Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) Card Scheme

The Government has announced the launching of a People of Indian Origin Card, which will allow visa free entry to Indian origin people living abroad and give them all the rights enjoyed by Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) including purchase of non-agricultural land. 15 million people of Indian origin living abroad will benefit from the Card. Fee for PIO Card is US $ 375 + $ 50(charges) for adult and for children below the age of 18 years is US $ 188 + $ 25(charges) (effective from September 15, 2002). Validity of new PIO card will be 15 years from the date of issue. However, it would not be issued to people of Indian origin living in Pakistan and Bangladesh. It does not give voting rights to the holders of the Card. It is eligible for the Indians who hold a foreign passport living abroad till the fourth generation. The PIO Card holder would be exempt from registration if his stay in India does not exceed 180 days. However, if the stay exceeds 180 days, the PIO Card holder will have to register within 30 days of the expiry of 180 days with the concerned Foreigners Registration Officer at district headquarters. The right to buy property would not be valid to Jammu & Kashmir. The PIO Card holder would be able to admit their children to educational institution in India under the NRI category. These include the IITs and Indian institutes of Management. They can also benefit from housing schemes of the Life Insurance Corporation, State Governments and other Government agencies.


Understanding the sentiments of persons of Indian origin to be closer to their original country and to reinforce their emotional bonds, as well as respecting their desire to participate in the development of the resolve to frame a special scheme. This resolve was translated in the first Budget Speech of FM: -

"Government have decided to draw up a scheme for issuance of a Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) Card for those living abroad and having foreign passports. The PIO Card, which would be extended to Persons of Indian Origin settled in countries to be specified by Government would besides introducing a visa free regime, also confer some special economic, educational, financial and cultural benefits. The details are being worked out".

The Government has today launched a comprehensive Scheme for the Persons of Indian Origin - called the "PIO Card Scheme". Under this scheme, Persons of Indian Origin up to the fourth generation (great grand parents) settled throughout the world, except for a few specified countries, would be eligible. The Card would be issued to eligible applicants through the concerned Indian Embassies/ High Commissions/Consulates and for those staying in India on long term visa, the concerned Foreigners Regional Registration Officer (Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta, and Chennai) would be the same.

The fee for the card, which will have a validity of 15 years, would be US $ 375 for adult and US $ 188 for children below the age of 18 years.

Besides making their journey back to their roots simpler, easier and smoother, this Scheme entitles the PIOs to a wide range of economic, financial, educational and cultural benefits. The benefits envisaged under the Scheme include: -

(i) No requirement of visa to visit India:
(ii) No requirement to register with the Foreigners Registration Officer if continuous stay does not exceed 180 days. If continuos stay exceeds 180 days, then registration is required to be done within a period of 30 days of the expiry of 180 days:
(iii) Parity with Non-Resident Indians in respect of facilities available to the latter in economic, financial, educational fields, etc. These facilities will include:-
     (a) Acquisition, holding, transfer and disposal of immovable properties in India except of agricultural/plantation properties;
     (b) admission of children in educational institutions in India under the general category quota for NRIs - including medical /engineering college, IITs, IIMs etc.
     (c) various housing schemes of Life Insurance Corporation of India, State Governments and other Government agencies;
(iv) All future benefits that would be extended to NRIs would also be available to the PIO Card holders;
(v) However, they shall not enjoy political rights in India.

The above steps would go a long way in renewing and strengthening the emotional bond amongst PIOs with the land of their origin. The attractive features of the Scheme will further exhort them to play an increasingly constructive role in the socio-economic and cultural development of the country of their origin.


(i) This scheme may be called PIO Card Scheme, 2002;
(ii) It shall come into force with effect from 15th September, 2002.

2. Definition - In this scheme, unless the context otherwise requires.

   (a) "Indian Mission" means the Embassy of Indian/ High Commission of India/ Indian Consulate in a foreign country.   
   (b) "Person of Indian origin" means a foreign citizen not being a citizen of Pakistan, Bangladesh and other countries as may be specified by the Central Government from time to time if.
(i) he/she at any time held a Indian passport; or

(ii) he/she or either of his/her parents or grand parents or great grand parents 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 was at any time a citizens of any of the aforesaid countries (as referred to in 2(b)above; or

(iii) he/she is a spouse of a citizen of India or a person of Indian origin covered under (i) or (ii) above.
   (c) "PIO Card" means a card issued under this scheme.

3. Form of application for issue/ renewal of a PIO Card:-

An application for issue/renewal of a PIO Card shall be made in the prescribed form and shall be accompanied by documentary evidence to show that the application is a person of Indian origin as defined.

4. Validity of PIO Card:-    A PIO Card shall be valid for a period of Fifteen  years.                         

5. PIO Card Application  FORM

Status of PIO Cards issued earlier as per PIO Card Scheme (1999) :PIO Card issued earlier for US $ 1000/- will continue to remain valid and no refund shall be admissible.  However, the validity of the such cards shall be extended by 10 more years without charging any fee.

6. Facilities to be extended to a PIO Card holder:-
   (i) A PIO Card holder shall not require a visa to visit India.
   (ii) A PIO Card holder will be exempted from the requirement of registration if his stay in India does not exceed 180 days.   
   (iii) In the event of continuous stay in India of the PIO Card holder exceeding 180 days, he / she shall have to get himself/ herself registered within 30 days of the expiry of 180 days with the concerned Foreigners Registration Officer at District Headquarter.
  (iv) A PIO Card holder shall enjoy parity with NRIs in respect of all facilities available to the latter in the economic, financial and educational fields except in matters relating to the acquisition of agricultural/plantation properties. No parity shall be allowed in the sphere of political rights.

7. Cancellation of PIO Card:-

    The Central Government may by order, cancel the PIO Card, if it is satisfied that:
    (a) the PIO Card was obtained by means of fraud, false representation or the concealment of any material fact; or
    (b) the PIO Card holder has shown himself by act or speech to be disaffected towards the Constitution of India and other laws of India; or    
    (c) the PIO Card holder is a citizen or subject of any country at war with, or committing external aggression against India; or of any other country assisting the country at war with, or committing such aggression against India;or    
   (d) the PIO Card holder has been sentenced in India for indulging in acts of terrorism, smuggling of narcotics, arms, ammunitions etc, or has been sentenced for committing an offence punishable with imprisonment up to one year or fine up to rupees ten ousand;or
    (e) it is not conducive to the public interest that the person should continue to hold a a PIO Card.

    No reasons shall be assigned for withdrawal of the Card.

    Source: Indian Embassey

 8. For PIO  vs OCI Card Comparition click  HERE

PIO card service charge