Overseas Indians are officially known as Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) and Overseas Citizens of India (OCIs). They are people of Indian birth or ancestry who live outside the Republic of India. According to the Ministry of External Affairs, there are 32 million NRIs and PIOs residing outside India.[i]


NRIs can be defined as someone who is a non-residential Indian who stays in India for less than 182 days during the period of the foreseeing financial year.[ii]

Also, an NRI can be a person who has gone out of the nation for employment, or a person staying abroad for business-related purposes.

NRI definition as per the Income Tax Act of India, 1961:

According to Section 6 of the IT Act, 1961, an individual who is an Indian citizen or is of Indian origin, is considered to be an NRI. If an individual’s taxable Indian income exceeds Rs 15 Lakh, then that individual is considered to be a resident, in case the person:

  1. Visits India for 120 days or more in the preceding year; or
  2. Has been in the country for a period of 365 days or more in the previous 4 year.


A person who is a foreign citizen who held an Indian Passport at any point in time or whose parents/grandparents/great grandparents were citizens of India is known as a Person of Indian Origin (PIO).

The Reserve Bank of India defines PIO as:

PIO means a citizen of any country other than Bangladesh or Pakistan who had:

  1. at any time held Indian Passport; or
  2. he or either of his parents or any of his grandparents were a citizen of India by virtue of the Constitution of India or the Citizenship Act, 1955; or
  3. the person is a spouse of an Indian citizen or a person referred to in (a) or (b).

The PIO cardholders have many benefits such as they are not required to have a VISA to visit India for a period of 15 years from the date of issue of the PIO card. They are equivalent to the NRIs in financial, educational benefits. They are exempted from registration at FRRO or FRO in case their stay does not exceed 180 days in India.


  1. NRIs are referred to Indian Diaspora and are the people of Indian birth or descent living outside the Republic of India. Whereas, PIO are also referred to Overseas Indians.
  2. NRIs are needed to be born in India. However, PIO are not needed to be born in India but must have either parents or grandparents born in India.
  3. For being a resident India, a person must spend a minimum of 182 days or more of a financial year in India. In case of a PIO cardholders, they do not need a VISA if they want to visit India. The PIO card is valid for 15 years from issuance.
  4. NRIs have a right to vote in India. Whereas a PIO doesn’t have such rights.
  5. NRIs are eligible to hold public offices. But a PIO can not hold any public office in India.
  6. NRIs need not to take permission to visit restricted places in India. Whereas, a PIO cardholder needs to take permission from the Foreigner Regional Registration Office to visit restricted places in India.


[i] WIKIPEDIA, https://www.wikipedia.org/ (last visited Nov 30, 2021).

[ii] BYJU’S, https://www.byjus.com/ (last visited Dec 1, 2021).

[iii] JAGRANJOSH, https://m.jagranjosh.com/ (last visited Dec 1, 2021).

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

Do follow me on FacebookTwitter  Youtube and Instagram.

The copyright of this Article belongs exclusively to Ms. Aishwarya Sandeep. Reproduction of the same, without permission will amount to Copyright Infringement. Appropriate Legal Action under the Indian Laws will be taken.

If you would also like to contribute to my website, then do share your articles or poems at adv.aishwaryasandeep@gmail.com

We also have a Facebook Group Restarter Moms for Mothers or Women who would like to rejoin their careers post a career break or women who are enterpreneurs.

We are also running a series Inspirational Women from January 2021 to March 31,2021, featuring around 1000 stories about Indian Women, who changed the world. #choosetochallenge

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