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Home > Categories > Family and Relations > Immigration > View Advice  

Query from: Anonymous, SF, 03/16/11
Topic: IMMIGRATION      Submitted on:
Subject: Hi, Can someone please tell me the diff...

Hi, Can someone please tell me the difference between OCI and PIO? I have given up my Indian citizenship but was recently advised to apply for either of these. Also, which one do you recommend and why?

Rate = 3 (Rated by 5 Council Members)
[ This query closed ]
Response from: shiva sakthi,   
Council Member on

Application Process


1. Apply online, get a registration number and then submit required documentation to the nearest embassy or Indian immigration office.

2. Applications processed centrally in New Delhi

3. Applicants must submit their original passport (of the adapted country) to be endorsed.


1. Can download forms but a fully manual process. Complete the application and submit with relevant documentation to the nearest embassy or Indian immigration office.

2. Decentralized processing

3. Submission of original passport (of the adapted country) NOT required.



1. Treated on par with Non Resident Indians (NRIs) in all cases except 1) Cannot vote or hold public office 2) Cannot own agriculture property.

2. Valid for life

3. Can apply for full fledged Indian citizenship after 5 years (should have lived in India for at least year)


1. Treated on par with NRIs in all cases except 1) Cannot vote or hold public office 2) Cannot own agriculture property.

2. Valid for 15 years (20 in some early cases)

3. Cannot apply for Indian citizenship.

OCI is better.

Rate = 3 (Rated by 3 Council Members)

Thank this advisor   
Response from: C. Raj, United Kingdom,   
Council Member on
Source: This information comes from my own knowledge.

I am an OCI and perhaps my views might be of help. I obtained British nationality, which effectively meant, I had given up Indian Nationality Status. India allows Such Indian Nationals who have obtained some foreign nationalities obtain Indian Nationality . So, I am a British national with Indian Nationality being my second nationality.It is not Dual nationality since OCI status is not Full Citizenship.( there are some restrictions explained below)

1 - This allows me to visit India visa free and stay in India for as long as I want, without restrictions.

2 - Exempts me from having to Report to Foreigners Regional Registration officer / Foreigners Registration Officer or Local Police Authorities if I am going to stay for longer than the basic 2 or 3 weeks.

3 - Gives me NRI status which helps me deal with my personal, financial and economic interests in India as normal NRI.

4 - I can purchase Residential, Commercial, Industrial properties(except defence)but there some restrictions on buying Agricultural and Plantation properties.

5 - I cannot vote in India since I gave up that right when I gave up my Indian Citizenship. I cannot contest any elected role in the Government of India or hold any constitutional posts like that of Governor, President, Vice President or the Judiciary - Supreme or High Court Judge.

6 - The OCI status allows me to work for any private company and study at colleges and universities without the need for Work Permits or Student visas respectively. When I have kids, they too can avail facilities in India to study for any courses.

7 - OCI status allows me to avail Housing facilities run by the Government.

FOR PIO card Holders.

1 - Visa free travel to India for 15 years. Basically a long term visa.

2 - No need to obtain Student or Workpermit to study or work in India.

3 - PIO card holder does not have to register at the local Foreigners Regional Registration Officer if visit does not exceed 180 days.

4 - NRI status in Financial, Educational and Economic aspects.

5 - PIO card holders can buy and sell Residential land and commercial property, but they cannot buy agricultural land.

In my opinion, obtaining an OCI status is better than having a PIO card. The facilities are better and lesser complications. The only important aspect you have to remember is, whenever you travel to India, you have to carry an additional card, which is a grey coloured Passport with just 2 pages. This OCI passport has your OCI Nationality on it and the replica of this is stamped/Pasted on your US passport as OCI visa. Without this additional passport, you will not be admitted into India by the visa officer. It is the same for PIO card holders too. They have to carry the PIO card when visiting India. So, this is an additional requirement.

Please let me know if you need anymore information.

All the best.

Rate = 3.5 (Rated by 3 Council Members)

Response from: KG Anand,   
Council Member on
Source: This information comes from my own knowledge.
OCI stands for Overseas Citizen of India. PIO stands for Person of Indian Origin. PIO is generally for Indian Origin persons whose forefathers have settled aborad and they have hardly been to India often. Citizen of Indian Origin is generally for persons who have relinquished their Indian Citizenship on their own and adopted for foreign citizenship in the recent times. Your case is more appropriate for OCI. The OCI and PIO have constitutionally all the rights and obligations like a resident Indian Citizen except voting and election rights.However OCI is supposed to be better than the PIO. Best Wishes.

Rate = 2.5 (Rated by 3 Council Members)

Thank this advisor   
Response from: Anonymous T,   
Council Member on
Source: Ministry of home afairs India
Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) OCI Scheme is operational from 02.12.2005 The Constitution of India does not allow holding Indian citizenship and citizenship of a foreign country simultaneously. Based on the recommendation of the High Level committee on Indian Diaspora, the Government of India decided to grant Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) commonly known as ‘dual citizenship’. Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) of certain category as has been specified in the Brochure who migrated from India and acquired citizenship of a foreign country other than Pakistan and Bangladesh, are eligible for grant of OCI as long as their home countries allow dual citizenship in some form or the other under their local laws Persons registered as OCI have not been given any voting rights, election to Lok Sabha/Rajya Sabha/Legislative Assembly/Council, holding Constitutional posts such as President, Vice President, Judge of Supreme Court/High Court etc. Registered OCIs shall be entitled to following benefits: (i) Multiple entry, multi-purpose life long visa to visit India; (ii) Exemption from reporting to Police authorities for any length of stay in India; and (iii) Parity with NRIs in financial, economic and educational fields except in the acquisition of agricultural or plantation properties. 4. Any further benefits to OCIs will be notified by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) under section 7B(1) of the Citizenship Act, 1955. 5. A person registered as OCI is eligible to apply for grant of Indian citizenship under section 5(1)(g) of the Citizenship Act, 1955 if he/she is registered as OCI for five years and has been residing in India for one year out of the five years before making the application. PIO The Government of India has revised the PIO Card Scheme, which was launched in 1999, aimed at making the journey back to your roots, simpler, easier, flexible and absolutely hassle free.The PIO Card will entitle you to a set of privileges. *No visa required for visiting India.

*No separate “Student Visa” or “Employment Visa” required for admissions in Colleges/Institutions or for taking up employment respectively.

* A PIO Card holder will be exempt from the requirement of registration if his stay on any single visit in India does not exceed 180 days.

•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 Regional Registration Officer / Foreigners Registration Officer

•Parity with non-resident Indians in respect of facilities available to the latter in economic, financial and educational field.

•All PIOs including PIO Card holders shall enjoy parity with NRIs in respect of all facilities in the matter of acquisition, holding, transfer and disposal of immovable properties in India except in maters relating to the acquisition of agricultural/plantation properties. No parity shall be allowed in the sphere ofpolitical rights.

•Facilities available to children of NRIs for getting admission to educational institutions in India including medical colleges, engineering colleges, Institute of Technology, Institute of Management, etc. under the generalcategories.

•Facilities available under the various housing scheme of LIC, State Government and other Government Agencies.

•Special counters at the immigration check posts for speedy clearance.

Rate = 3 (Rated by 4 Council Members)

Response from: jeshma Mohandas,   
Council Member on
Difference between NRI, PIO and OCI Print This Page Email to Friend NRI PIO PIO Card Holder OCI Definition A citizen of India, holding an Indian passport, but residing abroad A foreign national who has Indian origins or Indian ancestors. A PIO holding a PIO Card, as per the Scheme of The Ministry of Home Affairs, 2002 Overseas Indians who migrated from India after 26th January, 1950, except those from Pakistan and Bangladesh Apply to 1) Any Indian Mission abroad or, 2) Any of the Foreigners Regional Registration Offices in India or
3) The Joint Secretary (Foreigners), Ministry of Home Affairs Charges Rs.15,000 or equivalent for adults Rs.7,500 for minors USD 275 or equivalent in applicant’s local currency. PIO card holders pay only USD 25 or equivalent Privileges At par with resident Indians a) No extra-ordinary benefits b) Require visa for any trip to India c) Required to register at local FRRO in India upon arrival Exempt from a)Visa to India for 15 years b) Registration at FRRO if stay in India is within 180 days c) If stay exceeds 180 days, registration at FRRO within 30 days d) At par with NRIs in all spheres of activity except purchase of agricultural property a) Lifelong multiple entry visa to India b) No registration at FRRO for any length of stay c) At par with NRIs in all spheres of activity, except purchase of agricultural property


Rate = 3 (Rated by 4 Council Members)

Thank this advisor   
Response from: Anitha S,   
Registered Member on
Source: This information comes from my own knowledge.
Hi, Please check this website… which gives complete details and comparison between OCI and PIO. Hope this helps.

Rate = 2 (Rated by 5 Council Members)

Response from: vijay qamra,   
Council Member on
Hi, Go to immihelp.comand find OCI vs PIO for details. I will advice you to go for a PIO card.

Rate = 1.5 (Rated by 3 Council Members)

Thank this advisor   
Response from: satinder kumar,   
Registered Member on Ask Agent
Source: This information comes from my own knowledge.
PIO is Public Information Officer

Rate = 1.5 Unrated

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