People of Indian origin and PIO card

There are about 20 million People of Indian Origin found all over the world. A PIO is one who has held an Indian passport anytime earlier or whose parents or grandparents or great grand parents were citizens of India having born and permanently resided here. However citizens of Pakistan and Bangladesh cannot be a PIO.

The Government of India started the PIO card scheme with effect from 31-03-99. As per a union home ministry 2002 notification, PIO card is provided even to foreign nationals married to Indian citizens or PIO. There is an international association of PIO called Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO). 

There are several advantages for a person with a PIO card. They are entitled for visa free entry into India, have equal rights as NRI over property matters, their children can study in Indian institutions under NRI category. They need not report their presence in FRRO (Foreigners Regional Registration Office) up to 180 days. After 180 days, they need to report their presence to the nearest FRRO, within 30 days. However they have no political or voting rights in India.

PIO who are out of India can apply for the PIO Card, through concerned Indian embassy/High commission /Consulate. Those who are in India on a long term visa for more than one year can apply through concerned FRRO at Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Calcutta. Those living in other areas can apply to Joint Secretary (Foreigners), Ministry of Home Affairs located at 1st floor, Loknayak Bhavan, Khan Market, New Delhi. Citizens of Pakistan and Bangladesh cannot get PIO card. Government can reject an application without assigning any reason.

Documents required may include:
A) For applications based on spouse:
a) Original Indian passport of wife/husband
b) Original PIO card of husband / wife
c) Original marriage certificate

B) For applications based on PIO definition:
a) Parent’s birth certificate
b) Grand Parent’s or Great Grand parent’s birth certificate 
Apart from this there may be other documents asked by the authorities at the time of filing of the application.