of the applications online by the applicants. A separate online application form for submission of application for registration as OCI cardholder in lieu of PIO card is available in the website https://passport.gov.in/oci/.

Until applicants are in receipt of an OCI card issued in lieu of PIO card, they could travel to India with their valid foreign passport and valid PIO Card.


A foreign national, - (i) who was a citizen of India at the time of, or at any time after 26th January, 1950; or (ii) who was eligible to become a citizen of India on 26th January, 1950; or (iii) who belonged to a territory that became part of India after 15th August, 1947; or (iv) who is a child or a grandchild or a great grandchild of such a citizen; or (v) who is a minor child of such persons mentioned above; or (vi) who is a minor child and whose both parents are citizens of India or one of the parents is a citizen of India - is eligible for registration as OCI cardholder. Besides, spouse of foreign origin of a citizen of India or spouse of foreign origin of an Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder 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 is also eligible for registration as OCI cardholder. However, no person, who or either of whose parents or grandparents or great grandparents is or had been a citizen of Pakistan, Bangladesh or such other country as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify, shall be eligible for registration as an Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder.

For more details click the following link

www.passport.gov.in/oci

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