POI - Person of Indian Origin

The concept of Person of Indian Origin is often misunderstood by most people. Sometimes, people also tend to confuse it with Overseas Citizen of India as well.

In this article, let us take an understanding of the Person of Indian Origin and all other important aspects related to it.

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Who is a PIO?

The Person of Indian Origin means that a foreign citizen except the national of Afghanistan, China, Nepal Bangladesh, Pakistan, Bhutan, Iran, and Sri Lanka who at any point in time held the passport of India.

Next, anyone whose either of the great grandparents/ grandparents or parents were born and resided permanently in India as defined under 1935, Government of India Act. Moreover, any other territories, which became a part of India and after that was never a citizen of any aforesaid countries as mentioned above. Also, anyone who is the spouse of an Indian citizen or a PIO.

What are the Benefits of the PIO Card?

The following are the key benefits of the Person of Indian Origin card:

  • The PIO cardholders will not require any visa to visit India for 15 years right from the issuance date of the PIO card.
  • They are excused from registration at the FRRO/FRO in case the stay does not exceed 180 days. However, if the stay exceeds 180 days, then they will need to register with the FRRO/ FRO within the coming 30 days.
  • It also lets them enjoy parity with the NRIs’ in financial, economic and educational benefits such as:
  • Holding transfer, acquisition and disposal of the immovable properties apart from plantation or agricultural properties.
  • The admission of children to any institutions of education under the quota of general category for the NRIs’ that includes both engineering and medical college such as the IIT, IIM, and so forth.
  • Availing different housing schemes of the central government, state government agencies and LIC of India.

All the future benefits that will be exempted from NRIs’ will be available to the Person of Indian Origin cardholders. The PIOs do not enjoy any of the employment rights in the Indian government services nor can hold a constitutional office in the Indian government. They would require permission to undertake missionary activities, mountaineering, research work or to visit any restricted areas in the nation.

Documents Required for PIO Card Applicants

To begin with, the simple instruction for the PIO card application is to duly complete the form. The relevant documents need to be put forward in person at the High Commission between 0930 hrs and 1200 hrs on any of the business day.

The following are the documents that need to be submitted with the filled-in PIO form:

  • Original expired/ existing Indian passport
  • A copy of the expired passport of India
  • Photocopy/ original copy of the Indian passport of grandparents or parents
  • Certificate of birth of grandparents or parents
  • Certificate of the nationality of grandparents or parents
  • School/ college leaving certificate of grandparents or parents

In case the applicant is the spouse of the Person of Indian Origin should submit the following:

  • Indian Passport/ Person of Indian Origin card of the spouse in original
  • Original certificate of marriage
  • Passport size photographs
  • Fees of US $180 for the children below 18 years of age that is to be paid in cash at the High Commission

Comparison Between OCI Card and PIO Card

Let us have a look at the table below to understand the key differences between OCI card and PIO card:


OCI Card

PIO Card

Visa Validity

Lifelong after the date of issuance

15 years from the issuance date

Obtaining Citizenship of India

After 5 years of the issuance of OCI, then one can apply after residing in India for one year minimum

Can easily apply after regularly residing in India for 7 years


US$ 275

US$ 25 for the PIO cardholders

US$ 25 for the miscellaneous services such as the passport change, etc.

US$ 388

Visit to the Restricted Area

Permission is not required

Prior permission is required

Registration at FRO/FFRO

Not required regardless of the stay period

After 180 days it needs to be updated, for which an extra 30 days are provided

Wrapping it Up

For anyone who is living in a foreign country and has roots in India, the residency status is either as the NRI, OCI or PIO. It is important to understand the differences between all these three.

Any individual of Indian origin and now staying in a foreign land can apply for the PIO card easily.

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