Current Status of PIO Cards after PIO Scheme Cancelled by Government

PIO cards lifetime visa benefit in jeopardy!

What is the status of PIO cards in 2019?

PIO cards are still valid and since January 9, 2015 PIO card holders enjoy the same benefits available to OCI cards holders as PIO cards were deemed to be OCI cards by the authorities. Here is a overview on PIO cards. The Government of India cancelled the PIO card scheme vide Gazette Notification No.25024/9/2014F.I dated January 09, 2015. This meant that new applications for PIO card from the date of the cancellation announcement would not be allowed and those who had applied for PIO card prior to the announcement and their applications were pending were asked to apply for OCI instead.

PIO cards deemed to be OCI cards

When announcing the cancellation of the PIO card scheme, the Government of India announced that all PIO cards issued until January 9, 2015 would be deemed to be OCI cards. This meant that PIO card holders would enjoy the same benefits of OCI holders. For instance, the validity of PIO cards which was 15 years, increased to lifetime validity, similar to OCI cards.

OCI card in lieu of PIO card

Some PIO card holders may have assumed that they would automatically get OCI cards in exchange of their PIO cards as the authorities had announced that PIO cards were deemed to be OCI effective January 9, 2015. However this is not the case. PIO cardholders need to apply to get OCI card in Lieu of their PIO card.

Is my PIO card valid? What benefits do current PIO card holders have?

Until the government of India cancels PIO cards they remain to be valid. The PIO card scheme was withdrawn but cards issued prior to scheme withdrawal were NOT cancelled. As PIO cards PIO cards issued prior to January 9, 2015 were deemed to be OCI, anyone holding a valid PIO card currently enjoys all the benefits available to OCI card holders. However, using the benefit of lifelong visa to visit India may become a problem at some point of time for PIO card holders as the switch to machine readable travel documents takes effect.

PIO card not machine readable

International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has now made it mandatory for travel documents to be machine readable. However, PIO cards were handwritten, hence not machine readable and therefore not acceptable travel documents as per ICAO guidelines. The Government of India has been urging PIO card holders to switch their PIO cards to OCI cards which are machine readable. The cutoff date currently for travel to India on the basis of PIO cards is currently set as March 31, 2019. Even though PIO card holders do not require a separate visa to visit India; after March 31, 2019 they will require a separate visa to visit India unless they apply for and are approved for an OCI card. For clarification, after being deemed to be OCI as of January 9, 2015 PIO cards do have lifetime visa validity, however as they are not machine readable they cannot be used to enter India once the restrictions come into effect. Options for PIO card holders who will be traveling to India after March 31, 2019 but have not opted for OCI card’s in lieu of PIO will be to apply for an Indian visa or risk being denied entry despite having a valid PIO card. Except for not being able to use PIO card as an entry document (visa) after March 31, 2019. All other benefits applicable to OCI holders can be availed by PIO card holders, unless at some point the authorities announce a cancellation of PIO cards.
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Complete OCI Information

OCI REGISTRATION - LIFELONG VISA FOR INDIA

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OCI CARD - ‘U’ VISA

OCI REGISTRATION

LIFELONG VISA FOR INDIA

Complete OCI Information
Excerpts from The NRI Guide published with approval of the author - All rights reserved - Copyright THE NRI GUIDE

Current Status of PIO Cards

after PIO Scheme Cancelled by

Government

PIO cards lifetime visa benefit

in jeopardy!

What is the status of PIO cards

in 2019?

PIO cards are still valid and since January 9, 2015 PIO card holders enjoy the same benefits available to OCI cards holders as PIO cards were deemed to be OCI cards by the authorities. Here is a overview on PIO cards. The Government of India cancelled the PIO card scheme vide Gazette Notification No.25024/9/2014F.I dated January 09, 2015. This meant that new applications for PIO card from the date of the cancellation announcement would not be allowed and those who had applied for PIO card prior to the announcement and their applications were pending were asked to apply for OCI instead.

PIO cards deemed to be OCI cards

When announcing the cancellation of the PIO card scheme, the Government of India announced that all PIO cards issued until January 9, 2015 would be deemed to be OCI cards. This meant that PIO card holders would enjoy the same benefits of OCI holders. For instance, the validity of PIO cards which was 15 years, increased to lifetime validity, similar to OCI cards.

OCI card in lieu of PIO card

Some PIO card holders may have assumed that they would automatically get OCI cards in exchange of their PIO cards as the authorities had announced that PIO cards were deemed to be OCI effective January 9, 2015. However this is not the case. PIO cardholders need to apply to get OCI card in Lieu of their PIO card.

Is my PIO card valid? What benefits

do current PIO card holders have?

Until the government of India cancels PIO cards they remain to be valid. The PIO card scheme was withdrawn but cards issued prior to scheme withdrawal were NOT cancelled. As PIO cards PIO cards issued prior to January 9, 2015 were deemed to be OCI, anyone holding a valid PIO card currently enjoys all the benefits available to OCI card holders. However, using the benefit of lifelong visa to visit India may become a problem at some point of time for PIO card holders as the switch to machine readable travel documents takes effect.

PIO card not machine readable

International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has now made it mandatory for travel documents to be machine readable. However, PIO cards were handwritten, hence not machine readable and therefore not acceptable travel documents as per ICAO guidelines. The Government of India has been urging PIO card holders to switch their PIO cards to OCI cards which are machine readable. The cutoff date currently for travel to India on the basis of PIO cards is currently set as March 31, 2019. Even though PIO card holders do not require a separate visa to visit India; after March 31, 2019 they will require a separate visa to visit India unless they apply for and are approved for an OCI card. For clarification, after being deemed to be OCI as of January 9, 2015 PIO cards do have lifetime visa validity, however as they are not machine readable they cannot be used to enter India once the restrictions come into effect. Options for PIO card holders who will be traveling to India after March 31, 2019 but have not opted for OCI card’s in lieu of PIO will be to apply for an Indian visa or risk being denied entry despite having a valid PIO card. Except for not being able to use PIO card as an entry document (visa) after March 31, 2019. All other benefits applicable to OCI holders can be availed by PIO card holders, unless at some point the authorities announce a cancellation of PIO cards.
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Available worldwide from Amazon
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