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Difference Between PIO and OCI Explained

What Is the Difference Between OCI and PIO?

 

The primary difference between PIO and OCI is understandable from their definitions themselves.

Here are their meanings –

OCI: It is an immigration status allowing foreign citizens of Indian origin to live, study or work in India. OCI card holders can visit India at any time and stay for any time.

PIO: It refers to a foreign citizen who held an Indian Passport at any point in time or whose parents/grandparents/great grandparents were citizens of India.

Here is a complete overview of OCI vs PIO based on a variety of parameters –

Parameters

OCI

PIO

Who can be an applicant?

Any individual who has an Indian lineage and foreign citizenship with a foreign passport.

Any individual who has an Indian lineage and foreign citizenship with a foreign passport.

Where can an individual apply?

CKGS Application Center in the jurisdiction of the applicant.

CKGS Application Center in the jurisdiction of the applicant.

Indian Visa Requirement

There is no such requirement.

There is no such requirement.

Visa validity

Lifelong validity once it is issued

Valid for 15 years once it is issued

When can an individual enter India?

Individuals are allowed to enter India for any reason throughout their lifetime. They don’t have any restriction on their number of entries or duration of stay in the country.

Individuals can enter India after 15 years from their PIO Card issuance date. If they stay for more than 180 days, they must register with the nearest FRRO/FRO.

Registration in FRO/FRRO

Not required, irrespective of the period of stay

Need to be updated after 180 days, for which an additional 30 days are provided

Fees

₹1,400 for re-issuance and ₹5,500 for issuance of duplicate.

₹15,000 for adults ₹7500 for children upto 18 years of age.

Eligibility Requirement for OCI and PIO Cardholders

Now that you are aware of the basic differences between OCI card and PIO card, refer to the following table to understand the eligibility requirement for each -

OCI

PIO

Individuals who were eligible for Indian citizenship on or after 26th January 1950. Anyone belonging to a region that became an Indian territory after 15th August 1947. Children or grandchildren of an individual fulfilling the above conditions.

Anyone who had an Indian passport at any point in time. Individuals or either of their parents, grandparents or great grandparents taking birth and permanently residing in India as stated in the Government of India Act, 1935. Individuals originating from India up to four generations back.

Eligibility of Relatives

Relationship

OCI

PIO

Spouse

If the spouse does not have an Indian origin, he/she will not be eligible.

The spouse is eligible even if he/she does not have an Indian origin.

Children

One of the parents must have foreign citizenship along with Indian lineage.

Only children whose parents have Indian citizenship are eligible.

Documentation and Processing

Documents Required

OCI

PIO

Documents Required

4 Passport Photographs, Previous Indian passport. If they don’t have a passport, they are required to submit other documents, such as a nativity certificate, which will be sent to India for authentication and verification purposes. Birth certificate. Proof of citizenship in their current country, i.e., passport and local residence proof. If the applicant is applying based on their parent’s Indian citizenship, they are required to offer proof of their relationship. Apart from all the documents, a duplicate of the same should be attached with the application.

Original passport, either existing or expired and at least two of the following documents. Photocopy of expired Indian passport. Birth certificate of the applicant and their parents/grandparents. Nationality certificate of the applicant and their parents/grandparents. School/college leaving certificates of the applicant and their parents/grandparents. Original or photocopies of passports of the applicant’s parents.

Children

One of the parents must have foreign citizenship along with Indian lineage.

Only children whose parents have Indian citizenship are eligible.

Type of Documents Issued

OCI Card and U Visa Sticker. The sticker will be attached to the passport.

PIO Booklet with all the information of the cardholder.

Processing

2-step process - Once the Consulate approves the OCI card and sticker in Delhi, the applicant must send the passport and the fee receipt to the CKGS. The OCI sticker will be attached to the passport.

1-step process - The applicant has to send all the documents together as part of the application to the CKGS.

Processing Time

8-10 weeks

4-6 weeks

Interchanging status (OCI to PIO or PIO to OCI)

Usually, OCI cardholders do not change to PIO status.

A PIO cardholder can surrender the PIO card and get an OCI card.

Benefits of OCI and PIO Card

A quick OCI vs PIO comparison will also reveal differences between the benefits of each card.

OCI

PIO

He/she does not have to register themselves in the Foreigners’ Registration Office (FRO) or the Foreigners’ Regional Registration Office (FRRO), irrespective of the length of their stay. They enjoy the same level of parity when it comes to receiving economic, educational or financial benefits.

A PIO cardholder does not require a visa to visit India for 15 years from the date of the card’s issue. He/she does not have to register themselves in the Foreigners’ Registration Office (FRO) or the Foreigners’ Regional Registration Office (FRRO) They enjoy the same level of parity when it comes to receiving economic, educational or financial benefits.

Re-issuance of Services

OCI

PIO

The re-issuance of OCI is dependant on and restrictive to the applicant’s age. Minors of age 20 and less: The OCI card must be re-issued every 5 years along with the issuance of a new passport. Adults of age 50 and above: One-time re-issuance after the passport renewal. Adults of ages between 21 and 49: Re-issuance is not necessary every time passport is renewed.

PIO cardholders are eligible for re-issuance after the tenure of 15 years ends. They don’t need to apply for a new PIO Card during every passport renewal.

What Are the Differences Between OCI and PIO Card Concerning General Living in India?

 

Here is a brief overview of the differences OCI card and PIO card make in a cardholder’s daily activities in India.

 

 

Financial and Economic Rights

 

OCI

PIO

Besides investing in plantation and agricultural properties, individuals can obtain a driver's license, PAN card, open bank accounts, earn and invest like regular Indian citizens.

Besides investing in plantation and agricultural properties, individuals can obtain a driver's license, PAN card, open bank accounts, earn and invest like regular Indian citizens.

Employment Options in India

OCI

PIO

OCI cardholders do not need an employment visa and can permanently settle in India. They will not have any restrictions in employment apart from sectors that need special Protected and Restricted area permits.

PIO Card holders do not need an employment visa. But if they stay in India for more than 180 days, they must register with their nearest FRO office. They will not have any restrictions in employment apart from sectors that need special Protected and Restricted area permits.

Education Rights

OCI

PIO

OCI cardholders do not need an Education Visa and their children can enrol in academic institutes under the NRI quota.

PIO cardholders do not need an Education Visa and their children can enrol in academic institutes under the NRI quota.

Tax Liabilities

OCI

PIO

If you earn in India, your income will be liable to taxation. Here, the taxation is also dependant on your RNOR (not ordinarily resident) or ROR (Ordinary Resident) status. If you possess an immovable property (house, land etc.), there will be no taxation on it. However, if you sell that immovable property and incur a profit, it will be taxed.

If you earn in India, your income will be liable to taxation. Here, the taxation is also dependant on your RNOR (not ordinarily resident) or ROR (Ordinary Resident) status. If you possess an immovable property (house, land etc.), there will be no taxation on it. However, if you sell that immovable property and incur a profit, it will be taxed.

Acquisition of Indian Citizenship

OCI

PIO

Since India does not permit dual citizenship, an OCI cardholder must surrender his current citizenship to obtain Indian citizenship. OCI cardholders are eligible to apply for Indian citizenship after five years from registration. However, he must stay in India for a year before applying for it.

Since India does not permit dual citizenship, an OCI cardholder must surrender his current citizenship to obtain Indian citizenship. According to Sections 5(1) (a) and 5 (1) (c) of the Citizenship Act, a PIO cardholder has to stay in India for a minimum of seven years to obtain Indian citizenship.

Frequently Asked Questions