THIS YEAR IS BEING celebrated as the 150th Anniversary of the arrival of Indians into the country from India. Each one of us belongs to a family. Our family is part of a family-tree from where we can trace our ancestors but this tracing remains limited to the past 150 years. Do we as people of Indian origin share common ancestors? Do we all belong to one common family-tree? How do we find that out?
The Government of India has launched the ‘PIO Card’ scheme for the convenience of persons of Indian origin which is aimed at making the journey back to our roots, simpler, easier, flexible and trouble free.
Any person currently holding a non-Indian passport, who can prove their Indian origin up to three generations before (or is the spouse of a citizen of India or person of Indian origin), is eligible for a Persons of Indian Origin Card. Citizens of Pakistan, Bangladesh and other countries as may be specified by the Central Government are not eligible for this Persons of Indian Origin Card.
PIO Cards give the holder the following benefits: (a) visa-free entry into India for fifteen years, (b) exemption from registration at a Foreigners’ Regional Registration Office if the period of stay in India does not exceed 180 days (for stay of more than 180 days, the PIO cardholder needs to register at a FRRO office), and (c) PIO cardholders enjoy parity with Non-Resident Indians in economic, financial and educational fields.
A PIO Card is generally valid for a period of fifteen years from the date of issue.
The various benefits available to a PIO cardholder are:
No visa required for visiting India during the period of validity of the PIO Card.
Exemption from the requirement of registration if the stay in India does not exceed 6 months. Should the continuous stay exceed six months, registration will be required within 30 days of the expiry of six months with the concerned Foreigners’ Registration Officer.
Parity with Non-Resident Indians in respect of facilities available to the latter in economic, financial and educational fields.
All facilities in the matter of acquisition, holding, transfer and disposal of immovable properties in India except in matters relating to the acquisition of agricultural/plantation properties.
Facilities available to children of Non-Resident Indians for getting admission to educational institutions in India including medical colleges, engineering colleges, institutes of technology, institutes of management, etc. under the general categories.
Facilities available under the various housing schemes of LIC, State Governments and other government agencies.
Persons with a PIO are not:
allowed to vote
eligible for an inner line permit. They have to apply for a Protected Area Permit.
Documents required to be presented at the time of submission of application for a PIO Card:
Application of PIO Card can be downloaded from the website of the Ministry of Home Affairs i.e.: www.mha.nic.in
Photocopy of the foreign passport presently held (front page i.e. photo page and Visa page). Photocopy of the initial Visa which has been registered with FRRO/FRO cum Superintendent of Police.
Photocopy of all the pages of Registration Certificate issued by the FRRO/FRO office.
Four recent passport size photographs.
Demand Draft/Pay Order in favour of FRRO concerned, for Rs. 15000/- in case of individuals above 18 years and Rs. 7500/- in the case of applicants below 18 years of age.
Two photocopies of Demand Draft/Pay Order.
Proof of Indian Origin:
I. Previous Indian Passport OR
II. Birth Certificate and parents’/grandparents/great grandparents’ Indian passport OR
III. Marriage certificate and copy of spouse’s Indian passport.
Note: All documents to be presented in duplicate and also shown in original.