Just two days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced in New York that Person of Indian Origin (PIO) cardholders would get lifetime visas and be exempt from police reporting in India, his government has walked the talk and formally notified the two measures.
Earlier, foreigners of Indian Origin had PIO cards with only 15 years validity for visa-free entry to India and they had to extend it for 10 years at a time if desired. Now, PIO cards will have life-time validity, as promised by Modi in New York.
It further clarified that all the cards issued prior to September 30, 2014, shall be automatically deemed to have lifetime validity. A total 52,264 persons, till 2010 have obtained PIO cards.
Modi also promised that the PIO and Overseas Citizens of India schemes would be merged and a new comprehensive scheme announced soon.
PIO is granted to foreigners married to Indian citizens, a person whose parents/grandparents/great grandparents are or had been of Indian origin and minors whose parents are Indian citizens or one parent is an Indian citizen and the others is not. PIO card is not allowed to nationals of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal and China.