A PIO (Person of Indian Origin) is an individual who has settled in a foreign country and still intends to do his bit for the country. According to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), is a foreign citizen excluding Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, China, Iran, and Sri Lanka? A PIO is identified with the help of a PIO card, which is issued by the Government of India.
A person of Indian origin (PIO) was a form of identification means a foreign citizen (except a national of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, Iran, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and/or Nepal), who:
- Who at any time held an Indian passport (but not currently) or
- Who either of their parents/grandparents/great-grandparents were born and permanently resident in India as defined in Government of India Act, 1935 and other territories that became part of India thereafter provided neither was at any time a citizen of any of the aforesaid countries (as referred above) or
- who is a spouse of a citizen of India or a PIO.
The Government of India has revised the PIO Card Scheme, which was launched in 1999, aimed at making the journey back to your roots, simpler, easier, flexible and absolutely hassle free. The PIO Card will entitle you to a set of privileges.
- What is a Person of Indian Origin in Detail?
The Persons of Indian Origin are also referred to as Overseas Indians.
The following criteria needs to fulfilled for a PIO designation:
- A PIO at any time held an Indian passport
- Either of their parents/grandparents/great-grandparents were born and permanently resident in India as defined in Government of India Act, 1935
- He/she is a spouse of a citizen of India or a PIO.
- PIO cardholders do not need a visa if they wish to visit India for up to 15 years from the issuance of a PIO Card.
- They can stay for up to 180 days In India without registration to FRRO (Foreigner Regional Registration Office).
PIO Card holders do not have voting rights in India
PIO card holders are ineligible to hold public office in India
PIO card holders need to take permission from the Foreigner Regional Registration Office visit restricted places in India.
- What are the Benefits of the PIO Card?
The following are the key benefits of the Person of Indian Origin card:
- The PIO cardholders will not require any visa to visit India for 15 years right from the issuance date of the PIO card.
- They are excused from registration at the FRRO/FRO in case the stay does not exceed 180 days. However, if the stay exceeds 180 days, then they will need to register with the FRRO/ FRO within the coming 30 days.
- It also lets them enjoy parity with the NRIs’ in financial, economic and educational benefits such as:
- Holding transfer, acquisition and disposal of the immovable properties apart from plantation or agricultural properties.
- The admission of children to any institutions of education under the quota of general category for the NRIs’ that includes both engineering and medical college such as the IIT, IIM, and so forth.
- Availing different housing schemes of the central government, state government agencies and LIC of India.
All the future benefits that will be exempted from NRIs’ will be available to the Person of Indian Origin cardholders. The PIOs do not enjoy any of the employment rights in the Indian government services nor can hold a constitutional office in the Indian government. They would require permission to undertake missionary activities, mountaineering, research work or to visit any restricted areas in the nation.
- Documents Required For A PIO Card
The PIO Card requires a prior application to be filled, along with which a number of other supporting documents must also be provided. Here’s a list of them:
- Original passport, either existing or expired
- At least two of the following documents:
- Photocopy of expired Indian passport
- Birth certificate of the applicant and their parents/ grandparents
- Nationality certificate of the applicant and their parents/grandparents
- School/college leaving certificates of the applicant and their parents/grandparents
- Original or photocopies of passports of the applicant’s parent
The list of documents to be submitted by the spouse of a PIO is slightly different. These are as follows:
- PIO Card or the Indian passport of the spouse
- Original marriage certificate
- Four passport-sized photographs
- An application fee of $388, $180 in the case of children under the age of 18 years
 (PERSON OF INDIAN ORIGIN (PIO) CARD n.d.)
 (Difference Between NRI and PIO 2022)
 (POI – Person of Indian Origin n.d.)
 (Difference Between PIO and OCI – BankBazaar 2022)
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