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Thinking of applying for an OCI or PIO?


What is OCI?
The Government of India for the convenience of persons of Indian origin has launched the 'OCI Card' scheme, aimed at making the journey back to the roots, simpler, easier, flexible and trouble free. The validity of OCI card is life-long. Processing time is around 6-8 weeks in straightforward cases. It may take longer in certain cases requiring reference to authorities in India or elsewhere.

Those eligible to apply for a OCI Card:
» A foreign national, who was eligible to become a citizen of India on 26th January 1950 or belonged to a territory that became part of India after 15th August 1947 and his/her children and grandchildren are eligible for registration as OCI;

» However, if the applicant had ever been a citizen of Pakistan or Bangladesh, he/she will not be eligible for OCI. A person who may have been a citizen of Pakistan or Bangladesh, and is married to a person eligible for registration as OCI, is not eligible for grant of OCI. However, their children are eligible as OCI. An OCI registration card will be issued by the Indian Missions/Posts abroad after scrutinizing the application and deciding eligibility.

Advantages of OCI:
(i) Multiple entry, multi-purpose life-long visa to visit India;
(ii) Exemption from reporting to Police authorities for any length of stay in India;
(iii) Parity with NRIs in financial, economic and educational fields except in the acquisition of agricultural or plantation properties.

What is PIO?
The Government of India for the convenience of persons of Indian origin has launched the 'PIO Card' scheme, aimed at making the journey back to the roots, simpler, easier, flexible and trouble free. The validity of PIO card is 15 years subject to the validity of the passport. Processing time is around 4-6 weeks in straightforward cases. It may take longer in certain cases requiring reference to authorities in India or elsewhere.

Those eligible to apply for a PIO Card:
»Who at any time held an Indian passport; or

»He/she or either of his/her parents or grandparents or great grandparents was born in and permanently resident in India as defined in the Government of India Act, 1935 and other territories that became part of India thereafter provided neither he/she or either of his/her parents or grandparents or great grandparents was at any time a citizen of any country as may be specified by the Central Government from time to time;

» Who is a spouse of a citizen of India or a person of Indian origin as mentioned above, is eligible to hold a PIO card.

Advantages of PIO:
» No visa required for visiting India during the period of validity of PIO Card.

» Exemption from the requirement of registration if 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 (FRRO).

» 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 NRIs 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.

For further assistance and advice on eligibility and documents required or to apply for either of the above, please call 020 8518 9100 and ask to be connected to our London office.
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