Home Ministry issues notification for lifetime validity of PIO Cards
Within days of the PM’s announcement of lifetime visas for PIOs, the notification for the same has been issued by the Centre.
The notification amends the rules of the PIO Card Scheme so that new recipients of PIO cards will receive cards that will be valid for the duration of their life, provided they are holders of valid passports. This lifetime validity will be applicable retrospectively to holders of PIO cards too if they possess a valid passport. Earlier, PIOs had cards which granted them a 15 year visa, which could then be extended for a term of 10 years at a time.
The Scheme for issuance of Person of Indian Origin Card (PIO Card) Amendment Scheme, 2014 also amended the rules that required PIOs spending more than 180 days in India to register themselves with the FRRO (Foreigners Regional Registration Office). No such registration is now required irrespective of how long the PIO’s stay is.
A PIO refers to any person without Indian passport and not a citizen of Pakistan, Sri Lanka, China, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, who falls under any of the following categories
- Any person who has at any time held an Indian passport
- Any person whose parent(s) or grandparent (s) or great grandparents (s) was born in India or was a permanent resident in India . However, such a person should not have been a citizen of any other specific country
- Any person who is a spouse of a citizen of India or of a PIO who falls under any of the above two categories
Scheme for issuance of Person of Indian Origin Card (PIO Card) Scheme, 2002
This scheme was launched in 15th September 2002. The aim of this scheme was to ensure easier travel of PIOs to India. Holders of PIO cards can avail of various benefits, the most important of which is travelling to India without a visa.