PIO Card vs OCI Card - Ozg Visa Consultant

PIO Card Vs OCI Card

For Indians living in the USA (or any other country), at some time, the question will hit you: What to go for? PIO Card or OCI?

PIO stands for Person of Indian Origin. PIO card is a kind of 15 years visa for India. OCI stands for Overseas Citizenship of India. Here is some comparison between OCI and PIO card.

It is important to know one distinction about different terms.

  • If you are born in India and living in India, you are an Indian (unless you specifically acquired citizenship of some other country).
  • If you migrate to USA or some other country but still holding Indian citizenship, you are an NRI (Non Resident Indian)
  • If you acquire citizenship of some country (say USA), you are no longer an Indian or NRI. You are now PIO (Person of Indian Origin). Acquiring greencard does not make any difference here. It is the citizenship of other country that makes difference. Also keep in mind the distinction between PIO and PIO card. A person is a PIO or NRI but PIO card is a type of visa/privilege with regard to entering into India.
  • OCI is Overseas Citizenship of India. They card you get after you acquire OCI is OCI card.

If you are an Indian or NRI, you do not need to worry about PIO card or OCI. You are free to enter India whenever you want. Stay in India as long as you want. Things will change when your child is born outside India. That child will acquire citizenship of the country where he/she is born. He is a PIO- person of Indian Origin. Though you do not need Visa to enter India, your child will need one. Now you will have to learn about PIO card or OCI. Fortunately, it still very simple. If you and your spouse are still Indian or NRI, your child does not qualify for OCI yet. Only when you or your spouse becomes PIO, then only your child will qualify for PIO. Currently Foreign-born children of both Indian Parents are not eligible for OCI card.

Now if you become citizen of some other country (AKA PIO), you have a choice. You can go for PIO card or for an OCI. This is also true for your foreign born children. They can also go for PIO or OCI card.

What are the benefits of an OCI?

Following benefits will be allowed to an OCI:

(a) Multi-purpose, multiple entry, lifelong visa for visiting India.