PIO Card | Person of Indian Origin

person of indian origin card

Many Indians are staying outside India for a long time but their roots are still attached to India. Government provides various benefits and relaxations to such persons in different sectors such as education, economy and finance. For the purpose of identification, these persons are issued a card known as “Person of Indian Origin Card i.e PIO Card. 

PIO card doesn’t provide citizenship to card holder or doesn’t provide any additional constitutional right. However, some additional benefits are provided to such persons. 

1. Meaning of Person of Indian Origin

A person of Indian Origin means a foreign citizen (except from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, Iran, Butan, Srilanka and Nepal), who satisfies either of the following conditions:

  1. Such person held Indian passport at any time; or 
  2. Either of their parents/ grandparents/ great grand parents was born and permanently resident in India provided neither was at any time a citizen of any of the aforesaid countries ( as referred above) or
  3. Who is a spouse of a citizen of India or person of Indian Origin

2. Where to submit application for PIO Card

  1. Application for issuance of PIO Card shall be made in the prescribed Form to an Indian Mission/ Post in the country where the applicant is ordinarily resident. 
  2. If an applicant is already in India on a long term visa (one year or more) then he may submit the application to the concerned FRROs.

3. Validity of PIO Card and fees for application

  1. A PIO card is valid for minors (below 18 years) for 15 years and the issuance fee is Rs 7500/-
  2. A PIO card for all other people is valid for 15 years and the issuance fee is Rs 15000/-

4. Benefits of PIO card

  1. A person does not require any work/student visa to visit India till the time the PIO card is valid. PIO Card is itself considered as a Visa.
  2. For the purpose of employment or education or business, no separate VISA is required for PIO card holder.
  3. Helps in easing out the imigration process.
  4. A person can reside up to 180 days in India without informing or registering with the FRRO (Foreigners Regional Registration Officer) or local police authorities. However, if stay is for more than 180 days then registration should be done with FRRO within next 30 days.
  5. Parity is given to PIO card holders with NRIs in economic, financial and economic benefits such as:
    1. Acquisition, holding, transfer and disposal of immovable properties in India, except agricultural/ plantation properties 
    2. Admission of children to educational institutions in India under general category quota for NRIs, including medical and engineering college, IITs, IIMs etc 
    3. Availing Various housing schemes of LIC of India, State Government and Central Government agencies

However, PIO Card holders don’t enjoy employment benefits in Government of India services and also they can’t hold  any constitutional office in the Government of India. 

Similarly, PIO Card doesn’t automatically permit restricted activities to card holder. Such as, for undertaking mountaineering, missionary activities, research work and to visit restricted areas in India, prior approval is required.

5. Documents required to apply of PIO Card

  1. Existing/Expired Indian passport; or 
  2. Any two or more of the following documents:
    1. Photocopy of expired Indian passport; 
    2. Original / Photocopies of Indian passport of parents or grand parents of the applicant. 
    3. Birth Certificate of the applicant and of the parents / grand parents of the applicant. 
    4. Nationality certificate of the applicant and of the parents/grand parents of the applicant. 
    5. School / College leaving certificates of the applicant or parents / grand parents of the applicant.

However, if spouse of PIO card holder applies for PIO card, then he need to provide following documents:

  1. Indian passport / PIO card in original of the spouse 
  2. The original marriage certificate 
  3. Four passport size photographs of the applicant 
  4. A fee of US $ 388 (US $ 180 for children below 18 years) to be paid in cash at the High Commission.

6. Cancellation of PIO Card

On either of the following grounds, PIO card of a person can be cancelled:

  1. Where PIO Card was obtained by fraud, false representation or the concealment of any material fact; or 
  2. If PIO cardholder shows through any of his act or speech his disaffection towards the Constitution of India and other laws of India; or 
  3. PIO cardholder is a citizen of any country with is involved in war with India or which is committing external aggression against India or of any other country which is assisting the country at war with India, or committing such aggression against India; or 
  4. PIO cardholder has been sentenced in India for indulging in acts of terrorism or smuggling of narcotics, arms, ammunitions etc. or has been sentenced for committing an offence punishable with imprisonment upto one year, or fine upto rupees ten thousand;

Read more about how to apply Permanent Account Number to Non-Resident Indians | NRI PAN

DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are strictly of the author and VJM & Associates LLP. The contents of this article are solely for informational purpose. It does not constitute professional advice or recommendation of firm. Neither the author nor firm and its affiliates accepts any liabilities for any loss or damage of any kind arising out of any information in this article nor for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

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