OCI in lieu of PIO Card – Conversion of PIO Card to OCI card

PIO card scheme was introduced in 1999 by the Government of India and provided Person of Indian Origin card to eligible participants. It was valid for 15 years. However, on January 5, 2015, the PIO scheme was discontinued. As per the announcement by the government, OCI card and PIO card schemes were merged into one and all PIO cardholders would be deemed to be OCI cardholders.

Official Gazette Notification

However, in practice, the Indian government and their agency in CKGS has been telling the public, for several years now, that the PIO cards would no longer be considered valid for travel to India and everyone must apply for OCI in lieu of PIO Card.

Previously, PIO card was available to foreign spouse of Indian origin person, but not the OCI card. Post this change, OCI card is available to them.

Q: I still have a PIO card that is supposed to be valid till 2022. Is it still valid?
A: PIO cards are deemed to be OCI cards now and valid for lifelong of the person. However, in practice, the Indian government has been asking everyone to apply for OCI cards. The last date of validity has been given as September 30, 2020. However, this deadline keeps extending year after year.

Q: What is the procedure for conversion of PIO card into OCI card?
A: The overall procedure for convesion of PIO card into OCI card is essentially the same as getting a new OCI card. However, the paperwork is reduced slightly as you don’t have to give the proof of Indian origin, etc. all over again.

Q: Can I apply for renewal of PIO card?
A: As PIO card scheme has been discontinued, you can not apply for renewal of PIO card. You will have to apply for OCI card instead.

Q: Before I apply for OCI card, do I have to apply for cancellation of PIO card?
A: No

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